West Chicago Elementary District 33 leaders decided four years ago that including sixth-graders in the middle school program would improve their education.
Those students need more rigorous academics, exploratory classes and extracurricular activities beyond what can be offered in a self-contained elementary classroom. Meanwhile, district enrollment is growing.
The kindergarten population, around 400 when the district last built in 1994, now tops 500 students. The academic goal of moving sixth-graders to the middle school also would alleviate the strain on elementary school capacities. The district seeks to borrow $39 million to expand and renovate the middle school, as recommended by a citizens committee that included some who opposed the district's $49 million request in April 2009 for this and other projects.
The new loans would replace retired debt without increasing the tax rate. While a no vote would mean the owner of a $250,000 house would pay about $170 less in property taxes next year, a yes vote means improved conditions and opportunities for all district students that shouldn't wait. We recommend voting YES.