, 2023-03-28 15:30:00,
District 52 voters are being asked to change the course of history in the Washington school district.
They’ll vote April 4 on a proposal to close Lincoln Grade School, built in 1949 with six additions tacked on through the years, and build a new 68,000-square-foot Lincoln on the campus of Washington Middle School, the K-8 district’s other building.
The two schools would be connected, resulting in a cost savings and more efficiency in daily operations, shared personnel and space usage, improved traffic flow, continued accessibility for walkers and bike riders, and the possible purchase of an adjacent lot, according to district officials.
The district is asking residents for $20 million of the proposed $21.3 million project in the referendum. The remainder of the cost would come from district reserves.
For the owner of a home valued at $100,000, it would mean a $15 per tax month increase. The increase would be $33 monthly for a $200,000 home and $52 monthly for a $300,000 home.
The district’s $2.97 per $100 tax rate is the lowest among K-8 districts in Tazewell County. If the referendum passes, the rate would increase to $3.63 per $100.
Construction on the new school would begin in February 2024 with the new Lincoln opening in August 2025.
“We originally talked about demolishing Lincoln and building a new school on the site. But we decided last year that building a school on the same campus at the middle school was a better plan,” said School Board President Tim Custis.
Former Washington Community High School Superintendent Jim Dunnan is a member of a committee that is campaigning for passage of the referendum.
He said having Lincoln on the middle school campus at 1100 N. Main St., would be improve transportation logistics, security, and provide a connectivity in education.
“It would be easy for the seventh- and eighth-graders to work with the younger students,” he said.
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