Yes — by a landslide

Yes — by a landslide

How about that vote for the Champaign schools' building plan?

There were plenty of surprises in last week's local, state and national election.

But one of the biggest, at least for local residents, came when voters gave a lopsided approved to the Champaign school district's $183 million school construction and renovation spending plan.

Elections frequently continue permanent debates about public policy. But Unit 4's successful referendum closes the question about how the district will proceed.

There will be no more votes about what to build, no more discussions about where to build, no more studies of how far the public is willing to go in their support for the public schools.

It's game on in terms of proceeding with the massive construction/renovation projects.

To say the results were a surprise is hardly an adequate reaction.

The district twice lost public votes on building plans, one by a relatively narrow margin and the other by a landslide. To turn those two defeats into an overwhelming victory — 27,234 for and 14,325 against — is a remarkable achievement.

The credit must go to school board members, who presided over an elaborately deliberative process, and backers of the measures, who worked hard to get "yes" votes.

What was the biggest factor? The decision to keep Central where it is now and expand it from there? The Christmas-tree collection of projects aimed at getting votes from all areas of the city?

It certainly wasn't the cost. Property taxpayers had better prepare for sticker shock.

Whatever, it's all over now but the shouting — or perhaps primal screams when people get their tax bills. No one can say city residents aren't willing to spend big money to provide K-12 students with the best of educational facilities.

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rsp wrote on November 18, 2016 at 8:11 am

As it was explained to me from the beginning, the reason you do both high schools at the same time is you want the votes of all those parents. That didn't work. So they added Dr. Howard to see if adding those parents would provide the edge. Nope. All they did was add more parents who are afraid of losing out if it goes another round, and left Central in the same location.

If Central's location was your only issue, they got your vote. If they threw in your school, they got your vote. Are they being fiscally responsible? No. Responsible to the taxpayers? No.

Are the voters fully informed that the school board has stated that they want more money after this? Absolutely not.