A Note from the Superintendent’s Desk: Planning for the Future

Carrie Hruby Superintendent – District 90

City growth projections show O’Fallon is expanding and the day is coming when a new school in District 90 will inevitably be needed. In their visionary leadership role, the District 90 Board discussed the fact that they can be proactive and search for available land now or scramble when the time comes and be limited to the parcels (and prices) that are available at that time.  We believe timing is important based on the amount of acres needed, the need to not have mine subsidence and the need for the parcel to be in the area of the District that has exponential residential growth with no existing elementary school.  Those needs line up to a piece of property currently available near Milburn campus.  It’s not likely we will find a match for all of those needs again in the future, as available land parcels are purchased by developers over the next several years, so we are asking District 90 voters to weigh in on this topic on April 2.  

With the help of City officials, District 90 has been closely monitoring residential growth patterns.  Residential growth projections suggest we evaluate enrollment patterns for 8-10 years from now.  Some of our existing schools have a few empty classrooms, but a few rooms are not sufficient to accommodate the growth expected over a longer term.  We look to the location of this parcel for future growth, as a longer term need. The majority of the community’s residential subdivision growth is in its northwest corner.  This is also the one area we do not have an elementary school, which increases the cost of transportation as students are farther away from their homes.  

Are we building a new school soon?  The current projections lead us to believe our community will need an elementary school in approximately 8-10 years.  At this time we are only asking voters to secure a parcel which will give us the option to build sometime in the future years.  If and when the District would plan to build a new school, we would then be required by law to again ask voters for permission to do so.  This opportunity would secure a piece of land that then provides the option to build when the need arises in the future.

We’ve shared some information on our social media pages, and a few of the frequently asked questions are:

If area districts were to consolidate in the future, would this still be necessary?  If there is a future consolidation of two or more area districts, there still isn’t enough room in the current facilities to house the projected growth.  

Rather than purchasing land, why wouldn’t the District simply add on to our existing schools?  There is a cost to adding on to older facilities, as they must be brought up to new Code requirements when under construction. While additions can provide some relief, they usually only offer a limited number of classrooms per addition. Existing schools are limited by the space available in common areas (lunchrooms, gyms, nurses’ offices).  While classrooms could be added onto a wing, it is difficult to increase the size of common spaces to accommodate a large increase in a school’s total enrollment.

How would this land purchase impact my taxes?  Many factors impact the tax rate of a home, including other taxing bodies.  Assuming all other factors remain consistent, the cost per year of this land is approximately $3 per $100,000 of the market value of a home.  The bonds would be paid over a 12 year period.  

If you have any questions about the land purchase or any other topics, please don’t hesitate to contact me at chruby@of90.net or (618)632-3666.