School District Finances Key As Unit 5, Town Council Plan Joint Meeting | WGLT

School District Finances Key As Unit 5, Town Council Plan Joint Meeting

Jul 25, 2017

The Unit 5 school board and Normal Town Council plan a rare joint meeting Wednesday to share information and possibly set up a new liaison committee.

Unit 5 school board members already have a “great relationship” with their counterparts in Normal, said School Board President Jim Hayek. But with the state’s budget situation putting near constant budget strain on Unit 5, “there’s a need for even tighter coupling” on local budget matters, Hayek said.

“We certainly want it to be in their minds as they’re thinking about the future and making decisions, how the things that they decide will impact Unit 5,” Hayek told GLT.

One example of how one body’s decisions can impact the other, he said, was the recent tax breaks approved for the automaker Rivian, which moved into the former Mitsubishi plant in Normal. Unit 5 approved that tax abatement in December—helping secure the agreement that landed Rivian—even as school district officials expressed concern about the potential $390,000 in lost property tax revenue.

One of the items on Wednesday’s agenda: a presentation on Unit 5’s financial outlook.

“Maybe it’s being at the table a little earlier. I know there was a lot being done (on Rivian), and it came together pretty quickly. But at least to have in (the Normal Town Council’s) mind how these things have a ripple of impact through the community, that’s something we want to make sure is on the council’s mind,” Hayek said.

The meeting is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday in Normal Town Council chambers in Uptown Normal. Hayek says the board will host a similar meeting with Bloomington City Council in the future.

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