Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Belvidere School District gives tax relief to homeowners - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL


By Jennifer Wheeler
Rockford Register Star
Posted Nov. 19, 2013 @ 12:17 am

BELVIDERE — Taxpayers who own houses valued at $100,000 will save on average $175 on the Belvidere School District portion of their tax bill next year.
The School Board approved several financial decisions Monday, including refinancing a bond and deferring a 2014 bond payment to 2025 when there aren’t any bond payments due. Chief Financial Officer Greg Brown said leaders can use money generated from the sales tax referendum to pay off the debt then, rather than relying on property taxes.
The decisions provide tax relief to residents so their bills will not skyrocket while the district pays off escalating bond payments.

Read more of this article by clicking on the following:  Belvidere School District gives tax relief to homeowners - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

Saturday, November 9, 2013

District 200 to survey security measures at buildings


District 200 to survey security measures at buildings

Nov. 6, 2013

By Bob Balgemann

POPLAR GROVE - North Boone Community Unit School District 200 plans to have the architectural firm of Cashman Stahler Group survey security precautions at the district's three elementary schools, the upper elementary school, middle school and high school.

Needed upgrades will be prioritized and for ultimate action by the board of education.

The long-range facilities planning committee met Oct. 29 and discussed in general terms some of the steps that have been taken over the years to keep children safe while they're in and around various school buildings.

Steve Cashman said the study would range from the phone system to the video system, and include whether to start using cards, rather than keys, to gain access to the various buildings. He also will come up with a range of costs for the options.

Some possibilities are basic, such as exterior lighting at Poplar Grove Elementary School, he said. Beyond that, there are some fire alarm systems that aren't reporting. "There is no monitoring service so no one is being notified," he said.

The best fire alarm system is at the high school, Cashman said.

Superintendent Steven Baule said having card access to buildings would be better. "There are a lot of keys out there," he said.

In addition, he said the telephone system needs to be replaced. It has been part of past budgets but has been eliminated "so we don't have to cut something else."

Shutting off cell phones while inside buildings is a good idea, he said, because some bombs can be triggered by cell phone signals.

While cameras can be helpful, Cashman said they're mostly used in theft cases, to determine who took what. Most school districts don't have the money to set up a series of cameras and pay someone to monitor them from a central location.

School board president Don Ward, in a follow-up interview, said a keyless system "would tell you who's been in and out. And it's easy to deactivate."

In addition to prioritizing upgrades, he said the point of the survey is "to be sure we have uniformity in the district."

Going over security measures "has been made a higher priority what with the recent shootings at schools in this country."

It was agreed during the committee meeting that having a safety plan to go along with the upgrades would be a good idea.

Cashman said it would take a couple of months to finish the survey. Having it ready for discussion in January "would be ideal," he said.

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