On May 18th, a ground breaking was held for the construction and renovation project at West Leyden, with additional construction and renovation projects planned for East Leyden.
East Leyden : http://leyden212.org/Page/3979
West Leyden: http://leyden212.org/Page/3996
The press release termed this ground breaking as “the beginning of a historic construction project”, with a earth shaking price tag.
The “historic construction project” will cost anywhere between $85,000,000 and $125,000,000 depending on which newspaper article that you read,
At East Leyden, plans call for new classrooms, practice rooms for band and choir, a new cafeteria/commons, an enclosed inner courtyard, a preschool and day care facility, new wrestling room, new labs, new girl’s locker room, and a new aquatic center.
At West Leyden, an addition is to be built inside a portion of the inner courtyard. The first floor will be a cafeteria/commons addition and a kitchen renovation. The second floor addition will include a new library and media center. There will also be renovated classrooms and office spaces, among other projects.
This “historic construction project” with a mega price tag was undertaken without consulting the Leyden Township taxpayers. In a reasonable and normal process for a project in excess of $100,000,000 the taxpayers would be consulted by an elected body in the form of a referendum that would authorize the sale of bonds and undertaking of the debt after a public debate and vote by the taxpayers.
But instead the Board of Education foreclosed any opportunity for the voters to have a say in this massive undertaking by utilizing some obscure laws which not only bypass the taxpayers but thwart their objection to such a massive amount of borrowing.
Financially, the District is facing an increasing percent of students classified as low income’which further focuses on the plight of the financial struggles of the families who reside in Leyden Township. These families are being forced to confront this additional tax burden.
In 2014/2015, over 53% of the District’s students qualified for free or reduced lunch. The District is seeing an increased percent of students classified as “low income”, while the District continues to increase the tax burden on their parents.
At the same time increasing taxes have chased business and industry from Leyden Township
This blog will discuss in future postings the maneuvering that occurred to obligate the taxpayers to such a massive amount of debt without their approval.