Voters have approved a $140 million bond referendum for school repairs and new sports facilities in Hinsdale Township High School District 86.
This is the third time the bond issue has been on the ballot for the district, which has two schools - Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South. It passed overwhelmingly Tuesday night.
"There was just so much at stake. It would have been devastating to the kids, devastating to the schools and in turn devastating to the property values of the community," said Kari Galasinao head of the 'Vote Yes' campaign.
It's been more than 50 years since the last time Hinsdale voters approved a bond referendum.
They threatened drastic cuts, including sports and other extracurricular programs if this one failed. It was a contentious issue in the community.
"Now that the referendum passed, the board can restore those things. In fact, there is a meeting tonight to start doing that," said Dr. Bruce Law, District 86 superintendent.
Hinsdale is the only one of four school districts in the area who pass a school bond referendum. Voters rejected similar proposals in Oswego, Winnetka, and Barrington.
In Oswego, they said they will be forced to make cuts including the junior high sports programs, which will now become intramural. They said they will also be forced to cut some teaching positions and reduce their special education staff.
Educators say getting voters to approve tax increases for education is tough.
The last time a tax increase was approved in Barrington was 20 years ago, and facilities are in need of major improvements.
"Any governing body, including a school district asking the voters to approve a tax increase these days is always going to be a challenge," said Dr. Brian Harris, District 220 Superintendent.
$140M school bond referendum approved for Hinsdale District 86