Grayslake 46 researching whether referendum is needed
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Grayslake Elementary District 46 board members have agreed in-depth research is needed on whether voter permission should be sought to pay for air conditioning at two schools and other potential needs.
Superintendent Ellen Correll, at a meeting Wednesday night, brought up the concept of placing a referendum before the voters. Officials said they won't pursue any measures for the March ballot.
"I thought I'd never, ever say that word out loud — referendum," Correll told District 46 school board members.
Correll said that given most schools are under pressure to raise the academic bar for students, the district may want to consider going to the taxpayers for more than installing central air conditioning at Woodview and Meadowview schools in Grayslake. She said cooling the two buildings could cost up to $1.6 million.
District 46 board members also may consider discussion on whether to seek voter permission to borrow money through a bond sale to investors for upgraded student technology and an initiative to reduce class sizes, which typically requires more teachers.
"All of these are areas we don't have the money for right now," Correll said. "And at this point — this is Ellen talking here — I think it's time to let the community become involved with the decision-making. If the community feels strongly about any of these, then I think they should be given an opportunity to make that decision."
Board members agreed more research is needed by the District 46 staff before they can consider placing a referendum on the ballot.
Longtime board member Susan Facklam told her colleagues that a volunteer committee without elected school officials would be needed to push a positive ballot outcome for District 46.
Temperatures in the 90s for most of the week of Aug. 26 led to hot classrooms becoming a concern at Woodview and Meadowview schools. Officials ordered a day off and three half-days at the two buildings without central air this school year. Correll has cited research indicating the optimum temperature to learn is 72 degrees. She said temperatures over 80 degrees are believed to have a negative impact on memory.
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