“Shall the Board of Education of Monticello Community Unit School District No. 25, in Piatt, DeWitt and Champaign Counties, Illinois, acquire, construct and install a project to acquire the site for and construct a new high school, construct renovations to the existing high school and Washington elementary school and close out White Heath and Lincoln elementary buildings, and related fixtures, equipment, facilities, improvements and costs, and issue bonds of such School District to the amount of $40,000,000 for such purpose?”
A full bond sale is estimated to cost the owner of a property with a market value of $100,000 at most $190 in new taxes. If approved a New Monticello High School would be constructed, elementary students would be combined onto one campus, and Lincoln and White Heath Schools would be closed out and re-purposed. The Board has four priorities for this project going forward (1) enhance/maintain current programming at all grade levels, (2) build on a school site close to town, (3) retain the elements of traditional school construction, and (4) enhance the efficiency and sustainability of the district through green technologies.
“Shall a retailers’ occupation tax and a service occupation tax (commonly referred to as a “sales tax”) be imposed in The County of Piatt, Illinois, at a rate of 1% to be used exclusively for school facility purposes?”
The Monticello CUSD #25 approved the Sales Tax question for the November 4 election. School districts in Bement, Cerro Gordo, Blue Ridge, and Atwood-Hammond-Arthur-Lovington also approved resolutions in support of the sales tax for school facilities. Approval of a sales tax for Piatt County School Facilities would generate an estimated $400,000 annually for Monticello Schools and would be used to reduce the impact of the property increase from the New High School by $40-$50. An informational meeting was hosted in February 2014 about the County School Facility Sales Tax (CSFST). The presentation on the tax was made by Kevin Heid of Stifel Nicolas. Twenty-one counties in Illinois have implemented the tax including Macon, Champaign, Shelby, and Douglas Counties. A majority vote of the county would implement a 1% additional sales tax to be distributed to county school districts based on enrolled students. Dollars from the tax could only be used for facility improvements, maintenance, upgrades, new facilities, or paying off debt for these facilities. The dollars cannot be used for personnel, supplies, or textbooks. The current tax rate in Piatt County is 6.25%, while Macon and Champaign Counties rates are over 9%. The additional 1% sales tax does not apply to vehicles, farm equipment, farm inputs, prescriptions, or food from the grocery stores. If an item is not currently taxed it will not be taxed if the CSFST is adopted. Please see below for the presentation and a video on the County School Facility Sales Tax.
We are working with our community to continue the conversation on the future of school facilities for Monticello CUSD #25. A series of community-wide conversations was held this spring that provided information and discussion about the possibilities, options, and ideas on the table for our school buildings. We have big decisions to make and we heard the voices of the communities that make up our school district. In the fall, the district led the effort to bring the conversation to the community through business leader meetings, faculty and staff discussions, a community-wide meeting, a district-wide survey, and by providing information on district media. From that effort emerged a set of questions that needed answers this spring prior to gaining community consensus on the direction that our school district should pursue. SAGE VOICES was the name selected for the second phase of community engagement. SAGE VOICES was led by a facilitating group that includes community members, school teachers, and school administrators. A FINAL REPORT was made to the School Board on July 16 that included the results of the survey completed in June. The School Board has approved placing two questions on the November 4 ballot.
Each year, Voya selects 100 finalists to receive a $2,000 award, while three of them are selected as Top Winners to receive additional grants.
According to Voya's Unsung Heroes Website, Jennifer "Smith’s innovative teaching idea, 'Sages in 3D,' is designed to strengthen students’ understanding of all aspects of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) concepts through hands-on experiences using 3D printers. The program will enable students to learn how to create and build prototypes and create designs using 3D printers. Students will improve their problem solving skills as they navigate the use of new, cutting edge technology. Students will also be encouraged to create manipulatives and models using the 3D printer as a way to increase not only their understanding of scientific concepts, but also their understanding of the potential of 3D printing. In order to help the middle school students identify practical applications for 3D printing, they will create manipulatives that the teachers and students will use throughout the district’s middle school classrooms. Through this project, students will directly see how technology can positively impact the future. They will also be encouraged and challenged to build creatively and critically."
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