April 4 Referendum proposes changes

Hinsdale District 86 presents a $76 million referendum at a board meeting held at Central.

Kimberly Fornek

Hinsdale District 86 presents a $76 million referendum at a board meeting held at Central.

On April 4, the village of Hinsdale will be holding elections for the positions of village president, village trustee, library trustee and members of the District 86 school board. This election cycle also includes a referendum on a $76 million plan to improve Central and South.

Candidates for the board of education include Kevin Camden, Keith Chval, Nancy Pollak, Robin Gonzales, and Kay Gallo.

Potential voters have placed a large emphasis on the referendum, where voters will vote on a master facility plan that has been in the works since early 2015.

In January 2015, the district sought out the community’s opinion on areas where they would like to see improvement within the district. Subsequently, in September 2015, a steering committee presented their recommendations to the Board of Education. Within the next couple of months, the Board of Education created a final budget of $79.9 million. After the board decided to not put the facilities plan on a Nov. 8 referendum, the budget was again reduced to a price tag of $76 million.

The high cost of the facilities plan has been a key point of contention of District 86 residents. Some citizens are concerned about the potential rise in taxes that this may cause.

“It would be great to improve [the schools], but at the cost of $76 million, I’m not sure if that is something I want to support,” said Ralph Derby, Burr Ridge resident. “My children are out of college at this point, and the only change I would see would be a likely raise in taxes.”

Others are more supportive of the potential upgrades at both schools, as they will directly see the benefits.

“One of the benefits that would come with this plan is an upgrade[d]  swimming pool at the school, and as a swimmer, that would definitely be something I would support,” said Billy Leader, junior. “Our pool right now is not as good a lot of other schools, and it would be great to see some improvements to our facilities.”

Another issue at the forefront of the referendum is the overcrowding in the district, especially at Central.

“I am in favor of this referendum because it would add classrooms to our school. A lot of my classrooms are really crowded, and teachers have to switch rooms throughout the day,” said Quentin Wallace, junior. “I think this referendum could really help with some of these problems.”

Additional information about the referendum can be found here