Larson: What the Glenbard District 87 referendum means to students

As the old saying goes, “The only constant in life is change.” Just as the world around us is constantly evolving, so too is the school classroom experience. It’s important that our buildings support these changes.

Here in Glenbard High School District 87, we use best practices to maximize both instructional time during the school day and the spaces in which students learn.

The passage of time has had an effect on our buildings. Our four high schools vary from 51 to 101 years old, and their age is showing. As we look to make facility improvements, we are seeking voter approval of our referendum on the March 19 election ballot.

Our 10-year facility master plan is focused on making improvements at all four high schools, with prioritized lists tailored for each building’s needs. These priorities fall into the following categories: safety and security; classroom and science lab improvements; infrastructure; overcrowding; and access to student support services.

The most important factor in our facility master plan is what the work means to student learning.

The proposed facility improvements will have impacts in the following areas:

• Reflect current educational standards in regards to science, technology, art and design, music, etc. Our facility master plan is focused on both bringing our buildings up to the present, and allowing us to effectively serve the generations of students to come. We want this to be reflected in all aspects of academic life at our high schools.

• More flexible spaces that support best practices in curriculum and instruction. Versatile settings promote student agency and collaboration that support a variety of learning styles.

• Provide easier access to student resources, including college and career counseling. Our talented staff at each school supports our students in their academic pursuits and helps them develop plans for future success. Coupling counseling resources with student commons spaces removes barriers to seek guidance and support.

• Create accessible and versatile areas for student project development and presentations. Adaptable common spaces throughout the building will benefit student productivity, such as group projects that require more open space.

• Align with our “Profile of a Graduate” values: Communicates, creates, collaborates, thinks critically, embraces diversity and is self-empowered. Meaningful engagement with their peers and instructors helps our students develop agency and characteristics that will serve them throughout their lives.

• Address needs for student extracurricular activities and community group meetings. Seventy percent of our students were involved in extracurriculars (activities/athletics) during the 2022-23 school year. We want to meet their needs for available spaces, which can also be used by our community for events.

We are focused on providing the best educational experience possible for our community. These potential renovations and improvements will be pivotal to achieving that goal.

Referendum summary

On the March 19 election ballot, Glenbard District 87 will ask voters to approve a $183 million bond issue to fund its new 10-year facility master plan.

If approved, the referendum will cost the owner of a $300,000 home about $4 per week.

Over the next 10 years, the district will fund an additional $129 million of improvements from its operating budget. This amount combined with the referendum proposal comes to a total of $312 million for facility projects.

The proposed improvements would address facility needs in our four high school buildings. We must make sure our educational spaces support today’s best practices in curriculum and instruction.

Be sure to vote on March 19, or vote early via mail-in ballot or in-person early voting. For more information about the referendum, visit

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