www.cusd200.org October 12, 2017
Board Meeting Highlights
October 11, 2017 at Pleasant Hill Elementary
Board continues discussion of early learning solution options
At their meeting, the Board continued to review options to solve the District’s early learning facility needs. At their meeting, the Board reviewed revisions to two options - construct a new early learning center on the existing Jefferson site OR construct an addition at Monroe Middle School. These options represent two of nine possible scenarios the Board has reviewed following the April 4 Referendum Plan.
Following considerable discussion, the Board came to consensus around one option - construct a new early learning center on the existing Jefferson site.
New Early Learning Center on Existing Jefferson Site - Concept & Financing
The new early learning center concept is similar to the concept in the April 2017 Referendum Plan but has a slightly smaller footprint. The new building would be constructed immediately south of the existing building and would retain some of the open green space. This option would allow potential construction to take place during the 2018 -19 School Year; demolition of the existing school during summer 2019; and opening of the new building for the 2019-20 School Year.
For this option, the Board is considering using some fund balance (savings) and lease certificates to finance this facility project. Lease certificates provide a way for borrowing for improvements that allow for debt payments to come from the existing operational budget, not through increasing the community’s tax burden. This option does not require a referendum with voter approval because the Board is not adding to the community’s tax burden. The Board can also still consider a private fund-raising campaign to potentially offset a portion of the building cost.
Why didn’t the Board consider the lease or debt certificate financing options before now?
Construction of a new early learning center was part of a larger, overall April 2017 Referendum Plan. The lease certificate financing model was not an option for a facilities plan of that size. Given the Board’s current financial position and the cost of the proposed early learning center, lease certificates are now a viable option for financing.
Why did the Board eliminate the option to add on to Monroe Middle School?
The Wheaton Park District is a strong community partner and expressed a willingness to assist the school district in creating a solution to our early learning facility needs. Our community encourages units of government to work together and the option to construct an early learning addition on a portion of the Graf Park property was an example of that. In weighing out the two options, including considerations of cost, green space disruption, traffic impact, overall square footage and site specific factors, ultimately the Board determined construction of a new facility on the existing Jefferson site was the preferred option.
At their meeting, the Board reviewed the chart below to evaluate the addition at Monroe (Scenario B) or new early learning center on Jefferson site (Scenario F). The chart is also attached here.
We appreciate the Park District’s partnership and would also like to thank all community members who engaged with us to provide feedback on the options being considered.
What are the next steps?
With the feedback from the Board of Education, the core planning team will begin reviewing the next phases of design work and associated financing. Regular updates will be provided to the Board of Education through committee and business meetings.
Erica Loiacono | Director of Public Relations