Endorsement: Yes on Hawthorn District 73 renovations
Voters in Hawthorn Elementary District 73 will be asked Nov. 6 to approve $48.7 million in bonds to build an 18-classroom kindergarten center and expand or renovate the six district schools. Dealing with crowded conditions is the biggest challenge facing the district, and this will be the second recent attempt at a voter-backed building plan. In April 2017, a request to borrow $42 million to expand and renovate the schools to ease crowded conditions was soundly rejected by the voters. But we think residents should reconsider. If the measure doesn't pass, some students will continue sharing a common space for lunch and gym. Mobile classrooms will be more prevalent. Schools are at or above capacity, class sizes have increased and space constraints have led to classes being held in areas not intended for instruction, according to district leaders. The district's plan, including the new kindergarten building, calls for 36 classrooms and other facilities amounting to about 110,000 square feet of new space at the district's six schools. If the referendum passes, the owner of a house valued at $350,000 would see property taxes rise $93 in 2019. If it fails, class sizes will continue to increase, academic activities may be compromised and extracurricular programs may be reduced. Kids deserve better than that. We recommend a yes vote.