The Rockford Public School Board decides to kick off plans to fix its facilities with a $10 million investment. The financial commitment only covers a small portion of the estimated costs. School District 205 expects maintenance and infrastructure improvements will cost upwards of $150 million.
Board members unanimously approved transferring the money from a reserve fund into a capital fund at Tuesday nights board meeting. "Taking care of some of our aging infrastructure where we have one plug in front of the room and one plug in back of the room, to get a start on that. It's going to take a lot more resources in the future but at least we want to get this initial money going so we can repair sidewalks and driveways and improve the learning environment for students and the teaching environments for teachers," says Superintendent Dr. Robert Willis.
Voters may have the chance to weigh in on how the district will pay for the rest of the upgrades in November. Administrators are considering issuing $120 million in bonds to cover costs. They say that plan would require a referendum and would avoid a tax increase.
District 205 Board Members also unanimously approved a contract for the Rock Valley College Engineering and Science Running Start Program. The plan puts 20 promising students on the fast track to an engineering degree. The program lets students take dual credit courses so they earn a high school diploma and an associate degree from RVC at the same time. Then they'd transfer to Northern Illinois University or Rockford College to earn their Bachelor of Science in two years. The program comes at no additional cost to families. So far, Belvidere, North Boone and Winnebago School Districts also plan to participate in the program.
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