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updated: 4/18/2017 10:16 PM

Narrow margin stands as voters OK District 41 construction plan

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  • Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 voters have narrowly approved a request to borrow $24.2 million for building projects, election officials said Tuesday. About $9.2 million will go toward replacing the Hadley Junior High portable units with a classroom addition.

      Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 voters have narrowly approved a request to borrow $24.2 million for building projects, election officials said Tuesday. About $9.2 million will go toward replacing the Hadley Junior High portable units with a classroom addition.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer, April 2016

 
 

It took two weeks to be sure, but a $24.2 million construction plan in Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 won voter approval by a 10-vote margin, election officials said Tuesday.

The DuPage County Election Commission had to wait 14 days to count any late-arriving mail-in ballots in the wake of the April 4 election. But none materialized by Tuesday, and the results are expected to stand when the commission certifies the tally Monday, interim Executive Director Joseph Sobecki said.

With all the ballots now counted, voters approved the referendum question 2,666 to 2,656. Turnout in the district was 26 percent.

"I always thought that this was going to be a close election," Superintendent Paul Gordon said. "I just think people were very engaged."

The next steps for the district are working with architects to develop detailed designs and the construction schedule, Gordon said.

"We have quite a bit of work still to do before we can put shovels into the ground," he said.

If voters had rejected the plan, the district's share of the property tax bill for the owner of a $373,200 home -- the average in Glen Ellyn -- would have decreased by $248 because of the retirement of existing debt.

The tax bill for that homeowner will now drop by about $106 with voter approval of the district's request to borrow $24.2 million.

Principal and interest payments on the loan are slated to cost the district a total of $40.87 million over 20 years. The district plans to pay off the debt in tax year 2036.

Financial advisers will meet with the school board to discuss options for selling the bonds May 15.

"The timing was important for our community, that they were willing to let one set of bonds expire and put another bond on for the next 20 years," Gordon said. "I absolutely believe that was a critical component of this passing."

The district will earmark about $9.2 million of the funding for a two-story, 10-classroom addition at Hadley Junior High to replace the school's portable units.

The new loan also will pay for the costs of shifting a bus lane off Glencoe Street and onto Hadley's property to help alleviate traffic around the neighborhood school.

The district will make infrastructure repairs and renovate bathrooms to improve accessibility for students with disabilities at its five schools. The district also will reconfigure the Churchill Elementary School front entrance to send visitors directly to the main office.

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