Another referendum on horizon in District 73

  • Hawthorn Elementary District 73 Superintendent Nick Brown explains options for a 10-year facilities plan during a special meeting in December 2016.

    Hawthorn Elementary District 73 Superintendent Nick Brown explains options for a 10-year facilities plan during a special meeting in December 2016. Courtesy Hawthorn District 73

  • Sonali Patil

    Sonali Patil

 
 
Updated 3/21/2018 7:19 PM

As winners and losers in Tuesday's primary election celebrated victories or licked their wounds, officials in Hawthorn Elementary District 73 continued looking toward Nov. 6.

That's when voters in the Vernon Hills-based district likely again will be asked to support paying more in taxes to solve needs at schools being squeezed by increasing enrollment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

What that will entail -- and how much it would cost -- are questions being fine-tuned as the district embarks on a series of "community engagement meetings" to find out.

The meetings will include presentations by the school board and allow for feedback and advice from attendees. The first two sessions -- April 5 at Elementary North, 301 Hawthorn Parkway, and April 17 at Elementary South, 430 N. Aspen Drive, in Vernon Hills -- will focus on prioritizing solutions. The meetings are at 7 p.m.

On April 30, the school board will hold a working meeting to discuss the possibilities. Possible solutions will be discussed in sessions to follow in May.

District 73 has been regrouping since April 2017 when voters soundly rejected a request to borrow $42 million to expand and renovate its six schools.

A new $12.1 million kindergarten center to be funded with district reserves will buy some breathing room but District 73 remains at capacity and continues to grow, officials say.

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"What do we need to do? How much space do we need?" Superintendent Nick Brown said. "We're still looking at the same problems."

The upcoming sessions follow a community meeting last month to get a sense of where the public stands on the need for another referendum attempt.

"We didn't get anything major that needed to be vetted out," board President Sonali Patil said. And unless strong opposition surfaces, the district intends to try again in November.

"If they tell us to go for it, we'll go for it," Patil said.

Meetings also will be held May 10, 21 and 30 at various locations.

Spanish translators will be present. Childcare will be provided April 5, May 21 and May 30, but those who need it should email petersonw@hawthorn73.org a week in advance.

Visit hawthorn73.org for meeting details or information on the master plan for district facilities.

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