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posted: 3/24/2013 5:00 AM

Endorsement: Yes to replace center for special needs students

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Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 seeks to replace the Jefferson Early Childhood Center to house its special needs preschool. In the existing 1958 building, children receive one-on-one therapies in closets or physical therapy in hallways where it distracts others. Bathroom access is difficult for those with impaired mobility, and safety is a concern. District 200 would borrow $17.6 million for construction. The loan would add about $30 to the taxes on a $300,000 house for the first 10 years, then $344 in the final year. Other loans will be repaid then and $708 would otherwise drop off the tax bill. Opponents posit two key objections. First, the district should wait until Springfield settles the uncertainty over pension reform. Second, the district should use $11.6 million from a state grant on Jefferson construction and ask voters for $6 million. Officials say the grant money will fund other improvements while maintaining reserves. Regardless of when and how pension funding is resolved, the district will need to replace Jefferson to best serve its most vulnerable students. We recommend a YES vote.

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