Voters approve tax hike preserving sports, other activities at Warren District 121
A strong sustained effort paid off Tuesday for supporters of a long-sought tax rate hike in Warren Township High School District 121 to prevent further personnel cuts and preserve athletics and other activities.
Unofficial totals with all precincts reporting showed voters approved a tax hike to raise about $13.25 million yearly with 6,992 votes in favor and 6,065 against.
The approval represents the first successful District 121 referendum in 20 years and a turnaround from April 2021 when a request for a smaller tax rate increase failed with 4,700 votes against and 3,753 in favor.
The approval means property taxes will increase 60 cents per $100 of taxable assessed value with the owner of a home valued at $250,000 paying about $500 more yearly.
Among other things, the approval will allow the district to preserve an eight-period school day needed to continue offering many Advanced Placement opportunities; ensure full participation in career and technical education classes at the Technology Campus; and, restore and protect activities, clubs and athletic programs.
Supporters, including parents, residents, and community leaders, waged a social media and door-to-door campaign, sent postcards, made appearances at various events and took other measures. About 70 businesses supported the effort.
"We've had an incredible amount of help from people," said Beth Pope, one of the founders a citizens group informally known as Yes WTHS. "We've been everywhere trying to get the word out."
District 121 includes all or parts of Beach Park, Gages Lake, Grandwood Park, Grayslake, Gurnee, Millburn, Old Mill Creek, Park City, Third Lake, Wadsworth, Waukegan and Wildwood.