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posted: 3/22/2017 1:00 AM

Endorsement: Yes to address crowding at Hawthorn Elementary District 73

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

Growing pains, already severe, appear to be a fact of life for the foreseeable future at Hawthorn Elementary District 73, based in Vernon Hills, so the district is coming to voters with a request to fund $42 million in building upgrades to accommodate the growth. The proposal is the product of a broad-based community task force, which began meeting a year ago and ultimately developed an Educational Facilities Master Plan. The plan offered two approaches for handling the continuing influx of students, and the school board made additional modifications in approving the measure that voters will face April 4. Almost no one disputes the need for a solution to District 73's space problem, and district officials estimate that if the measure fails, they could have to deploy 20 portable classrooms, increase class sizes and adjust class schedules. At more than $54 million, the solution the community and the board developed has an attention-getting price tag, to be sure. But the district was able to reduce the amount of new taxes needed by using existing building funds, and officials emphasize that they plan to roll out the tax increases incrementally as individual projects proceed to help minimize the impact -- eventually estimated at about $310 a year for a home valued at $350,000. Additionally, other previous bond issues will be paid off in a few years, further helping soften the economic blow. So, the need is real, the proposal district residents are facing is reasonable and the alternatives for students and the quality of education District 73 can provide are bad. We recommend a yes vote.

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