CRETE | School District 201U officials will host a community forum Wednesday night at Crete-Monee High School to discuss the use of $23.62 million in Illinois Capital Development Board grant funds.
The district received the funds from the state in October after applying for a school construction grant in 2003 for building a new high school, a new Monee elementary school and expansion of the middle school, Assistant Superintendent of Business Robert Groos said.
"The objective of tonight's forum is to hear the voice of the community and to be sure that (their) recommendations are placed on the list of priorities," Groos said.
A $79 million building referendum was approved in March 2004 to cover the cost of the school construction, which totaled $68 million, Groos said. Over the next three years the district issued $63 million in building bonds to fund other construction projects.
The money received in October is a reimbursement of spent construction costs, Groos said, so there is no restriction from the state as to how it can be spent. The district moved $14.6 million into its education fund and $7 million into its operations and maintenance fund, where it can be transferred to any other portion of the budget.
So far, $1.5 million has been spent, leaving $22.1 million.
"(Architectural firm) Healy Bender is currently documenting all the capital needs across the district. It is anticipated that the total cost will exceed $40 million," Groos said. "Our next forum will have all the exact figures from Healy Bender; however, it is likely that the remaining $22.1 million may not cover even half of the district's capital needs."
That $40 million figure includes an anticipated cost of about $8 million to improve the condition of Crete Elementary. The cost to build a new Crete Elementary would be about $14 million, Groos said.
"When coupled with the fact that there are also millions of dollars in operating needs, it becomes clear that additional funding will be needed to address all the district's needs," Groos said.
Tonight's forum begins at 7 p.m. at Crete-Monee High School, 1515 W. Exchange St. The board of education will be in attendance.