Voters Approve $147 Million Barrington District 220 Borrowing Request for Building Projects
Daily Herald |March 18, 2020 | Bob Susnjara
Barrington Area Unit District 220 received approval for its request to borrow $147 million for building projects, including safety and security upgrades at all its schools.
Unofficial results with nearly all votes counted from Tuesday’s election show 6,045 were in favor and 3,781 were opposed in Cook, Lake, Kane and McHenry counties.
With District 220 expecting to pay off some debt in 2021, the owner of a home valued at $500,000 will receive a decrease of about $75 a year, compared with the 2019 property tax bill, assuming the ballot measure passes.
If voters had rejected the request, the same homeowner would have received a reduction of about $468.
Officials said the $147 million will pay for basic projects, including upgrades to school safety and security, plumbing, electrical, roofing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris said the next move will be to hire a construction manager, architect and bond counsel to assisting in financing the work.
Tuesday’s ballot measure came almost a year after voters rejected the district’s request to borrow $185 million for facility upgrades. That proposal would have added about $100 to the annual property tax bill for the owner of a $500,000 house.
Harris said the reduced project request without increasing taxes likely appealed to voters.
“They were willing to maintain, but they weren’t willing to go beyond,” he said.
In addition to basic improvements, the referendum will fund construction of a physical education and wellness center at Barrington High School, additional classrooms at the district’s two middle schools, officials said.
Opponents including Barrington resident Willard “Bill” Bishop questioned the district’s request. He said that after extensive study, he concluded too little annual spending on building maintenance led to the $147 million proposal.