What's next for Champaign schools after voters reject back-to-back referendum

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CHAMPAIGN--A major school building project in Champaign gets an overwhelming "no" vote.

On Tuesday, voters rejected a revised referendum that called for $144 million in bonds that would pay for a new Central High School on Interstate Drive.This came after they voted against the original $149 million ballot question in November.

Last year's referendum only failed by five percent. This time around, the measure was defeated with 70 percent voting "no."

"The location was the driving part of the conversation," said Champaign school board president, Laurie Bonnett.

Now, Unit 4 district officials and the Champaign school board--which has five new members--must figure out what comes next.

"The school district does own that property," said Bonnett. "And the question becomes what to do with that property. And how do we move forward."

While those who worked against the ballot issue continue to call for a high school close to the city's core.

"The current Central location can be an option," said Tod Satterthwaite. "Spalding Park could be an option."

Bonnett says those options are off-limits because they're land-locked and don't have enough space. Ultimately it will be up to board members to decide where to proceed, and when.

"There's been talk of 2016, there's been talk of 2020," said Bonnett. "That's really going to have to be a board decision."

A decision that will then be presented to voters again for the final say.
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