At a special meeting to be held in the OPRF Board Room on Nov. 10, 2015, at 8:30 p.m., the Oak Park and River Forest High School District 200 Board of Education will vote on a resolution of intent to issue working cash bonds in the amount of up to $17.5 million. The bonds would be for construction of the new swimming pool and aquatics center that has been under discussion for the last two years. If the resolution passes, that evening the board also will vote on an order calling for a public hearing about the bond issue, to be held on Dec. 17, 2015, in the Board Room.
At its Oct. 14, 2015, public meeting, the Board approved funding the estimated $37.5 million cost of the aquatic center with a combination of bonds and up to $20 million from available fund balances. This funding structure balances the financing between current property owners and future property owners, who may have students who use the pool and whose property values will be enhanced by having an excellent high school with high-quality facilities.
For the owner of a $400,000 home, the impact of issuing $17.5 million in bonds will be an additional $6 per month (or $76 per year) in property taxes. It should be noted that the district has cut property taxes by a total of $28 million over the past three years. With the compounding effect of annual tax levies, this has created an additional $44 million in tax savings for property owners over a 10-year period. Even with the impact of the pool project factored in, the average homeowner still will experience $2,500 in overall tax savings, $1,000 of which has already been realized.
The proposed bond financing schedule is as follows:
- Nov. 10: Pass resolution of intent to issue working cash bonds and approve order calling a public hearing for the Dec. 17, 2015, regular board meeting.
- Nov. 11: Publish resolution of intent in Wednesday Journal, beginning a 30-day period during which a petition with signatures of 10% of registered voters in the district could be submitted to require that the bond issue be voted on at referendum.
- Nov. 18: Publish bond hearing notice in Wednesday Journal (must appear in the paper more than seven days but no more than 30 days prior to the hearing).
- Dec. 11: Petition period expires.
- Dec. 13: Post notice of public hearing at district office and on website.
- Dec. 17: Public hearing on issuance of bonds.
- Dec. 28: Deadline to submit a referendum question for the March 16, 2016 ballot, if necessary.
At 90 years old, the high school’s two current pools have exceeded and exhausted their useful life. A competition pool typically has a life span of 40-50 years, based on deterioration of the pool shell and infrastructure. The OPRF pools suffer from a host of serious issues, including deteriorating structural support, narrow pool decks that don’t meet current safety codes, a non-code compliant and therefore unusable diving well, headroom clearance shortfalls, and poor air quality. Both pools are at real risk of developing issues that would render them permanently inoperable.
For further information visit www.oprfhs.org > Board of Education > Pool Project.