Improvements to Washington Elementary are on hold for now. The Jacksonville School District 117 School Board is opting to err on the side of caution in moving forward, postponing a vote on beginning the project until their regular board meeting next month.
District 117 Superintendent Steve Ptacek says the board agreed with him on pumping the brakes on the project. Ptacek wants to see how a public hearing goes on June 16th about a proposed $13 million bond sale to fund the district’s next phase of renovation plans: “We want to ensure that the approval for the bond proposal goes through. We need to have the $13 million coming in from the bond sale to be able to do the Washington project, and technically, the bond sale won’t be able to be approved by the board until after the public hearing and after notice next month. It just makes sense not to put the cart before the horse, and to approve a project until you know you have got the funding mechanism.”
Ptacek says that once the bond sale is approved, then he will have options to present to the board on how the money could be spent on district-wide renovations that could possibly include Murrayville-Woodson Elementary, South Elementary, as well as Washington. All are a part of furthering Phase 3 of the long-term Vision 117 plans.
According to the notice of the intent to issue the bonds, if a petition of 1,349 electors in the district is signed and submitted to the Secretary of the Board of Education to the district within publication of the notice, it could force the bond issue to referendum in March of 2022. Ptacek said during the meeting that it could significantly hinder costs and hold up the Washington project from being completed without disrupting the school year, and costing the district more money in maintenance to the building in the short term.
Ptacek says once the options from bond is presented to the board, the board is expected to take action on the Washington project at their regularly scheduled meeting for June 23rd.