Unit five presents referendum case to nearby company leaders
As the second vote on Unit 5’s referendum draws closer, superintendent Kristen Weikle presented the district’s status to the nearby company neighborhood Thursday evening at Heartland Neighborhood College.
Held in cooperation with the McLean County Chamber of Commerce, the meeting also was an chance to ask concerns of Weikle and chief monetary officer Marty Hickman.
A profitable referendum on April four would permit the district to pull itself out of a $12 million deficit hole, reinstate lots of cuts planned for the 2023-24 college year, and retain the offerings now in location, say Unit five leaders.
But if voters reject the referendum a second time — as they did in November — Unit five warns of main cuts, such as shrinking employees by a lot more than 200 teachers, eliminating extracurriculars at schools, and cutting back on offerings such as P.E, music, art and a lot more, for starters.
Even though a handful of of the approximate 35 attendees at Thursday’s meeting spoke explicitly for or against the referendum, far a lot more had been interested in particulars of the district’s monetary method.
Also present had been Unit five college board incumbent candidate Amy Roser and former state Rep. Dan Brady, who each stressed that improved outreach could make matters like the referendum less complicated to make a decision in the future.
The notion that poor communication to the public sank the very first referendum has been echoed by Unit five officials across various meetings. In this case, Weikle supplied it as an explanation for why the referendum language has not changed for the second vote.
Tom Carey, formerly a college board member in Extended Island, proposed an alternate explanation.
“I feel I would be OK with it (the second referendum) if it came with some compromise, some amendment, to it. But rather, my cynical outlook on it is that it is taking benefit of the truth that fewer men and women are going to vote, and for the reason that that vote was somewhat close back in November,” referring to the 53.7% of voters who rejected the referendum then.
Weikle maintained the district is asking only for what it wants to steer clear of an unpopular set of cuts that will take location in the subsequent year if the referendum fails once again. In response to concerns of debt, Weikle confirmed that if funding is not authorized, the district might be forced to borrow once again to spend mandated costs, as it did in 2018.
In contrast, with a passed referendum the district says it will quickly spend off outstanding debts and allocate a lot more funds to education, along with a lower in all round house tax in the coming years.
Commerce Bank president J Phillips supports the referendum to steer clear of forcing the district back into borrowing.
“The reality of the circumstance is I think the district will require to borrow (if the referendum fails), which was confirmed with my query tonight,” he stated. “And with that, we’re going to see a lot more of exactly where we’ve been versus attempting to move forward. Why spend interest when we can really spend for our kids’ future?”
Early voting is underway for the April four election.
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