No new school for Butler Dist. 53 in Oak Brook
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Butler Junior High is one of two schools Butler District 53 would like to consolidate into one new building, but voters Tuesday denied two measures that would make the new school possible.
Daniel White | Staff Photographer, MARCH 2013
Oak Brook voters have rejected two measures that could have resulted in a new school for Butler Elementary District 53 on village-owned land at the Sports Core.
Voters villagewide denied a ballot question asking permission for the village to sell up to 8.5 acres of land at the Sports Core; and voters within District 53 rejected a tax increase proposal that could have helped the district take out a $15 million loan to finance the proposed new school.
The land sale failed by a vote of 2,113 to 663 in unofficial results from Tuesday's election, while the tax increase failed 1,234 to 469.
School board President Alan Hanzlik said the board will meet to review options, including using reserves to make $12.2 million in necessary life/safety repairs to District 53's two existing schools, refurbishing one or both of the schools, or waiting and asking voters again in a later election for permission to buy Sports Core land and take out a loan.
Many Oak Brook residents were hesitant to authorize the sale of Sports Core land because they wanted to preserve the area as open space for soccer fields, parking for Independence Day fireworks and other recreational purposes. The 8.5 acres the district wanted to buy makes up about 3 percent of the Sports Core's total land.
"It may only be 3 percent of the gross acreage of the Sports Core, but it's almost all of the open fields," said former Oak Brook Village President Karen Bushy.
The tax increase would have cost the owner of a $500,000 house an extra $187 a year for 20 years, according to district estimates.
It would have supported construction of a $40 million school to serve the district's 465 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The school would have been financed with funds from the new loan, $6 million in reserves, $5 million from selling the land on which Brook Forest Elementary and Butler Junior High schools now sit, and between $10 million and $14 million in a loan to be paid using existing revenue, Hanzlik said.
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