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Bloomington District 87 board Chairman Michael Harrison Sr., left, district Superintendent Barry Reilly and board member Jennifer Sedbrook review information during Wednesday night's board meeting at the district's office.

BLOOMINGTON — The Bloomington District 87 school board approved about $10 million in bonds for fire prevention and safety purposes on Wednesday night.

Superintendent Barry Reilly said after the meeting that the bond issue should not result in an increase in the district's overall property tax rate.

“The majority of it is for the roof at Bloomington High School,” Reilly said. “That will be done over the course of several years.”

“We want to be good stewards for our taxpayers, yet we want to maintain our buildings and learning environment,” Reilly said.

The projects come from a 10-year facilities plan presented in September that identified the district's needs, he said.

That $18.3 million plan identified nearly $12 million in heating, air conditioning and ventilating equipment and controls work that needed to be done, in addition to the BHS roof work. 

The $10 million in bonds approved Wednesday is for just part of the plan.

Vision 20/20 backed

In other action, the board approved without further discussion, a resolution supporting the Vision 20/20 education improvement proposal put together by school officials from across the state. Reilly presented the plan to the board at its Jan. 14 meeting.

The Unit 5 school board also endorsed the Vision 20/20 report Wednesday.

The four pillars of Vision 20/20 are highly effective educators, 21st century learning, shared accountability and equitable and adequate funding.

“Public education has been under attack the last few years — some of it justified; most of it not,” Reilly said after Wednesday night's meeting.

He described the report as “proactive.”

Reilly said legislative proposals such as Senate Bill 1 that attempt to address funding inequities among districts do not address the inadequacy of funding overall.

But he agreed with one argument behind SB1: “The school funding formula absolutely needs to change."

As more school districts sign on, Reilly said, the next step will be a public education campaign about the Vision 20/20 report.

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Education Reporter

Education Reporter for The Pantagraph.

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