Third time’s the charm? District 23 will consider another referendum, spending cuts

After falling short on two tax-hike referendums within the last 12 months, Prospect Heights Elementary District 23 is weighing its options to pay for state-mandated full-day kindergarten and building upgrades.

Superintendent Don Angelaccio said the school board is expected to meet in May to discuss its options, which could include spending cuts or going back to referendum in November.

“Whether it’s a referendum attempt or some other course of action, we have to provide full-day (kindergarten),” Angelaccio said Wednesday. “We’re either going to have to revise our plan and our ask and go back out, or we're going to have to identify cuts and implement those to be able to transition to full-day (kindergarten). It's not an issue that's going away.”

Voters this week rejected the district’s request for a tax-rate increase, with 1,675 against the measure and 1,402 supporting it. The district calculated that the increase would add $145 to the property tax bill for every $100,000 of a home’s fair market value.

If approved, the additional money would have paid for security equipment, new windows, siding and doors at four schools, and an expansion and renovation of Eisenhower Elementary School to provide full-day kindergarten.

Voters rejected a similar proposal in April 2023.

The district is required by state law to make full-day kindergarten available for all students by the 2027-28 academic year. It currently has one full-day Spanish bilingual kindergarten section and one full-day kindergarten section for at-risk students.

“The need is there,” Angelaccio said. “We want to keep that need in the forefront of the community's mind. We're going to have to address it.”

Prospect Heights Elementary District 23 Superintendent Don Angelaccio said the district will take a look at another referendum.

Meanwhile, the district is addressing security and building maintenance because those are critical items that can’t be delayed, he added.

“We’re spending out of our current available bonding capacity to address facility enhancements this summer,” Angelaccio said.

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