EnVision Belvidere's Future

By: Alice Barr
By: Alice Barr

The Belvidere community group Vision 100 is back on the job. It's working to get an education referendum passed this spring. Their efforts are needed now more than ever.
Vision 100 is Belvidere's big hope to keep its marching band marching and its sports teams playing. Tuesday night they kicked off their campaign to rally the community behind an April referendum.
"We're going to get more of the community involved so that neighbors can talk to neighbors and co-workers can talk to each other and just spread the word in a more of a grassroots campaign where you're not doing anything really glitzy but you're just out there talking to everyone," says Vision 100 Co-chair Renita Roden.
In last november's elections, voters shot down a 65-cent referendum, to open Belvidere North High school and build two new elementary schools.
That left the school board with a $2.8 million shortfall and no option but to cut all after-school activities. That is unless they can get voters to flip their stance and support a 35-cent increase in April, to be used soley to operate Belvidere North.
"We need the community to support us and I think they will, I think they understand the issues, they understand the cuts that may happen if it doesn't pass, so I think they're going to be more positive this time," says Roden.
Community members are dividing into commities from marketing, to senior outreach to voter registration, to make sure everyone who can heads to the polls to support the referendum.
"The biggest thing is to reach out to everyone. I think there's a lot of people out there that are willing to help and to do their part, but they have to be asked," says Vision 100 Parent Volunteer Mike Ellingson.
The 35-cent increase would add up to about $1.88 a week for the owner of a $100,000 home.
If voters approve it, the cuts won't go through, the school board will spend from its savings until the referendum money kicks in in June 2008.
This is the third time Vision 100 has tried to rally the community to pass an education referendum. If this one fails, all sports and after-school activities will be gone starting next school year.


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