IPSD 204 considers November referendum to help fund facility, operational needs

Exterior of Indian Prairie School District 204 administration building
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Indian Prairie School District 204 (IPSD 204) is considering putting a referendum on the November 2024 ballot to help it fund operational and facility needs.

According to a news release, this would be a “37-cent limiting rate referendum.” It would not require a net tax rate increase.

Buildings in place nearly 30 years, needing upkeep, upgrades

District officials say a number of the buildings within the district were built during the 1990’s. With many of those buildings now approaching an age of 30 years, the district says they are in need of upgrades, including roofs, boilers, and electrical systems.

Security updates and changes due to shifts in learning protocols over the years are also required, district officials say.

“The district is in need of upgrades to our facilities to meet the ever-changing needs of our students and staff,” said Dr. Adrian Talley, IPSD 204 Superintendent in the news release. “When our students flourish, we all flourish and we need to ensure that our schools are safe and provide the learning environments needed for our students.”

IPSD 204 has had a master facility assessment and master facility plan completed across its 35 district buildings, with recommendations made for each. The estimated total replacement cost for all buildings would be $3.5 billion.

37-cent contribution already in place to help repay school-building bonds

Currently, residents contribute 37 cents per $100,000 in assessed home value to the district, as part of a prior commitment to help repay bonds which helped cover the building of IPSD 204 schools such as Metea Valley High School.

Those bonds will be paid off in 2026. But the district notes that having those funds continue, to be used for district needs, could be beneficial. The new proposed limiting rate referendum would basically replace the one that is expiring.

Besides improving building efficiency and addressing needed repairs, monies would also be used to help reduce class sizes, improve security, and add more mental health services.

If approved, this proposal would provide about $25.5 million in annual funding to the district.

The district noted that it currently sources more than three-fourths of its revenues from local property taxpayers. Currently its spending per pupil is more than $2,200 under the state average.

“We take great pride in our continued financial stewardship and transparency,” said Matt Shipley, Chief School Business Official. “Through sensible financial management and strategic allocation of resources, we ensure that every student receives a quality education without burdening our taxpayers.”

Informational meetings planned on possible referendum

The district is planning several community informational meetings to share more information about the proposal with the public. The first of those will kick off the week of April 15, with meetings planned at a number of different schools throughout IPSD 204.

More information about the possible referendum and a list of upcoming meetings and locations can be found on IPSD 204’s “Safer, Stronger 204” website.

The Board of Education will make a decision in August about whether to put forth the referendum, after receiving feedback from district residents.

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