Since the Rockford School Board approve a 10-year facilities plan that is expected to cost more than 300-million dollars, they now need voter approve to begin the work.
School leaders are hoping that Rockford Chamber of Commerce members will not only just sign on, but that they will participate in the referendum campaign for a plan that needs community support.
"It's about time that we sit there and put the investment into our facilities and have the kids have a place they want to come in and learn," said District 205 chief operations officer Todd Schmidt.
To begin their effort to get voter approval, District 205 leaders are hoping Rockford Chamber of commerce members will not only support the plan but participate in the campaign.
"We're obviously very strong in supporting the advancement of the education system," said Rockford Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Einar Forsman. "The question is whether we feel this is a responsible investment."
District 205 leaders believe if voters approve the referendum the districts property tax rate would stay the same. That's because they would reinvest bonds that are currently set to retire in the coming years to generate the needed money.
"We're talking about keeping a constant tax base to make improvements to our community that are desperately needed," said 10-year facilities plan steering member and chairman of the political action committee Ron Clewer.
If voters shoot down the referendum they would see a 56-cent tax rate change to their annual bill.
For example, if your home has an assessed value of 100-thousand dollars the debt repayment structure for the district would show a 187-dollar reduction to your annual property tax bill. That comes out to a little more than 15 dollars per month in potential savings.
"The investment will have to happen now or later," said Clewer. "And if we make it later it's going to come at a much greater cost. So, we can't be shortsighted in thinking, 'I get to save a few dollars now,' because a few dollars later is going to be a lot more."
And just because the district's tax rate would lower doesn't mean you would see those savings on your bill.
Other taxing bodies could still alter their tax structure, potentially chipping away at the savings you would see from the district.
some community leaders are already hoping voters will say saving about 15-dollars
a month isn't worth the educational future of
"We all need to remember that we've been afforded an education and we owe that to our future generations," said Rockford Chamber of Commerce government committee member Linda Campos.
The Rockford Chamber of Commerce will vote if they want to support District 205's referendum at their meeting next month.