It's official: District 25 ballot measure approved by 50 votes

The Cook County clerk's office Tuesday certified the narrow passage of Arlington Heights Elementary District 25's $75 million referendum, allowing the district to create a full-day kindergarten program and make building upgrades.

Having completed its canvass three weeks after Election Day, the clerk certified the vote totals of 5,227 "yes" votes and 5,177 "no" votes.

"There being more Yes votes than No votes, the referendum succeeds," Clerk Karen Yarbrough wrote in the official certificate of results posted on her website at the close of business Tuesday.

The 50-vote lead has held for nearly three weeks, as the clerk continued counting early votes and mail-in ballots that were postmarked by June 28. Yarbrough's office provided at least seven updates of tabulations since polls closed.

After the certification, school board President Anisha Jogee released a statement thanking the community for their civic engagement. Through the referendum, she said, the board's intention was to seek input and guidance as they considered ways to provide full-day kindergarten and upkeep school buildings.

"We appreciate and understand that our community has diverse perspectives," Jogee said. "We will continue to be here to listen and consider all input as we ensure that our school buildings are maintained, in addition to beginning the process of providing full-day kindergarten to those families who choose to take advantage of it. Ultimately, this referendum and every decision we make as a board is for the sake of our students."

Superintendent Lori Bein on Tuesday confirmed the official certification of results. She said she plans to send a letter to the community about the referendum and next steps later this week.

The voter approval allows District 25 to issue up to $75 million in bonds to build 25 new full-day kindergarten classrooms across six of the district's seven elementary schools and fund five years' worth of infrastructure projects. The classroom additions are estimated to cost $32.2 million to $42.6 million, while the capital plan would cost $32.9 million, officials said.

The tax increase will cost the owner of a home valued at $400,000 an extra $300 in property taxes a year, or $25 a month.

The expanded kindergarten programming is targeted for the start of the 2024-2025 school year.

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