Normal, Ill. (WMBD) — Voters in McLean County will once again see the referendum to raise the education fund tax rate on the April ballot.
It was an unanimous vote by the Unit 5 School Board. This is the same proposal that was voted down in November.
“So if the community votes it down in April the reality will be more than likely, whether it be next year or future years, there will be drastic cuts,” said Superintendent Kristen Weikle.
The education fund rate would increase $0.88 to $3.60 per $100 of assessed valuation.
“If you look at neighboring districts, you’ll see that they all have a higher education fund rate. The reason they’ve been able to do that is they’ve asked their taxpayers to approve a referendum. Which they’ve done,” said Weikle.
Board members expressed they received feedback from voters saying they did not understand the details. The board says moving forward they will be more transparent in explaining what will happen if the referendum is passed or denied.
“I feel we have a lot of momentum from the fall even though we lost the vote. There was still momentum built and people have gained an understanding of what the issues are and what we’re trying to achieve,” said board president Barry Hitchins.
Weikle sats it is too early to make a decision on what and who will be cut if it fails on the April ballot.
“You would definitely see increased class size, fewer opportunities for students. That might range from extracurriculars, to electives, to having a shortened school day and only teach what’s required by the state. There’s a lot of things that could happen,” she said.
Brad Wurth, who is running for school board, was the sole public commenter who said the community has already made it’s decision.
“We heard pretty clearly from the community that this referendum is not something the community supports,” he said.
While the education fund tax rate will increase the overall tax rate will decrease from $5.51 to $4.92 by 2026. This is due building bonds and the working cash being paid off.