WIUM Tristates Public Radio

School Board Will Delay Referendum

CARTHAGE, IL – The Illini West School Board will not put a referendum on a new high school before voters next spring.

The board held two special meetings earlier this month in an effort to make decisions on a site and building design. The board wanted to put the issue on the March 20th ballot next year.

Superintendent Kim Schilson said the board had too little time to make the decisions.

She said, "When you're talking a new high school building, that's one of the biggest decisions this district is going to make. We wanted to make sure they had the time to really think about what was needed, where the best site would be."

The board will continue to evaluate sites and designs for the school. The board needs to make those decisions by August.

Schilson said the referendum will be very specific with the site, building design and cost. The district pay a little less than 30 percent of the cost. The state will pick up the rest.

She said the delay will coincide more closely with the availability of state funding within the next one to two years.

Several years ago, the state ran out of money for school construction. The Illini West request goes back to 2005. Schilson said the district has leap-frogged others since it has no high school building of its own; the district leases its current building. The district is at the top of the list to receive state funding. She expects the state to have the funds available in a year or two.

The board will put the referendum before voters in November of 2012.