The Northwest suburban requests, races worth watching Tuesday
When Northwest suburban voters head to the polls Tuesday, they will have important decisions to make beyond who will occupy the White House and serve in the U.S. Senate. They'll also make decisions that could pave the way for new school buildings in Palatine and Mount Prospect and add new faces in the state legislature.
Here are some key down-ballot contests:
Palatine Elementary District 15
Voters in Palatine Elementary District 15 will be asked whether the district should borrow $130 million to build two new schools: an elementary school at Osage Park -- land now owned by the Palatine Park District -- and a middle school on district-owned property on Ela Road in Inverness.
Gray Sanborn Elementary School in Palatine would close, and school boundaries would change, as part of the proposal.
If the measure passes, the owner of a $227,500 home can expect to pay an extra $122 a year in property taxes to the district.
Residents opposing the request have created a group called For Our Dist. 15 Kids, which is urging people to vote "no." On its website, 4rd15kids.org, the group argues that the district's plan has major flaws and would be fiscally irresponsible.
River Trails District 26
Voters in Mount Prospect-based River Trails District 26 voters will decide whether the district can borrow $29 million for a new Early Learning Center. The proposal calls for the Early Learning Center to be built on the site of Park View Montessori, which also houses district administrative offices.
The new school would house all preschool and kindergarten classes, creating additional space at the district's two elementary schools for the projected increase in enrollment.
Opponents have characterized the plan as premature and too expensive.
56th House District
Democrat Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg is seeking her fourth term as representing the 56th state House District, which includes Schaumburg and parts of Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Bartlett, Hanover Park, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Roselle. She's challenged by Republican Jillian Bernas of Schaumburg, who was elected to the Schaumburg Township District Library's board in the spring of 2015.
While Mussman describes herself as a responsible, independent representative of a conservative district, Bernas argues that a truly independent voice can come only from outside the party of longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan.
44th House District
Republican Katy Dolan Baumer of Streamwood, the clerk of Hanover Township, is challenging Democrat Fred Crespo of Hoffman Estates in his bid for a sixth term representing the 44th state House District.
Crespo says he's been anything but a Madigan puppet during his decade in office, citing the support of Republican elected officials including the mayors of Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg and Hanover Park. Baumer said that while many constituents speak favorably of Crespo personally, they recognize a need to shake up the status quo in the legislature.
The 44th District includes parts of Bartlett, Elgin, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg and Streamwood.
28th Senate District
Democratic incumbent Sen. Laura Murphy is being challenged by Republican Mel Thillens for a 4-year term representing the 28th state Senate District, which includes large portions of Des Plaines, Elk Grove Village, Park Ridge and Schaumburg.
Murphy, a former Des Plaines alderman, was appointed to the post last October after Dan Kotowski stepped down to take a job with a nonprofit agency.
Thillens, a Park Ridge park board commissioner, is making his second run for state office after narrowly losing a race to state Rep. Marty Moylan two years ago.
• Daily Herald staff writers Eric Peterson and Christopher Placek contributed to this report.