Rockford Public Schools Launch Campaign to Promote Referendum

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They are an award winning volunteer, a former business executive, a dentist, and the director of the local Hispanic resource center. Now they are the steering committee in charge of making sure your children continue receiving a quality education.

The referendum, which was originally passed in 2001 and renewed a year later, has allowed the public school system to reduce its debt over the past few years. Committee members say over that time the school district has put that money to good use.

"The district has been good stewards of our money. There's been a $71 million positive cash flow over the past two years, the fact that we've reduced the borrowing to $37 million less than before," says Steering Committee Member Ted Biondo

"We have been seeing some improvement in our standing on the state financial watch list and a big part of that is being able to address our deficit," says School Board President Nancy Kalchbrenner

The committee will work with a community coalition to help provide voters with more information about the measure. Schools Supt. Dr. Dennis Thompson says failure to pass the referendum would be devastating for the school system.

If passed, the referendum will provide Rockford public schools with more than $70 million over the next five years. We'll be able to vote on it in November.

The Steering Committee consists of:

  • Terry Ingrassia, a former Rockford College trustee who has overseen two successful Rockford school referendums.
  • Ted Biondo, a former Rockford School Board member and a retired Hamilton-Sundstrand executive.
  • Dr. Cyrus Oates, a Rockford dentist who has children in the Rockford Public School system.
  • Patricia Gomez, a former Rockford Public Library trustee and the current executive director of the local chapter of La Voz Latina.