Vision 100 Kicks Off Yet Again, Gets Answers From Belvidere Residents

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Student population in Belvidere schools is exploding. The hallways are overflowing with students in every building, but the growth is a catch-22. Yes, tax revenues are generated, but the new challenges are to figure out how to keep classes at a reasonable size, as well as pay for new buildings.

And that's where the grassroots program vision 100 comes in. Approving a new Belvidere high school was the first step. But now, there are several more steps to tackle in the near future, issues again laid out at Vision 100.

A couple hundred people, from teachers to parents to administrators, came out for the second Vision 100 kickoff. The first one back in fall of 2004 focused on what kind of high school to build. Last spring, those wishes came true, when Belvidere voters approved a new building, but narrowly rejected its annual maintenance costs.

That failed question will again be on the November ballot, but these residents must decide just how that question will look. They'll also look at adding new curriculum, and what facilities might be needed during the next decade.

"I think we've proven through the process that the community really does have a say in this. It is important that this comes from the bottom up, and everybody can embrace the decisions that are made," Vision 100 Co-Chair Kim Larson said.

"You are always going to wonder about the quality of education, it is the future. Those kids that are going to be around 20, 30, 40 years from now," Parent Bob Hauser said.

The second Vision 100 will run every other week until May. Then, the community's findings will be presented to the school board.