Jefferson Survey Responders Like Cheapest Option for New School
More than a third of survey responders in District 200 said they'd support the least expensive proposed plan for a new Jefferson facility.
Taxpayers in District 200 would support a $29.4 million plan to rebuild the Jefferson Early Childhood Center and move the district's administrative offices to the new building, according to results of a community survey.
John Gatta, an ECRA, Inc. consultant hired by District 200 told board members Wednesday that 1,035 people responded to the survey.
He said survey results show taxpayers support high-quality education and want to see priority placed on instructional expenses. He said there is a lack of support for renovation of administrative facilities.
Of the 1,035 responders, 34 percent said they supported 'Concept 2'—relocation of the district's main office, a new Jefferson site and renovation of the School Services Center (SSC) for operational facilities and technological services.
The least popular concept, which received 15 percent support from responders was also the most expensive option at $38.6 million. The concept would call for relocation of the main office, renovation of the SSC and all top-priority capital improvements.
At $29.6 million, 'Concept 1' included a new Jefferson building and maintenance at the current SSC and unused Woodland school facility. The option received 27 percent support.
Twenty-four percent of responders chose the 'other' category, Gatta said.
Despite the lack of support for new administrative facilities, District 200 Superintendent Dr. Brian Harris said the School Services Center needs attention.
“It’ll get to a point real soon where it’s going to fall apart,” he said.
Harris told board members a board finance committee and staff have looked at how costs relate to taxes and are prepared to proceed depending on the project's scope.
Gatta said garnering taxpayer support for the project is about effective education. "If it resonates as more buildings... It's tough. But if it's (about education), then you've got a really good shot (at a successful referendum)," he said.
If the board decides to move ahead with the project, the district would put a referendum question out to taxpayers on the April election ballot. Gatta encouraged the board to schedule special meetings to prepare to make an informed decision at the Jan. 9 meeting.
"We have a lot of work in the next month and a half," he said.
Suvey results are available on the District 200 website.
Correction: "Concept 3" received 15 percent support. Patch originally reported 13 percent.
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