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District 87 officials, local parent group seek support for $35 million referendum

Published: Monday, March 10, 2014 2:20 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:32 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Bill Ackerman - backerman@shawmedia.com)
Robert E. Lewis III (left) of PMA Securities reviews how proposed bonds would be issued over time and answers questions at a District 87 Board of Education meeting Nov. 18, 2013. Residents will vote on a referendum question to determine the issuance of $35 million in bonds at the primary election March 18.

GLEN ELLYN – Voters headed to the polls this month in Glenbard Township High School District 87 will be asked to support the issuance of $35 million in bonds to fund facility projects at the district’s four schools.

If approved, the $35 million would extend the district’s bond debt– currently due to expire in Fiscal Year 2026– through Fiscal Year 2039, according to a report prepared by PMA Securities, the district’s financial adviser.

Residents’ tax rates would not increase as a result of the bond issuance, said District 87 Superintendent David Larson.

“What we are asking is to add additional bonds on without any increase to the property tax [rate],” Larson said. “It’s really about investing in our number one asset, which is our students.”

The referendum question will appear on the March 18 election ballot.

Glenbard 4 Kids, a parent-led ballot initiative group formed in December 2013, has been busy rallying referendum support in the communities that make up the four high schools.

“It is needed for infrastructure repairs we believe have to be made to the four Glenbard schools,” Glenbard 4 Kids spokesman Steve Garwood said.

“From a safety, security and educational standpoint, this is for the benefit of the kids,” Garwood said. “Some of the repairs needed would replace mechanical structures that are [about] 50-years-old.”

The $35 million is expected to be used to fund $8 million of projects in summer 2016, $18 million in summer 2017 and $9 million in summer 2018, according to the PMA report.

The district’s Board of Education voted unanimously in November 2013 to place the measure on the ballot.

Along with Glenbard 4 Kids, the League of Women Voters of Glen Ellyn has endorsed the district’s referendum.

However, Taxpayers United of America President and Founder Jim Tobin disagrees with the referendum – and any other ballot initiatives by public school districts seeking to raise taxes.

Instead, the Chicago-based taxpayer group pushes for tax cuts at the local, state and federal level, Tobin said.

“One of the best places to start cutting is to defeat all the property tax increases that are put on the ballot,” said Tobin, adding that there are five other referendums his organization is targeting on the March 18 ballot.

The group has been distributing fliers calling for District 87 taxpayers to vote “no” on the referendum.

“This is nothing more than a money grab by greedy government bureaucrats who will tax everything they can to prop up their own salaries and pensions,” the literature states.

If the referendum is successful, the bonds will support the district’s Master Facility Plan, which includes $100 million of work to be executed during the course of 10 years, a majority of which will include infrastructure improvements and renovations of classrooms, common areas and outdoor spaces.

The district will fund the remaining $65 million of its Master Facility Plan through its Operations and Maintenance budget, which is about $6.5 million per year. The board previously approved issuing bonds to borrow $20 million that will be paid off using that budget.

“It is a significant sharing between taxpayers and the District 87 board,” Garwood said.

The Master Facility Plan, reviewed and approved by the Board of Education in December 2011, was developed by Legat Architects of Chicago with input from the district and community members, who participated in several months of focus groups.

A steering committee, comprised of board members, staff, faculty, administrators, students, parents and community members, was also formed to gather feedback.

Legat Architects originally identified $179 million worth of work to be completed during the plan’s 10-year cycle. However, the district scaled the plan back to $100 million after determining that the remaining $79 million of work will be addressed in the following 10 years.

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Financial impact to taxpayers

• Board of Education is committed to not increasing Bond & Interest Fund tax rate

• Current Bond & Interest Fund tax rate will be maintained

• The referendum would extend the amount of time taxpayers would pay for capital projects

• The owner of a $300,000 market value home would continue to pay $69 per year

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D-87 referendum question

"Shall the Board of Education of Glenbard Township High School District Number 87, DuPage County, Illinois, improve the sites of and alter, repair and equip each of the School District’s four high schools – Glenbard East, Glenbard North, Glenbard South and Glenbard West and issue bonds of said School District to the amount of $35,000,000 for the purpose of paying the costs thereof?"

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Know more

For more information on the referendum, visit www.glenbard87.org of follow Glenbard 4 Kids at www.Facebook.com/g4kids or www.twitter.com/glenbard4kids.

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