Feb. 13 Capital Project Q&A

Isn’t the district in the middle of a significant capital project?

In planning for the current capital project, the district did extensive assessments of infrastructure and educational space needs. The result was a long-term plan that divided the work into three capital projects (2021, 2024, 2027). The goal of this referendum is to procure funding to not only make repairs and renovations, while modernizing and improve learning spaces for students, faculty and staff across the district. The multi-referendum approach is to minimize the impact on the school budget and taxpayers by managing debt levels and maximize state aid for school construction.


Didn’t the 2021 capital project include money for renovating Van Antwerp (VA)? Why is more funding needed now?

Yes, the 2021 capital project included plans to address work needed at VA. However, the impact of inflation and rising construction costs resulted in bids for the work at Iroquois MS being higher than projected pre-pandemic. As a result, completing the anticipated work at VA will require funding beyond what is available through the 2021 referendum. It is important to note that more than $7 million in funding remains in the 2021 capital project for work at Van Antwerp, which will help complete the substantial renovations and additon that are proposed.


If the work is approved, when will students benefit from the new space? When will the new grade-level configuration take effect?

Because work at VA was part of the 2021 plan, considerable design work is already complete. This will expedite the process of review and approval prior to construction starting. ork Work would likely begin in the spring/summer 2025 with an anticipated completion date of fall 2028. At that time the district expects the new grade-level configuration will be in effect. The elementary work is expected to be completed in phases begin in the summer of 2025.


If bids for any aspect of the work come in over budget, how will it be handled? 

If the proposal is approved, the district will send the community regular updates about the plan, including construction timelines, details about the work that is advancing or any adjustments due to budget/other factors. In the event a bid comes in higher than anticipated, that does not mean the project would not get done. The district would evaluate options and consider how to adapt and prioritize the overall budget for improvements.


What happens if the proposal is not approved?

If the capital project is defeated, district facilities would continue to age, but there would be no state funding to support updating and improving program spaces and/or address issues. In that case, when something fails, the work could need to be paid for out of the operating budget, which does not generate any state aid. If a capital project is delayed, it would result in a greater tax increase because debt levels were not stabilized and the cost of construction generally rises over time. Importantly, if the project is not approved by voters, the district will take steps (including a planned voter exit survey) to learn from voters to help formulate the next capital project proposal – which would need to include many of the items in the Feb. 13 vote.