'We put the right plan together': Palatine District 15 bond issue with tax hike passes
Voters in Palatine Elementary School District 15 overwhelmingly supported a $93 million bond issue that will help pay for facility upgrades, the creation of an all-day kindergarten program and other proposed changes, according to unofficial results late Tuesday.
With all 72 precincts reporting, the referendum had 21,637 "yes" votes, about 63% of the total, to 12,888 "no" votes. It was not known how many early, mail and provisional votes remained uncounted.
"I'm stunned. I'm so excited," said school board President Lisa Beth Szczupaj, who credited the district's exhaustive information campaign leading up to the vote for the apparent success.
"(Superintendent Laurie Heinz) and I and all of her staff have been working so hard over the last couple of years to just make sure that the information is out there," she added.
Under the proposal, which the district calls Moving 15 Forward, the $93 million bond issue would provide half the $186 million needed to put the plan into effect. The other half would come from existing district sources.
The owner of a home with an average market value of $300,000 would pay about $146 more a year in property taxes to the district until the bonds are repaid.
In addition to building improvements and all-day kindergarten, the bond issue would help enable district plans to redraw school boundaries and replace junior highs with middle schools that educate sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders, officials said.
Heinz said all 20 schools in District 15 would benefit if voters approved the request and the creation of middle schools would improve student transitions.
"Our bids are ready to hit the streets," Heinz said. "We are ready to go, because we'll have a tight construction timeline to be ready for this plan to go live for everybody's 2024-2025 school year."
"It took the right team, the right leadership, the right board and the right plan for this community to step up and do the right thing for its kids," she added. "And they finally did it, because we put the right plan together."