NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Voters living within the Unit 5 school district are being asked to vote yes for Unit 5.

“We don’t see this as a partisan issue, we see this as a community issue. We’re trying to fund our schools. All students regardless of their family’s political views attend public schools,” said Patrick Maineri, secretary for the Yes For Unit 5 action group.

If approved, the referendum will increase the district’s education fund tax rate from $2.72 to $3.60. However, it will lead to an eventual 70-cent saving.

“Taxes will stay pretty even over the next couple of years. In 2026, is when we see that full effect go in and that’s when those interest rates come off and our taxes as homeowners actually come down,” Maineri said.

Once those bonds come off the books; a taxpayer’s overall amount to Unit 5 will be $4.91 per taxpayer. That’s compared to the current rate of $5.61 which a rate of $1.58 goes to pay down loans.

An interactive chart can be found on Yes For Unit 5’s website.

Those loans help offset the district’s deficit in the education fund.

“We have working cash bonds that we are currently using to help offset and in an effort to try and minimize the impact on students by having to make additional cuts,” said Unit 5 superintendent, Dr Kristen Weikle.

Unit 5 cut 8th-grade foreign language and multiple teachers and administration positions this past march. Superintendent Weikle said the $2.1 million in savings is already affecting students’ learning.

“We have a high school class that has 37 students in it, we have some elementary sections that have 33 or 34 students,” Weikle said.

Weikle said Unit 5 has not increased funding in years; the latest was a 10-cent increase in 2008. She said if voters choose no, additional cuts/reductions could happen.

“More than likely we would start with reducing; some of those could result in the school day being shortened, we could have co or extracurricular activities reduced. We could look at closing school buildings and ultimately we’d be looking at reducing the number of staff,” Weikle said.

It’s important to note, those cuts/reductions won’t happen for sure with a no vote. That decision would be up to the school board of education following the election outcome.

The election is Tuesday, Nov 8.

For more information on the referendum, visit Unit 5’s website.