This election we have an opportunity to vote on a referendum that will ensure our kids continue to have access to the quality education they deserve while lowering our property taxes!
Currently, our students’ high achievement is at risk. McLean County Unit 5’s limited funding, with the lowest education fund tax rate and combined operating funds tax rate of all neighboring districts, has created a deficit that is projected to continue growing.
Until recently, our district was able to keep these financial challenges from impacting students and taxpayers by being fiscally responsible. They’ve cut over $5 million in expenses, reduced administrative costs, taken pay freezes, and held the line on supply and material costs. But they have run out of options, and this school year the district had to reduce programs, decrease staff, and increase class sizes. Without additional revenue, future school years will bring even more difficult cuts.
To put Unit 5 on more stable financial footing and continue our students’ high achievement, our community has come together to collaborate on a plan for the future for our school district.
Voting yes on the community-driven Unit 5 referendum in the November 8th election will:
Responsibly Solve Unit 5’s Financial Challenges
We must vote yes to solve our district’s financial challenges and keep them from impacting students and families.
Unit 5 has done everything possible to shield us from these challenges. They’ve been fiscally responsible, cutting over $5 million in expenses the past 7 years and spending the 2nd lowest per student among comparable districts in central Illinois. They’ve reduced administrative costs, giving our district the 2nd highest administrator-to-student ratio of comparable districts. Teachers and administrators have taken pay freezes and reduced raises. They’ve made our buildings more energy efficient. And they’ve held the line on supply and material costs.
But they’ve reached the end of their ability to shield us from feeling the negative effects. We’re now seeing staff reductions, program cuts, and increased class sizes, and this is just the beginning if we can’t get Unit 5 sustainable funding.
Avoid Having to Increase Class Sizes, Decrease Staff, or Cut Programs
Our community overwhelmingly agreed we need to shield our students from the negative effects of our district’s financial challenges. To do that, we have to vote yes on the referendum.
Unit 5 has already had to implement $3.1 million in reductions and revenue increases this school year, including reducing several programs, decreasing staff, and increasing class sizes.
Without additional revenue, future school years will bring significantly fewer staff and higher class sizes, reduced course offerings, limited co- and extra curriculars, shorter school days, and even closed school buildings. This will reduce student achievement, hurt home values in McLean County, push students to private schools, and even lead to fewer graduates returning home to start their careers.
This is not the future we want for our children. Vote yes to provide sustainable funding for our school district.
Provide Safer and Improved Learning Environments for All Students
Unit 5’s referendum won’t just solve our district’s financial challenges. It will also allow them to improve safety and learning at all our schools. That’s another reason you should vote yes!
The referendum will make our schools safer. It will improve safety and security, including providing secure vestibules at each school, giving our students and teachers a more secure learning environment.
It will also lower class sizes. This will increase individual and small group instruction time for students, provide more support for each individual’s social emotional needs, and give our district the ability to grow the curriculum to include more engaging student activities.
Finally, the referendum will increase student resources and supports. This additional support for students, including improved special education, will lead to healthier kids with stronger social and emotional skills.
Vote yes on the referendum to improve learning environments and make our schools safer for our kids!
The referendum will provide sustainable funding that will solve the district’s financial challenges, avoiding the need to have to decrease staff, increase class sizes, reduce extracurricular activities and program offerings, shorten school days, and close school buildings. It will also improve learning environments and make our schools safer for students by lowering class sizes, increasing student resources and supports, and improving safety and security.
The referendum will accomplish all that while decreasing our taxes! The referendum will increase the district’s education fund tax rate from $2.72 to $3.60. As a result, the district will no longer need working cash bonds, which will expire. Previous building bonds are also being paid off. Combined, this means taxes will not go up when the referendum passes, and starting in 2026, taxpayers will actually enjoy an overall tax rate decrease of $0.70, a 12.5% decrease. This averages out to $420 in annual savings for district residents.
Vote yes on the referendum so Unit 5 can carry on our strong tradition of excellence. It will benefit kids, giving them the opportunities and supports they need to achieve personal excellence. It will benefit teachers, empowering them to innovate and collaborate. And it will benefit taxpayers, raising home values while lowering taxes. This is the best path forward for our community.