Reaction to Rockford School Board Facilities Plan

By Alma Valenzuela |

Published 08/13 2014 05:45PM

Updated 08/14 2014 09:20AM

ROCKFORD -- After the Rockford School Board overwhelmingly approved a $250 million facilities-restructuring plan, it could still face one more hurdle: Rockford voters.

The plan calls for closing 8 schools, building two new schools, and modifying and/or combining 13 more over the next 10 years.  Before construction can begin in 2016, voters must pass the referendum on the November ballot.

District 205 parent, Heidi Dannhauser, says, "I think they should put the money into the schools that are there [already].  If they need to shut down a couple to make the other ones better then that's fine. But to tear down eight to rebuild two... to me it doesn't make any sense." 

Dannhauser plans to vote against the plan.

But School Board President Kenneth Scrivano is optimistic it will pass because it will not raise taxes.  "We will only use existing capital funds dollars so there will be no increase in any ones taxes for the building of these new schools," said Scrivano.
So why hold a referendum at all? The School Board President said they want to be up front with voters.

"We, in good faith, want to go back to the voters...this November to ask build one or two new schools," he says.  

Scrivano says he believes voters will see the benefits of this plan.  "I think it improves the learning environment for all of our students, and it certainly improves the work environment for the staff. So, many of our buildings are older and need upgrading and we're adding additions," said Scrivano.

As of now, the School Board has no plans to run a public information campaign to educate voters on the strengths of the plan.

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