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posted: 3/31/2014 12:22 PM

District 87 learns lessons from community's yes vote

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  • David Larson

    David Larson

By David Larson
Glenbard High School District 87 superintendent

The results of Glenbard High School District 87's March 18th referendum vote were impressive.

After a three-year journey that included multiple study sessions, many community forums and hundreds of conversations, the school district received the community's support to move forward with critical maintenance and infrastructure upgrades for each of our four comprehensive high schools.

After any ballot initiative, win or lose, it's important to pause, reflect and evaluate the key messages and storylines that emerge from the results. Just what are the lessons we can learn about the greater Glenbard community as we inspect and analyze the passage of this referendum?

Lesson 1: When needed, individuals are willing to devote significant time to serving and advocating for our youth. Glenbard 4 Kids, a volunteer campaign committee, devoted hundreds of hours to distributing information, making phone calls, presenting to community groups and answering questions.

Lesson 2: Our citizens value a transparent and deliberate process where options are carefully studied, feedback is valued and consensus is built around the most practical plan.

Lesson 3: Community members can build support toward a funding proposal that is sensitive to the current economic climate. They recognized that maintaining the current bond and interest fund tax rate, while providing money for needed project over a 10-year period, was prudent.

Lesson 4: Residents clearly know there is a direct correlation between quality schools and a quality community. They recognize investing in the infrastructure of our schools indirectly impacts property values, the overall economic climate and the context for the community to continue to thrive.

Lesson 5: The community clearly has a strong belief and resolve that our youth are our biggest asset. Choosing to continue to invest in our buildings validates that resolve and belief.

Every community tells its own story, its narrative. For the Glenbard communities, an important part of their story is that our communities are a great place to live and raise a family because of the high-quality educational opportunities and the partnership between local schools and the community.

• David Larson is superintendent of Glenbard High School District 87. His column appears monthly in Neighbor.

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