Editor’s note: This is part 1 of a series of frequently asked questions and answers about the upcoming General Obligation Bond question on the March 20th ballot.
Why is the Amboy Board of Education seeking a $15.8 million General Obligation Bond at this time?
In recent years, the amount and cost of repairs to the current jr. high have skyrocketed. The building is 96 years old. Its age makes day to day maintenance difficult, yet improvements are necessary to meet mandatory standards set forth by the Illinois State Board of Education. These improvements come with an approximate $10 million price tag, which would do no more than place expensive band-aids on reoccurring problems.
Unfortunately, parts for equipment like the elevator and boilers must be custom made as the original manufacturers no longer exist. Major renovations, like installing a secure school entrance, would require costly asbestos abatement.
Just like a family’s annual budget covers the expenses associated with daily activities, so too does a school’s. With limited funds the Board of Education has invested in the people and infrastructure that keeps quality education as the district’s focus. Investing in a new structure that would give teachers and students the environment that supports their educational needs is the fiscally responsible option.
Why weren’t the challenges at the current Jr. High fixed before this?
Schools are required to follow a Health/Life Safety plan as a way to continually maintain and improve the buildings in which our teachers teach and students learn. The Amboy School’s Board of Education monitors the progress of these improvements as well as the expenses of them.
The Board of Education has focused on keeping the school district functional with little to no state funding these past years. Investment in what keeps a school great – infrastructure and people – is a balancing act. The end goal has always been quality education for our students.
Unfortunately, the challenges at the current jr. high are catching up to our ability to complete basic maintenance at all three school buildings. More time and money are being filtered to the jr. high to fix bricks and mortar versus investing in the people who make education great. We simply do not have the means to correct the day to day infrastructure challenges at the jr. high in a manner that will not affect daily classes or keep future problems at bay.
A full list of challenges can be found at https://amboy272kids.wixsite.com/272kids/facility-challenges.
What will the voters see happen if the General Obligation Bond is approved?
Upon voter approval of the General Obligation Bond, plans to build a new junior high attached to the current high school will commence. The jr. high will include its own secure school entrance, classrooms, cafeteria, a music room and art room. The high school would gain a new gym, secure school entrance, new library/media center and art room.
Because the General Obligation bond funds would cover these building and renovation costs, funds collected from the one percent sales tax could be designated for other maintenance and improvement projects at Central Elementary.
In essence, each school building and the teachers and students housed in them, will benefit from the passage of this referendum.