CRETE | Village officials were asked Monday to get involved in the business of the Crete-Monee School District 201-U; specifically if the district should use some grant money received last year to build new school facilities for the district.
The Village Board did not take any kind of action related of whether the local school district should build a new middle school, or renovate the existing buildings.
Village President Michael Einhorn arranged for Doris Warren to address the Village Board. He also let school board members at the Village Board meeting express their views.
Warren is a local resident who thinks the school district should renovate existing facilities.
She said she believes if new facilities were built, the school district would be stuck with the old properties.
“The best option is to renovate the buildings,” Warren said. “They don’t have a good option for closing the buildings.”
School Board member Michael Turay said he believes it is a mistake for Crete officials to think of this as purely a Crete issue. He said he’d like it if officials from Crete, Monee, University Park and Park Forest got together to figure out what would benefit the area.
Emphasizing he was speaking for himself, and not for the School Board, Turay said the district needs to think in terms of new school buildings – saying some of the district’s facilities are more than 50 years old.
“We have old buildings with old electric circuits that are not the kinds of buildings needed for a modern education,” Turay said. “”We need new facilities to seriously do this.”
School Board officials have a meeting July 29 to discuss the issue further, although officials said there is no intent of taking a final vote.
While Einhorn said he is skeptical about some of the studies he has heard about the issue, because he thinks some people are overestimating the values of local homes – which are important to determining the future tax base for both the village and the school district.
“I’m less concerned about the education side, I’m concerned about the board’s finances,” Einhorn said, explaining he is concerned that home values won’t generate the kind of money the district would need to repay bonds that cover the cost of new school construction.
“I worry the dollars won’t be there,” he said. “We could find both ourselves and the school behind the 8-ball.”