So what’s included and not included in Phase 1?
That’s a simple question, but it warrants a somewhat complex answer.
First, almost all of Illiana’s programs can be accommodated in some way in Phase 1. Even though Phase 1 does not include an auditorium, we will have a space where we can have a school-wide chapel. Even though we will not have a full-fledged industrial shop, we will be able to continue our vocational/shop classes in an alternate space. Most athletic fields are not in Phase 1, but we believe we will be able to use fields off-campus to continue athletic programs.
Second, the parts of the full campus plan that we are not building in Phase 1 are an auxiliary gym, auditorium, art room, music room, vocational education shops, administrative offices, fan parking, and most athletic fields. What is included are sufficient classrooms to serve 550 students, a large commons area for dining, a large competition gym, a soccer field, and limited parking. Also included are spaces that will temporarily serve art, music, shop, etc. For example, the master plan includes a nice fitness facility, but that will be used to serve as an art room until the originally planned art room is built.
Third, Phase 1 is a step toward the complete final design. We hope that it is a brief step. We have already begun working toward funding for the community space that will be the auxiliary gym. Since we see this first phase as a catalyst toward the next set of donor commitments, we could see some additions to the first phase completed simultaneously with Phase 1 itself.
What does Phase 2 look like?
Phase 1 might imply a second phase that would be undertaken years later, but our hope is that Phase 1 will encourage additional financial commitments that will allow us to continue building toward the complete master plan as fast as funds will allow. It is possible that a large community space/auxiliary gym might be completed along with Phase 1 if we can raise sufficient funds in the next few months. We intend to continue pursuing the funds for the entire master campus plan and build whatever we can as fast as we can until the whole project is completed. We also intend to complete the master plan without additional long-term borrowing.
How much will tuition go up?
If we receive approval to borrow $5 million in long-term debt, we estimate that the cost will be $60/month/student. The actual cost will, of course, depend on the number of students that enroll and several other factors. The school board is very sensitive to the impact this would have on tuition, especially on families that are struggling financially. So some of this added cost could be reduced by larger donations to the school’s annual drive. The impact on some families might be mitigated by the voucher program in Indiana. We would also need to increase the amount of tuition assistance available to families.
What about transportation?
We previously committed to a “reasonable effort” to provide transportation to those most affected by the relocation of Illiana’s campus. We are doing more than that already. This year we began providing a point-to-point bus to and from Calvin Christian School. With the new location we are planning to expand that service to include point-to-point service with Lansing Christian and Highland Christian as well. And we may need to develop other ways of ensuring that our families have ready access to the new campus.
Can I cast an absentee ballot?
We are trying to make voting convenient but also must protect the integrity of the voting process so please follow these procedures if you would like to submit an absentee ballot. Voting qualifications require that participants be (1) adults not in high school, (2) members of a Reformed church, and (3) have made a donation or are current Illiana parents. If you meet all three of these qualification, you are welcome to vote. (By the way, if you are a member of one of Illiana’s many supporting churches you have probably made a donation through your church.) To submit an absentee ballot, please print out a ballot here. You can also pick one up in the school office. Complete the ballot with your identifying information and your vote. You can place the ballot in an envelope if you wish. Absentee ballots which do not identify the voter by name and church on the ballot will be considered invalid and cannot be counted. You will need to get your ballot to the school office prior to the October 10 meeting. You may also have it brought to the meeting by someone you know is attending the meeting. The school board has already decided to accept all properly submitted absentee ballots. Also, due to the large number of ballots that may come in on the evening of the meeting, the board will not be announcing the outcome of the vote at the meeting.
Is a simple majority required again?
You may recall that even though the measure was approved by a 70% majority, a simple majority is all that was required in 2014 when the new campus was first approved. The same standard is being used for this vote—a simple majority.
If this is approved, what about the terms that were part of the 2014 approval?
Although the school board is still strongly in favor of the vision that was expressed in the 2014 approval, we have found those terms to be unrealistic to reach the envisioned campus plan. That is why we are now seeking approval to borrow $5 million in long-term debt, instead of the original $3 million. We believe that the $20 million that has been committed so far provides a very strong basis to proceed with a first phase. This vote, with its simpler and clearer parameters, will supersede the previous vote giving the school board the latitude to build what we can afford when we can afford it within the scope of what we have all envisioned in the full campus plan.