Hinsdale District 86 voters reject $166M referendum for building renovations

Michelle Gallardo Image
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Hinsdale District 86 voters reject referendum for building renovations
Hinsdale District 86's $166 million bond issue was rejected by voters.

HINSDALE, Ill. (WLS) -- A $166 million bond referendum to pay for renovations of Hinsdale High School District 86 schools was rejected by voters on Tuesday.

The vote failed with a 17,461 to 14,731 vote.

The district, which includes portions of Cook and DuPage counties, was hoping to make upgrades at both Hinsdale South and Hinsdale Central, which school officials said are old buildings that need updates.

If approved, district residents would have paid an average $300 more a year on a $500,000 home.

"I voted no because I thought the expense was too high, and having four boys in another school, I just felt the price will come down later," said voter Barbara McNally.

"I want to make sure that there's not a mismatch between what we're trying to do for the facilities and what we're trying to do for our schools and the expectations of our community. Those two things need to line up so that the schools we're providing for the community are the schools that the community wants," said Superintendent Bruce Law.

The school district said infrastructure improvements will still take place, but at a cost. Not only will they take three times longer to carry out, they will likely come at the expense of student services and more limited course offerings, school officials said.

Amanda Roudebush-Nelson, a parent and education advocate who voted in favor of the bond issue, said she is worried about the cuts that will be made.

"One of the biggest pieces for me is not meeting the ADA requirements. It's just a tragedy for the students we have right here in our community," Roudebush-Nelson said. "These cuts that are going to take place over the next six years, how much has to be cut from our budget is going to impact our programming. It's going to impact academics as well as athletics."

In a letter Wednesday to the community, Superintendent Bruce Law thanked the board of education and community members for working on the referendum.

"We continue to believe these projects are necessary to keep our schools competitive," Law said in the letter. "I have spoken with Board President Bill Carpenter and the next step is to discuss with the full board at the next meeting what to do now that District 86 voters have said no to the referendum."

The district includes students from Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills, Darien, Oak Brook, Burr Ridge and other municipalities.

A special school board meeting is scheduled soon when some decisions about cuts could be made.