Quick Summary of ProjectLEAF

Here is a quick summary of the chronology and the recommendation that is ProjectLEAF.

Following the April 2013 County Sales Tax for School Facilities vote, the District 228 Board of Education engaged more than 330 community members in 5 different planning sessions held from January 2014 through May 2014.  In September of 2014, a Facilitating team of 12 members recommended to the Board of Education, their best compilation of the desires of the community that reflected both an innovative and comprehensive facilities improvement plan that was designed in the most cost-effective manner.

There are 3 main components of the plan:

Part 1 includes approximately $9M in Health/Life Safety projects that are included in a required 10 Year Survey that the District must conduct by statute.  The Illinois State Architect reviews and ultimately approves these projects, which then allow for the use of property tax dollars in the form of Health/Life Safety Bonds or through the regular Health/Life Safety survey tax levy.  The bonds can be issued in the amount needed, while the levy generates approximately $160,000 per year.  Obviously, in our case, we would need to issue the bonds to cover these necessary improvements.  The projects include items like a new roof at the HS, SW, MIL.  New flooring at the MS, new windows at Northside and many other energy efficiency, safety, security and accessibility issues.

Part 2 and Part 3 would include the numerous enhancements, alterations, additions and repair work at all the schools.  This includes projects such as a new 850 seat auditorium with state of the art sound, stage, storage and dressing areas at Geneseo High School.  Remodeled and repurposed areas for band and choir practices and classes, new 2D and 3D visual art space, and renovated and technologically advanced vocational/technical areas are also included in the plans at the High School.

A new 8 lane track, field turf on the Bob Reade Field, and new, handicapped accessible bleachers—which will seat 2500 home spectators is included in the project list.  Coinciding with the construction will be a new landscaped area to the west of the bleachers for more inviting and accessible concession and congregating areas.

The 3rd major component will be the addition of an All Purpose Room (gym) and new classroom space at Northside Elementary School is planned.  Additionally, hands on classroom additions are planned at Millikin and Southwest to accommodate a growing need for Science/Technology/Engineering and Math curriculum on the way.

The total cost of Part 2 and Part 3 is approximately $27.5M.  Conservatively we are planning on $11M of this being paid for by the sales tax revenues.  We can only use 80% of the total sales tax revenues, which is why the number may appear lower than anticipated.

This leaves the shortfall of $16.5M to complete the project, hence the reason for a referendum question requesting permission to issue $16.5M in general obligation bonds.

The good news is that after the 2015 tax levy in December, the school district will have repaid all of the construction bonds for Geneseo Middle School and all of the recent Health/Life Safety bonds that paid for all of the work completed with our last 10 Year Health/Life Safety Survey work.  Therefore, a successful referendum will allow us to complete all of the $36.5M construction projects mentioned without raising the existing bond and interest tax rate.  The more favorable the bond rate, and the more favorable the bids for work come in, the more the District could be even more sensitive to the overall tax rate.  But please note, this is NOT saying that the overall tax rate will lower.  There are many variables that determine the property taxes a property owner pays.  The overall equalized assessed valuation of district properties can fluctuate even if the District asks for the same dollar mount of the levy, which changes the tax rate.  The value of an individual owner’s property may change, also impacting their tax obligation.  But the Board of Education desires to keep the Bond and Interest rate as close to the current rate as possible.

We will continue to make available the most factual information we can.  The site we used previously for ProjectLEAF communications will be again utilized.

http://www.gcsdblogs.org/projectleaf/

7 thoughts on “Quick Summary of ProjectLEAF

    1. Tennis courts have not been eliminated from the planning. The facilitating team and Board of Education did not include them in the first phase of construction. Keep in mind that there were other items requested during the process, and the District will have another 20% of the sales tax that cannot be used for bonded projects. So tennis courts, soundproofing in the MS music areas, additonal parking at the HS and other sites are still on the radar.

  1. What is the current seating capacity of the home side football bleachers isn’t it more than 2500 ? Does the proposed renovation of the stadium impact the the current soccer
    field ? I have heard that the soccer team will use the turf field for games, is that true ?
    If so how will football, band and soccer be prioritized for use of the field with overlapping seasons, practice times. Seems to me you can’t practice on sod and play on turf and expect good results.

    1. There are a number of points to be made in a response to this, but the first is that even if the vote is successful on April 7th there are months of detailed design work to accomplish. Figures used in some of the renderings are approximations (e.g. Seating capacity). The current stadium holds roughly 2500 spectators but is without the benefit of many of the accessibility and safety features the Board of Education would like to have. We would not construct a smaller stadium.

      There is not a plan for soccer to play other than where they currently play. Thank you for sharing your concern regarding logistics and preparation.

      Again, note that there is a great deal of planning yet to be done, and that planning would focus on the maximum areas of improvements with the minimum of disruptions and inefficiencies.

  2. I’m very disappointed at the seating capacity of the proposed fine arts center. We are not looking forward to the possibilities of such a facility in our community, especially if the plans are still to enable separation from the main school building. We should be planning for at least 1000 seats, if not 1200. Our community planners need to be longer sighted, especially when the added expense would be pennies to residents over the life of the facility.

  3. I thought the sales tax revenue was to provide the necessary funds for the projects, and that decisions would need to be made to select the projects based on the amount of funds received.

    Now it seems like ALL projects are going forward and you are planning on spending 3 times the amount of extra tax revenues funded by bonds… is this correct? Where is the restraint?

    1. In response to “Concerned Taxpayer”, there was never a public comment from Board of Education, administration, architect, or anyone who attended the 5 ProjectLEAF community meetings where it was stated or implied that ALL projects would be funded by the sales tax revenues.
      The stated purpose of the community engagement meetings was to determine how the community wished to spend the sales tax revenues, in conjunction with any compliance-mandated projects and/or additional community/Board of Education wishes. This 5 session engagement led to the projects that have been presented by the Board of Education through these final ProjectLEAF recommendations.
      The “restraint” that you reference would be either supported or refuted by the April 7th election and the voters of the District 228 School Community. We believe that thinking people will utilize the information available and make a decision at the poll that they support locally. Normally, a comment posted from an unknown/unidentified source would not receive a response, but we appreciate your questions, and hopefully your first thought about the sales tax revenue has been addressed, since it was not presented in the manner you presented. Additionally, we tried to access your email URL and noticed that your site was unavailable.

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