Erie School District discuss consolidation referendum with public

Erie, Il (KWQC) -- Erie schools are considering a 24 million dollar plan to consolidate several schools. To do so a referendum must pass the April 4th ballot.

But there is still some uncertainty surrounding the idea.
The increase in property taxes is the main concern for some residents.

But the district says an increase in taxes will decrease the amount of issues the schools are facing every day.

Dozens of Erie school residents filled Sunday’s informational meeting to discuss their concerns with the district board members.

Brooke Berk a parent of three small children, who has in the district, says it's a chance the community should take. She says Exelon is a big reason why, the plant pays nearly 60 percent of the districts bills.

“With Exelon with us for the next 15 years, we need to do it now.10, 20 years from now when they really need to do it, we're going to need to pay all the $24 Million, and who knows the cost might be more then too, it might be 35 million in 20 years,” Berk said.

The Erie school board is asking for the public to pay half the cost. Superintendent Brad Cox, says it won't be a huge burden on the property owners.

“The district is looking at borrowing this almost 14 million dollars over 15 years and that would cost an approximated increase of 49 cents in the tax rate. On a home market value of 125 thousand that's probably a 175 dollar increase for the year. So about 15 dollars a month” Cox said.

With 4 buildings and under 700 hundred students in the entire district - cox says it's time to put the plan into action.

The superintendent says if the referendum is passed they will look to start construction next year. But there is no word on what the plan will be if it's not passed.