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Streator High sets stage to borrow millions for auditorium

Bonds will not increase taxpayer rate

The Streator High School board is looking at borrowing millions of dollars to renovate its auditorium. The bonds are not expected to increase taxes for district residents.
The Streator High School board is looking at borrowing millions of dollars to renovate its auditorium. The bonds are not expected to increase taxes for district residents.

Streator High School took its first step toward borrowing money for auditorium renovations by conducting a public hearing prior to its Tuesday regular monthly board meeting.

Tentatively, the district is looking at borrowing $9.8 million for renovations, but that amount may change since the architect still is working on the feasibility of the project, said Superintendent Matt Seaton.

The board will vote at its Tuesday, May 15, meeting on a resolution to borrow the money sometime within the next three years.

“We don’t have to borrow the money right away, but it puts us in a position to move quickly once the architect is complete,” Seaton said.

Due to the state’s new school funding formula, the district will be able to do the project without increasing its share of property taxes. The district will lower the tax rate in certain areas of its budget to offset the bonds, Seaton said.

Speaking of state funding, Seaton said the funding formula will give the district more than projected in its budget. The district is set to receive about $674,000 in new money between now and June 30. The district had originally budgeted for roughly $400,000.

“We’re looking at a great financial picture,” Seaton told board members. “We have ample cash-on-hand to pay for our roof project and the tennis courts.”

The board also replenished its stock of student Chromebooks.

The board voted Tuesday to buy 500 Chromebooks, which have a four- to five-year life span, for a total cost of $88,500. The purchase will account for a little more than half of the Chromebooks used by the school. The district utilized $80,000 from Title I federal funds and $26,000 from an insurance fund students pay into in case anything happens to the machines.

The board also approved the extension of 35-foot-high netting at its softball field to protect a neighboring house from foul balls. The netting, which will include the installation of four poles 6 feet into the ground, costs about $17,000.

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