Winnebago schools propose $7.5 million referendum for structural - – Rockford’s News Leader

Winnebago schools propose $7.5 million referendum for structural improvements


Winnebago School District leaders says it needs to update pavement, mechanical systems, and other existing structures like door frames, bleachers and flooring at its schools 

It's a mandate given to them by the state. But, the district says it doesn't have the money to do it in a timely manner. 

"With any old facilities, they need to have items of repair at certain times. We're just not at a state to repair all at once," says John Schwuchow, the Winnebago Community Unit School District 323 superintendent.  

That's why it's asking voters to approve a $7.5 million referendum. No matter how you vote, they say a portion of your tax bill is going down. That's because the district just finished paying off a previous building bond. 

"If we have a homeowner with a house that's worth $100,000, their portion of the tax bill will be going down to $64.36 with this upcoming referendum," Schwuchow says. 

But, this isn't the first referendum to make its way to Winnebago voters' ballots. In 2016, the area voted down a 26 million dollar project to build a new elementary school. It's a proposal some say not very many people knew much about. 

"I think there was a couple different meetings that were going on and they weren't really well attended," Brian Weavel, a Winnebago resident says. "I think these are going to be much more attended than in years past." 

The district says it's stepping up to make sure voters have the chance to learn exactly where their money would be going. That's why they say they're starting to hold more meetings to educate voters.  

"With me being so new to the position, it allows me to strike up conversation with our community members --not only to learn more about me, but share out our story," Schwuchow says.  

The district says it will be holding information sessions on the following dates. 

Feb. 7 at Dorthy Simon Elementary School at 6 p.m.

Feb. 12 at Winnebago Middle School at 6 p.m. 

Feb. 22 at Winnebago High School at 6 p.m.

Feb. 27 at Jean McNair Elementary School at 6 p.m.

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