ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- On the ballot this fall is District 205's bond referendum and today another local group is putting their support behind it. Outside the more than 50-year-old Bloom Elementary School, the Rockford area realtors today announced a $25,000 donation to the better schools brighter futures campaign. The campaign pushes for the $139 million RPS 205 bond referendum that would renovate older Rockford Public Schools similar to Bloom.
"If Rockford 205 becomes a destination school, it will boom our real estate market. We will see growth. We will see values, property values increase, and that's one of the things realtors are really concerned about,” said Rockford Area Realtors CEO, Steve Bois.
Realtors say one of the first things prospective residents ask about is the school system.
"We believe that school systems are critically important to the values of property in all neighborhoods. There are statistics out there that we know that if you improve a school, so do the neighborhoods improve," Bois added.
The referendum will be on the November ballot. It would allow the school district to finance a 10-year project to improve and repair its schools.
"I've been in classrooms where there's duct tape on the carpeting. I've been in classrooms where there's mold in the room. So I've been there myself and I know the teachers have said it too. That they want to have a classroom that is available to everybody to move into the 21st century. With technology. It is so important to be able to bring that to our students,” said Dawn Granath, Rockford Education Association President
If the referendum passes in November, construction can begin as early as next summer.
Though the referendum would authorize the district to issue $139 million in general obligation bonds, they say this will have no effect on people's tax rate because it would replace bonds that are already being paid off.
If the referendum passes, the district will spend the winter analyzing and prioritizing renovation projects. The district has already come up with a lengthy wish list.