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Spring Sports/Club Pictures

PICTURES HAVE BEEN POSTPONED 
RE-SCHEDULE DATE TBA

Spring sports photos and various clubs will be taken 
(H.S. Baseball/Softball, MS/HS Track, Bass Fishing & some clubs)

 

Office Consolidation & STEM Lab Project Information

Over the last few years, Williamsfield Schools has made a concerted effort to renovate our classrooms and facilities. Our improvement efforts have been fueled by $150,000 in state maintenance grants and our annual allotment of Knox County penny sales tax (approximately $155,000/year). Our ongoing Facility Renovation Plan has been on display for a couple of years and can be viewed here. Our most substantial improvement proposal to date is scheduled to be voted on at the next Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, March 15th. In short, the Board of Education will decide whether or not to target $707,000 for a consolidated office space (renovated using a general contractor and union workers) and a new STEM Lab/Center (renovated using mainly in-house staff). What follows is information on the financial condition of our district and details of the project proposal.

Project Rationale

  1. We are one of two area schools whose office is not by the front door. This is a security/accessibility issue the district has been wrestling with for decades. The architectural rendering of the 1982 building project shows the west entrance near the flag pole as the main/visitor entrance in the original design. At some point, as the project progressed, it was decided to make the south entrance the main/visitor entrance. Doing so allowed more green area for our elementary kids to play outside and more room for the elementary playground. As security became a more significant concern for schools across the country, the district moved the main/visitor entrance to the west, as it was originally designed. This move caused complications with parking and the blocking of the one-lane alley. I imagine there was also concern about the increased traffic next to the elementary play area. The main/visitor entrance was moved to the north. This is where the entrance is today. The security/accessibility issue remains.
  2. We are one of three area schools without modern Science Labs. Our Middle School science room lacks the natural gas and exhaust hood necessary to conduct chemical experiments. In their current lab area, 2 of the 3 sinks function. Our High School Chemistry/Physics lab is home to 6 student lab stations with water and gas. There are 4 natural gas hook-ups at each station. Of the 24 total gas hook-ups, 9 function, 15 do not. Updates need to be made to both our Middle School Science area and our High School Science area. In addition, our Agriculture courses have begun a transition to the more rigorous CASE curricular model. This model relies heavily on hands-on laboratory exercises. Our Ag students currently have very limited access to our laboratory space. Investing in a new STEM Lab/Center will create one space that all can share. Investing in this shared space approach will stretch our dollars further and positively impact more of our kids.  

Financial Status (see table below)

  1. We have the lowest tax rate in the area. In 2013 our tax rate was $4.38. Knox County has reported our rate at $4.00 this year. This is our lowest school tax rate since 2011. THE SCHOOL TAX RATE WILL NOT INCREASE TO PAY FOR THIS PROJECT.
  2. We have been asking for less money. From 2006-2012 the average levy increase was 5% per year. From 2013-2016 the average levy increase was 2.5% per year.
  3. Our last audit shows us to have $3.78 million in reserves.
  4. We have by far the least amount of debt risk in the area. If we borrow $600,000 against our penny sales tax, our debt risk will rise from 3% to 7%. The next lowest district debt risk in the area is Farmington at 20%.
  5. We receive approximately $155,000 in penny sales tax each year.
  6. We have the least amount of exposure to the state budget crisis.

Project Objectives

  1. Design & create a modern STEM lab space
    • Primary focus is traditional Science Lab
    • Secondary focus is engineering/makerspace
    • Usage flexibility is key
  2. Design & create a safe, accessible, and efficient consolidated office space

This project began with research and sketch-work led by Life Science teacher Lori Secrist in November 2014. The concept was shared at the December 2014 BOE meeting. We have been working on this for 2.5 years and providing regular updates to the Board. We held a community facility tour on February 13, 2016 and received feedback as we shared details of the ongoing plan. We have been aligning curriculum to the Next-Generation Science Standards for more than 3.5 years. Ag teacher Kent Rigg is one of the few teachers in the area certified to implement the CASE curriculum. 

We are ready to take things to the next level. We lack the tools. We lack the space. Repurposing 2700 square feet of  old locker room space, near our main entrance, will free up the space we need for a modern STEM Lab near our Science classrooms.   

Project Cost:

$863,299 total cost projection ($156,399 already paid, 18% of the project is complete)

Recommended Payment Structure:

$592,765 alternate revenue bonds (see anticipated bond schedule below)

$100,000 previously donated Norman Foundation funds

$14,135 existing penny sales tax

Utilizing this project payment structure protects our local property tax rate. THE SCHOOL TAX RATE WILL NOT INCREASE TO PAY FOR THIS PROJECT. I wish the Board and I could promise the tax rate would never increase, unfortunately no Illinois school official can make that claim. What we can do is point to our responsible track record. Our track record shows our current tax rate at it's lowest level since 2011, a tax rate that is by far the lowest around. Our track record shows annual levy increases down to 2.5% on average each year. The previous annual average increase was 5% each year. We will continue to be very cognizant of the contributions we request from local property owners while working to ensure our students and community have a school system and facility that makes us all proud.

Annual State of Affairs (Area Comparison)

 

school tax rate

total long term debt

% long term debt obligated

% revenue from state

modern Science labs

office by front door

Brimfield

$4.78

$10,629,518

71%

20%

YES

YES

Elmwood

$5.36

$3,095,000

28%

26%

YES

YES

Farmington

$5.20

$4,017,777

20%

31%

YES

YES

Knoxville

$4.56

$15,542,225

115%

45%

YES

YES

Princeville

$5.72

$11,540,000

95%

27%

YES

YES

ROWVA

$5.00

$8,106,968

74%

26%

NO

YES

Stark County

N/A

$2,917,613

21%

21%

NO

NO

Williamsfield

$4.30

$310,000

3%

7%

NO

NO

Anticipated Alternate Revenue Bond Schedule

Fiscal Year

Annual Revenue

Bond Payment

Capital Improvement Funds Remaining

FY13

$154,349

-

-

FY14

$154,098

-

-

FY15

$169,014

-

-

FY16

$156,009

$148,268

$7,741

FY17

$155,000

$135,139

$19,861

FY18

$155,000

$135,139

$19,861

FY19

$155,000

$132,263

$22,737

FY20

$155,000

$133,113

$21,887

FY21

$155,000

$134,000

$21,000

FY22

$155,000

$134,713

$20,287

FY23

$155,000

$130,338

$24,662

FY24

$155,000

$91,575

$63,425

Funds remaining available --->

$213,720

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the project in greater detail, please feel free to schedule an appointment or give me a call at 309.639.2219.

Sincerely, 

Tim Farquer, Superintendent/Curriculum Director
Williamsfield Schools

Click the PIC to read the March Newsletter!

STEM Survey

Click the pic below to complete the water usage survey conducted by our STEM Team. We thank you in advance for taking time out of your day to complete.

Contact Us

325 Kentucky Avenue
Williamsfield, IL, 61489
School Office: (309)-639-2216
District Office: (309)-639-2219