RTHS would lose $750,000 yearly if Gifford separates
RANTOUL — Rantoul Township High School would lose more than $750,000 a year if Gifford Grade School district detaches from the district.
"That's the financial impact," RTHS Superintendent Scott Amerio told the village board. "Of greater concern, I think as a community and a school board, would be the academic impact that that financial impact would cause. If it got to that point, there would be a lot of tough decisions by the school board."
Gifford Grade School district residents who also live in the RTHS district will vote in an advisory referendum Nov. 4 on whether to detach the grade school and let residents send children to Armstrong Township High School.
Rantoul and Gifford-area residents who are already living in the Armstrong district do not get to vote.
If a majority votes "yes" on the question, an effort will likely be mounted in Gifford to secure the signatures of two-thirds of voters to petition to detach from RTHS. Amerio said the petition would then go to the regional board of trustees, which would conduct a public hearing.
"If this were to happen where they would detach from our territory and go to Armstrong ... we would lose $735,000 in property-tax revenue a year and another $50,000 from the county sales tax," Amerio said.
Amerio said he has been asked what the village of Rantoul can do.
"First," he said, "the argument that we're hearing right now from the people who want to do this is that it's all about tax rates. They can go to Armstrong and pay a lower tax rate, which at this time is currently true."
He estimated that the RTHS rate is about $2.80 per $100 of equalized assessed valuation compared with about $2.40 per $100 for Armstrong.
Economic development within the community is the best way to offset high tax rates, Amerio said.