Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Call For Referendum

The Heartland Community College Board's plan to double the campus size, at a cost of $60 million, is going full-speed ahead without public input. This underhanded property tax increase will pay for a project that includes extracurricular buildings and facilities. Homeowners in Heartland's district - which includes parts of McLean, Livingston, Logan, DeWitt and Ford counties - will be footing the whole bill for many years to come.

Our own Unit 5 public school system is bursting at the seams and will soon be asking for more building funds. But Heartland does not have to ask. They can ignore other community needs and blithely sell bonds for an expansion that has little to do with education.

Heartland's rush to provide superfluous amenities can be stopped by referendum.

Voters' only recourse is to mount a petition for a ``back-door referendum.''

The petition requires 12,600 signatures by about May 17. That number is 10 percent of district voters. We need your help. Call (309) 452-2690 to volunteer.

We have one month from the time when the public notice is printed to submit signed petitions to the Heartland board secretary. He will pass them on to the county clerks, who will put the referendum on the ballot for the next election.

In the meantime the projected bond sale would be moot. The board would be forced to justify their plan to the public, which they did not do.

Heartland should withdraw its $60 million plan and give the voters a proposal that reflects its mission to provide affordable education to a growing population of students.

If you agree, please join this grass-roots endeavor. Let the voters decide this most important fiscal question.

Sandra Jesse