The District 113 School Board voted unanimously last month to put an $89 million referendum on the April ballot to pay for five years' worth of projects for Highland Park and Deerfield high schools.
Though the vote is months away, already Patch readers and bloggers are discussing their opinions at length. We've compiled a sampling of the comments from both sides of the debate. There are many more voices in the conversation, so click through on the individual stories to get the full scope of the debate.
If you have your own thoughts to share, do so in the comments section. Or, better yet, sign up to be a Local Voices blogger to get your message out to our readers.
Blogger Dan Jenks is supporting the referendum. "As a citizen in District 113, it is my responsibility to make sure that all of our high school students have an environment in which they can succeed," he writes.
Commenter MM agrees, writing: "At some point, a prior generation chose to spend money to build schools for their children. And now, it is our turn to spend money for our children and for generations to come. Thank you for outlining the issue honestly and openly."
Commenter RB isn't as sure, saying: "I just wish there was some prioritization with other taxing bodies. One may be flush and spending our tax dollars unwisely while another (school district 113) needs a tax increase. I propose that the Park District, as an example, should give something up to help lowere our overall tax burden. Deerfield building the underpass cost us $3 million in local and federal tax dollars. Wouldn't it be nice to have some of that go toward our schools instead of as large of a tax increase? Woodland Park was remade. How about prioritization and a decision to fund classrooms before swing sets?"
District 113 itself has jumped into the conversation, posting this blog post about why board members are seeking the $89 million.
Reader Ken Robertson supports the district's plan, writing, "The BOE unanimously approved a plan developed by over 100 of our neighbors, working over a thousand hours, for an 18-month period. The costs were developed with professional architects and construction managers. Every inch of the schools were reviewed to assess their needs, and develop options to fix long-term issues. Rather than "kick the can" and band-aid the problems, leading to ever-higher fix-it costs over the next decades, this plan addresses our needs now with a long-term view. It is the "realistic" number."
Walter White feels very differently. He writes, after watching the district's video that is linked of the blog post, "Oh brother, I was more for it before I saw the video. Don't tell me what I OWE the district, Harvey. This is a serious decision and many things must be weighed by every taxpayer before voting. Not everyone is going to agree with you. You could have increased the chances of this passing by coming up with a more realistic number. If it doesn't pass you have only yourselves to blame."