District 200 is seeking voter approval to construct a new Jefferson Early Childhood Center without levying a separate, special property tax to finance the costs.
Approval of the ballot question on November 6 would authorize the District to construct the new building, but does not provide authorization for the school district to sell bonds to pay for construction costs. The project would be completed through a lease agreement, payable from operating funds, not through an increase to the bond and interest levy.
The Board of Education has developed a plan for construction of a new early learning center on the existing site. Jefferson was built in 1958 as an elementary school and was not originally designed to house a program that serves 3–5 year olds, ⅔ of whom have disabilities or special needs.
The existing building is outdated and does not support the learning and needs of the students served in the program. The building is not up to current space, accessibility, security and environmental safety standards, making it difficult for the staff to work effectively with each child on an individual need or in a group setting.
The Board considered nine alternative solutions to constructing a new facility on the existing site, some of which include:
- renovating and adding an addition to the existing building;
- constructing an addition to Monroe Middle School;
- Studying the feasibility of an addition to an existing elementary or middle school including splitting the program into a north and south campus at an existing elementary;
- closing an existing elementary school and moving the program;
- leasing another existing space in the community and more.
Ultimately, the Board of Education determined that the most cost-effective and best option is to construct a new building on the existing Jefferson site.
The District listened to community feedback. Following the April 2017 referendum, survey feedback suggested that the financial impact of the overall referendum question was the primary concern to the community. Feedback also indicated support for a new early learning center IF the District reduced the scope and cost of the building. We’ve done just that. In 2017, the proposed building design was 45,300 square feet. The current building design has been reduced to 42,044 square feet and bids for construction of the new building came in at $15,024,846.
Since April 2017, we have taken the time to listen and study options that solve our early learning facility needs. The identified option will be paid for out of the District’s operating budget rather than through a separate, special property tax.
This August 15 statement from the Board of Education outlines the rationale for the November 6 ballot question.
We will continue to share information about this important project as we lead up to the November 6 election. However, we also encourage community members to ask questions and seek clarification on any information in the community. Questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or 630–682–2469. Stay connected with us on our Facebook, Twitter and the District 200 Newsroom. For more information about the history of the Jefferson Early Childhood Center project, visit www.cusd200.org/facilities.
On November 6, voters will see the following question on their election ballot:
Shall the Board of Education of Wheaton Warrenville Community Unit School District Number 200, DuPage County, Illinois, build and equip a new early childhood center without levying a separate, special property tax to finance the costs thereof?