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Benjamin District 25 To Host Dec. 1 & Dec. 3
Community Open House Events
West Chicago, IL (Nov. 14, 2016)---Benjamin School District 25 residents are invited to special Open House events to learn more about an opportunity to benefit students and taxpayers while improving facilities and continuing stable finances---without increasing the tax rate.
Learn more about ongoing maintenance and needed security improvements, how to improve classrooms to better facilitate 21st century learning, responsible fiscal management, and future-ready facilities at Open House events planned from 4:30-6:45 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1 or 9 a.m.- noon Saturday, Dec. 3 at Evergreen Elementary School, 1041 Evergreen Dr., Carol Stream.
District planners, educators, accountants and architects will be on hand providing current information, tours, and information on planning for educational facility and security improvements.
“While our facilities are in good condition, there are repairs and updates that are needed to support current practices in teaching, to create secure learning environments and maintain the district’s strong financial health without increasing Benjamin’s tax rate,” notes Phillip Ehrhardt, Ed.D., superintendent. “Building improvements will support the high quality teaching and learning that occurs in our classrooms every day to prepare our students for their futures.”
Among educational improvements being considered are upgrades to the middle school science labs, changes in STEM elementary school spaces, updated technology devices, renovations to the elementary cafeteria to also accommodate large group instruction, updated furniture, and enhanced storage solutions.
Vital security needs to be addressed include reconfiguring the elementary school main entrance to better control and secure building access, replacing an outdated phone system, improving playground safety, boosting accessibility for those with mobility impairments by installing an elevator/lift at the two-story middle school, upgrading roof sections and windows at the end of their life expectancy, bringing school water fountains and sinks up to code, and installing gymnasium wall matts to help prevent injuries in the elementary school gymnasium shared in partnership with the Carol Stream Park District.
Benjamin District 25 serves students from the far southwest corner of Carol Stream and portions of West Chicago at two schools. Pre-K through fourth graders attend Evergreen Elementary School, Carol Stream, and students in grades 5 through 8 attend Benjamin Middle School, West Chicago. It is one of the oldest school districts in the county and consistently recognized among the academically top performing districts both in the county and state.
Proposed Capital Projects and Financing Options; Educational Programming, Safety and Security, and Facility Improvements Projects Summary
A summary of the proposed projects and financing options are explained below. A detailed description can be accessed by viewing the attachment.
Examples of projects addressing educational programming include updating three Benjamin Middle School science labs, purchasing two portable science labs for Evergreen Elementary School, renovating the Evergreen Elementary School cafeteria to also serve as a large-group instruction room, upgrading the technology infrastructure, and replacing the student computer devices.
Samples of safety and security projects include reconfiguring the Evergreen Elementary School front entrance to better control entry to the building, upgrading the burglar system and interfacing it with the security system at both schools, and installing an elevator/lift at Benjamin Middle School so there is access to the second floor for students, staff, and visitors with mobility issues. Also, specified sections of the roofs and blacktop/playgrounds that are nearing life expectancy would be replaced.
The one facility project is to replace the interior fluorescent light fixtures with LED fixtures that are much more energy efficient and last longer.
Every five to six years bonds have been sold to fund capital projects since the needs exceed the annual budget revenue. In 2005 bonds were used to pay for phase 1 of the heating and air conditioning project for sections of both schools. The remaining parts of the schools except the middle school large gym were completed in phase 2 in 2012 along with security projects. In 2017-2018, there will be the opportunity to sell bonds and lower the debt service tax rate by about 16 %. An owner of a house assessed at $250,000 would experience an estimated $73 annual tax decrease.
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