Moving forward after RPS205 referendum passes - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Moving forward after RPS205 referendum passes

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Rockford Public Schools can now move forward with a plan aimed at updating it's facilities to the 21st century.

Last night taxpayers in the district said "yes" to a referendum allowing their money to be used to improve the physical state of it's schools.

$139 million.  That's what taxpayers in District 205 agree with.  That's what this "yes" vote allows to be spent.  Now that permission is granted, administrators prepare to take first steps.

"We'll be starting construction as soon as school is out."

District 205 Chief Operations Officer Todd Schmidt said in a previous interview that a "yes" vote means quick movement for the facilities master plan.

"We'll start doing all the design work and we'll starting issuing the bids in February and March of next year," he said.

Incoming Superintendent Dr. Ehren Jarrett says the district was careful and organized about it's approach to taxpayers.

While campaigning for the referendum, supporters hit key selling points to draw in voters still on the fence.

"We really made a good case financially that this was something we could do without raising taxes," said Jarrett.  "Really did a good job of getting the word out that their really is a need and our students deserve better and we want to give them every opportunity to be successful and to be in 21st century learning environments."

A "no" would've potentially saved property owners money on taxes.  Better Schools, Brighter Future Co-Chair Dr. Bill Gorski says the passing vote shows how community values are lined up.

"I think its also a referendum on how the public feels about our community as a whole."

The District 205 referendum passed last night with 64% of votes supporting the districts spending plan.

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