Endorsement: Yes to meet Elmhurst Community Unit District 205 facility needs
The circumstances bringing Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 to voters follow a theme common among suburban school districts seeking tax increase approvals this fall -- aging buildings, needed security upgrades, a community demand to expand to all-day kindergarten, technology needs and curriculum and facilities designs for the skills students need in the 21st century. District 205's situation starts with two buildings that are over 100 years old, require constant expensive maintenance, flood during heavy rains and need to be replaced. The district also needs to adapt its Madison Early Childhood Education Center to better accommodate young children. To address all these needs, the district is asking for $168.5 million in a proposal that will cost the owner of a $500,000 home $149 a year in property taxes. That's a very reasonable figure as far as it goes, but residents should go into the project with their eyes open; if not for this proposal, that same homeowner would be looking at an $800 tax reduction in 2024 when some other district bonds are paid off, officials say. That's a substantial consideration. But so are the needs of the district. Inasmuch as the proposal requires just a modest increase in what residents are accustomed to paying, we think District 205 has devised a reasonable plan that addresses both urgent and long-term needs. We recommend a yes vote.