Referendum Questions and Answers

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Below are a list of frequently asked questions and answers relating to Fenton High School's proposed $99 million facility referendum. We still strongly encourage residents to visit during one of our presentations or events and ask questions in real time. Please note that this list will likely be updated as the process continues. Check back often!

Q: Why is this referendum necessary?
A: Our Fenton Community High School District 100 community works together to ensure all our students become successful, passionate learners, but there’s one significant obstacle we just can’t overcome: the lack of space in our aging school building. We make do with what we have in our 1950s building, but our second-rate facilities are keeping our students from reaching their full potential.

Our infrastructure has been extended well beyond its useful life. Mechanical systems, plumbing, and electrical systems need to be addressed to keep the building safe and healthy. Our classrooms and learning areas are small and outdated. Our security system needs improvements. Flooding at building entries continues to be problematic. Fenton’s athletic, music facilities and auditorium are sub-par and old. Air flow is inconsistent with some kids sweating in one room and others freezing in another, and the smell in our science and social studies wing is notorious.

This holds our students and teachers back in academics and extracurriculars. It creates significant safety concerns for everyone in our school. It packs our students into classrooms that were too small even before the pandemic made the need for more space and cleaner air even more urgent. And some of our sports teams can’t even host home games or tournaments.

Q: When did this process begin?
A: Fenton initiated a facilities audit in 2019 to evaluate the conditions, uses, and anticipated future uses for all learning spaces.

Q: How was this plan developed and what is included?
A: Members of our community came together in a comprehensive community engagement process over the past six months. Working together and sharing our ideas and passions, we created a roadmap for the future of Fenton.

The community-driven $99 million plan to renovate, modernize, and expand Fenton High School will now appear on our ballots to approve as a referendum in the upcoming election on November 8th, 2022. If the referendum is successful, we will be able to:
  • Renovate Our School to Make it Safer for Students and Teachers
  • Improve Our Programming and Career Learning Spaces
  • Modernize Our Classrooms for 21st Century Learning
We can create an even safer and more secure environment in our school building through updated security systems, door and window monitoring, electronic door locks, and a storm shelter. We will also be able to better maintain our schools by addressing life safety and infrastructure needs such as mechanical systems, air flow, plumbing, bathrooms, sprinklers, electrical, emergency power, networking & cabling, corridors, asbestos abatement, drainage, stormwater management, and ADA compliance.

Fenton High School was named the 2019 AP District of the Year by College Board. We will improve our programming and career learning spaces so each and every student continues to have the opportunity to succeed in anything they choose. We’ll provide increased opportunities for students through optimized and dedicated spaces for STEM, applied tech, culinary, construction, health sciences, bio med, early learning, special education, and life skills programming.

And we will be able to modernize and expand our classrooms. This will give us 21st century learning spaces with modern features to effectively implement current and future curriculum, facilitate collaboration, and allow for more individual and small group instruction. Additional and larger classrooms will provide more space for student collaboration, small group instruction, curriculum growth to include more engaging student activities, and student health and movement.

Q: What was the Community’s role in developing this plan?
A: This was a true community-driven plan. Fenton hosted 11 in-person forums, two scientific phone surveys, and three online surveys throughout six months. Across all vehicles, we received more than 1,000 responses that helped mold the plan that’s now on the ballot. Click here to browse our Community Engagement webpage.

Q: When is the referendum vote?
A: Information on Mail-in ballots and in-person early voting is has not yet been released by the DuPage County Clerk's Office. The traditional in-person election day is on November 8.

Q: Where can I vote?
A: Click HERE to find your election day polling place location. However, DuPage County is deploying new technology that allows polling places to print a voter’s ballot no matter where in DuPage County they live. Residents can choose to visit a polling place near their work or on their way home as long as the polling place is located in DuPage County. Click here to read more about this new voting technology.

Q: How much would the referendum cost me if it were approved by voters?
A: Approximately $288.90 per year for a house valued at $229,000, which is the average home value in District 100 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Construction would occur in phases and debt would accrue as the construction occurs – that means tax payments would be lower at first and gradually build up. More information and an interactive tax estimator can be found on our Referendum Tax Information webpage (click here).

Q: How did Fenton come up with the price?
A: Our architects used a database of past and present school construction projects to match our concepts with other projects of similar scope and circumstances. Information from that database was combined with industry trends to generate these estimates.

Q: Is Fenton using any of its cash reserves (savings account) for these projects?
A: Yes, Fenton plans to use $10 million of its cash reserves. All schools and municipalities are strongly encouraged, and in some instances required, to keep a percentage of its annual budget in a reserve account just in case Illinois does not distribute or is delayed in distributing regular revenues. Fenton High School District 100 intends to continue following this practice, but is able to commit $10 million toward the facilities project. This $10 million would be in addition to the requested $99 million referendum ballot question.

Q: Would it be cheaper to just build a new school?
A: No. Our architects said a new school built on our current property would cost close to $200 million, and that does not include costs to demolish the existing building. Also, if a new school were built somewhere else, purchasing of land would be added on top of that $200 million estimate.

Q. Will bonds approved by referendum be used to cover salaries and benefits?
A. No. Bonds will only be used to fund needed infrastructure projects. By law, these funds must only be used for that purpose because referendum language is legally binding. We will continue to fund salaries and benefits out of our standard operating budget. Any funds approved by the community for their school will be 100% invested in improving our school infrastructure.

Q: When was the last time Fenton had a referendum?
A: The last referendum was in 1975 and it resulted in the construction of the auditorium, the neighboring two-story classroom wing, the fieldhouse, and the adjoining Career & Technical Education classrooms.

Q: When was Fenton first built?
A: The main, central portions of Fenton High School were constructed in 1955.

Q: What athletic events are not possible at Fenton?
A: Most soccer practices and all soccer games are played at a rental facility. Likewise, our baseball teams have limited options for practicing at Fenton and play all their games off campus at a field Fenton rents. Our tennis teams are unable to host tournaments on campus.

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