By Bob Uphues
As Komarek School District 94 edges closer to a referendum in April asking voters to approve a $22 million bond issue to fund a comprehensive makeover of the K-8 campus, school officials have announced a series of building tours and financial open houses to help illustrate the need.
The building bond would be paid off over 20 years. School officials have stated that the owner of a home valued at $250,000 can expect to pay an additional $351 annually in property taxes in 2020 and that the repayment schedule would be structured so that that same taxpayer would see his bill rise gradually over the first 10 years before leveling off at about $1,040.
The school board at that time might opt to refinance the bond in order to increase the repayment schedule and reduce the annual tax burden to homeowners.
Among the improvements planned if the referendum succeeds is to demolish the east wing of the school and construct a new gymnasium and additional parking on that site. The plan also calls for the construction of a two-story addition, including lower-level space, to the west wing of the school and replacing the sky bridge with a larger version that would house a new library.
In addition to enlarging the school's footprint by 5,000 square feet, the project would air condition the entire building and update its mechanical systems.
Komarek School officials will host building tours on the following dates: Thursday, Jan. 17 from 7 to 8 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 9 from 10 to 11 a.m.; Monday, March 4 from 7 to 8 p.m.; and Thursday, March 14 from 7 to 8 p.m.
All tours will begin at the district office, which is located in the east wing of Komarek School.
District 94 Superintendent Brian Ganan said that he will be on hand to direct the tours and will be joined by Assistant Principal Caitlin DiLallo, head of building maintenance Elio Anfuso and/or head custodian Jose Galindo, architect George Demaraki of Arcon Associates and a representative of Nicholas and Associates, the school district's construction management firm.
"We just want to make sure this can be a one-stop shop for people," said Ganan. "We want folks to come and see the building and ask questions as they come up."
In addition, the district will host three financial open houses on Monday, Jan. 14; Wednesday, Feb. 13; and Monday, March 18.
All of those open houses will take place in the District 94 office and run from 4 to 7 p.m. The financial open houses will allow homeowners to ask specific questions about what a successful referendum would mean financially. Bring a copy of your most recent tax bill, if possible.
Joining Ganan at the financial open houses will be Andy Arndt of Baird Inc., the district's financial advisor, and Kathy Gibson, District 94's business coordinator.
Depending on attendance, one or more of the officials will meet with homeowners.
"It's really an opportunity to look at individual tax bills and see what impact the referendum is likely to have if it passes," Ganan said.
If you can't make it to the open houses or if you want to get more information about plans and calculate the financial impact, you can visit the Komarek School District website at www.komarekschool.org, call 708-447-8030 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make alternative arrangements.
The Komarek website's home page includes a link to "Important Documents From Conversations About Komarek's Aging Building." Clicking on the latter link will direct you to a page where you can access proposed plans, financial information and an online calculator to assess individual property tax impacts of a successful referendum.