Hononegah students are back in the classroom, and everything looks familiar, for now. But if voters approve a $44 million property tax referendum in the November election, the school could be in for a major makeover.
“There are a lot of areas for the building,” said School Board President David Kurlinkus. “We go from 1922 to 2003, so there are challenges in maintaining and using that space, and kind of molding it into an educational space for the 21st century.”
Kurlinkus says the school facility improvements plan has been in the works for about a year, but the sports dome’s collapse in December sped up their process. He says the dome was supposed to last 20 years, but only lasted 13.
“The planning for what was going to take place of the dome, whether it was another dome, or a conventional brick and mortar building, that was going to be part of the discussion. Now, all of the sudden instead of having 7 years, we have no time,” he said.
The District still does not know how much money they’re getting from their insurance for the dome. Now they’re looking at building a field house in its place. One taxpayer and former school board member says he understands the need for a new facility, but thinks the district is going about it the wrong way.
“If you’re really trying to be fiscally responsible to the taxpayers of this district, then you would put up something over the existing track that’s here, and you could do that for a minimal amount of money,” said David Bailey.
Bailey says he knows the added property tax would be minimal, but he’s tired of taxing bodies adding small increases that he says eventually add up to a much larger amount.
“Eventually you keep tacking this on, and like I said last night, Winnebago County is the second in the state of Illinois on tax burden. Where’s the end?”