Batavia District 101 residents will vote on bond issue in the fall

A $15 million bond issue that Batavia School District 101 residents will vote on this November could fund nearly 30 projects at six district schools and the Rosalie Jones Administrative Center.

This would be in addition to funding improvements to Batavia High School’s athletic fields, said Assistant Superintendent Kris Monn.

“The board asked us to draw up a spending plan that used no more than half the money on the athletic fields and the other half on other projects throughout the district,” Monn said.

The Board of Education voted in a special meeting to place the binding referendum on the ballot, with board members Jason Stoops and Jon Gaspar voting against it.

Projects the board hopes to fund with the bond issue money include a new $1.2 million lighting system and a $600,000 replacement boiler at Rotolo Middle School; a new $250,000 plumbing system at J.B. Nelson Elementary School; a new $423,125 maintenance garage; new roofs for Alice Gustafson and Louise White elementary schools at a total cost of $1.6 million; and nearly $4.5 million in renovations for the high school football stadium, among other projects. The complete list of proposed projects is posted on the district’s website, www.bps101.net, under the Building and Grounds department.

The district would not be allowed to levy new taxes to pay off the bonds, Monn said. Instead, the payments would come from the Operations and Maintenance fund, which is supported primarily by property taxes, he explained.

“The board feels comfortable committing to paying this out of the Operations and Maintenance fund, especially given the expansion of the Chicago Outlet Mall that has already broken ground,” Monn said.

The expansion is projected to bring the district an extra $900,000 per year in property tax revenues beginning in 2020.

Because the bond issue will not raise taxes, the board could have gone ahead with it by publishing its intent to do so and waiting to see if residents filed petitions to block the bond issue. Monn said that board members decided to seek the community’s approval directly, instead.

“The board and the administration wanted to be completely transparent about this,” he said. “We want to know what the community’s wishes are. The possibility of doing this without a referendum never came up.”

Administrators will post an explanation of the proposed bond issue on the district’s website soon and plan to host public information sessions about it before the election, Monn said.

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