“It appears to me that in the private sector you have to meet those numbers you sold to the public,” said audience member Jim Rippy of Mt. Vernon. “If that meant adapting or changing scopes, you'd have to do that.”
The estimated cost of the project increased in late 2011 after the referendum had passed. The Illinois Capital Development Board, which is providing funds for the project, issued new cost estimates.
The original estimates were made in 2003 when MVTHS first applied for the CDB grant.
“There was a lot of educated guessing,” Brown said. “Some of them we hit, some of them we missed.”
School officials decided to continue the project under the increased cost so as not to lose state grant funding.
The $4 million in premium bonds may not be needed, depending on how much funding is generated from selling parts of the current MVTHS campus or through private donations. A decision on issuing those bonds likely won't be made until 2014.
Last summer, many Mt. Vernon homeowners saw their tax rate jump over 10 percent, mainly due to the first bond issue for the new school project.
King said the school project will not cause any further tax increases. The district has chosen a level repayment plan for paying back the bonds, which should keep the tax rate stable.
Many other concerns were raised Wednesday, including whether the new oval design of the school has a “proven functionality.” Questions were also asked about security at the new campus, road maintenance, and other issues.
Information from Wednesday's forum will be posted on the school district's website at www.mvths.org.