CHAMPAIGN - Champaign's school board voted 7-0 Monday to issue $14.5 million in working cash bonds, which could raise property taxes about $25 for the owner of a $150,000 home.
The school board will run an ad in the newspaper Wednesday or Thursday, advertising the decision. At that time, a 30-day period begins that would allow registered voters to petition the school district to put the question on a ballot in an election.
For that to happen, 10 percent of registered voters in the school district would have to sign a petition. That would mean more than 5,900 voters would have to sign, according to the Champaign County clerk's office.
Chief Operating Officer Gene Logas told the board Monday the administration is no longer requesting to buy laptops with the money.
Instead, the school district will carefully research what it needs and spend about $1.5 million of its savings to pay for laptops or similar technology.
The board could instead buy new windows at Franklin and Jefferson middle schools, but that's just an option at this point.
The bond issue would also pay for geothermal systems in those schools, energy-efficient lights at Franklin, Jefferson and Edison middle schools and at Central High School. It could also pay for a new transportation facility.
The district is allowing for a $14.5 million bond issue, but could end up issuing less, Logas said.
At Monday's meeting, Champaign resident Don Kermath and and area Realtor Chris Diana spoke out against the bond issue.
Kermath said he has 71 volunteers lined up to collection petitions to put the question on a ballot.
Logas said the school district will start no work during the 30-day petition period, and if enough voters sign, the question could appear on the ballot in the November election. Or, he said, the school board could decide to drop the bond issue altogether.