In a sharp pivot at the April 23 District 200 school board meeting, members discussed and appeared to reach a consensus on issuing bonds to partially fund Project 1, scheduled to begin construction in a few weeks, rather than fully paying for the $32.6 million academic and special education facility needs project from the school’s nearly $100 million cash reserve as planned. Meantime, $20 million of the reserve remains earmarked for “urgent needs” in Project 2, namely a massive pool and natatorium.
While major capital projects should be fully bonded, approved and paid for by the voters who will benefit from them, D200’s mountainous cash reserve, amassed unethically via a loophole, continues to skew this funding dynamic. The board’s apparent decision to take on debt, without voter approval, to finance Project 1 while still retaining $20 million of the cash reserve for a 37-meter x 25-yard pool and 600-seat natatorium in Project 2 raises questions regarding the board’s transparency and accountability to taxpayers.
Here’s the $20 million question: Why is the board planning to issue bonds for academic and special education facility needs in Project 1 when it could use the $20 million it has set aside for a pool and natatorium in Project 2?
If you would like to ask D200 this question, email the board at BoE@oprfhs.org.