In Kane and DuPage counties, ballot questions involve new schools, libraries and police station
From plans to build new schools and libraries to a park district's proposal to construct a community center, voters in DuPage and Kane counties will weigh in on various referendum questions in the April election.
Here's a look at some of them on the ballot:
Elgin Area School District U-46
One of the larger funding requests comes from the state's second-largest school district, where officials want to borrow $179 million to help cover a building program expected to cost more than $300 million.
The bulk of the building program will focus on replacing five aging elementary schools, including Lowrie and McKinley, both of which were built in Elgin in the 1800s.
Three other schools -- Century Oaks in Elgin, Parkwood in Hanover Park and Glenbrook in Streamwood -- also would be rebuilt. Those three were built in the 1970s, but the pod-style layout of the classrooms is no longer efficient, officials have said.
"Many of us have toured the older buildings, and they're not conducive to a 21st-century education," school board member John Devereux said. "It's really essential to get that work done."
Though the district is asking for $179 million for the building program, officials stress approval would not result in a property tax increase. The district plans to replace retiring bond debt with new debt. However, taxes would go down if voters rejected the measure.
U-46 will use reserves to pay for the remainder of the building program.
This is an architectural rendering of a proposed new Roselle Public Library. The library campus would spearhead Main Street revitalization and provide greater community access, more green space and increased parking, proponents say.
- Courtesy of Product Architecture + Design
Roselle Public Library
Over the past five years, community surveys have shown residents in the Roselle Public Library District have expressed support for expanded library services.
Now a binding question will ask voters to approve the money needed to build a new library to house those services. Library officials are asking to borrow $22 million to replace the 41-year-old, 27,000-square-foot library with a new, 32,500-square-foot library.
The owner of a $250,000 home would pay approximately $166 more in annual property taxes to fund the new library.
"The community wants a space that offers more than access to the latest in literature and music. Residents want a place to gather and socialize, a place for their children to learn and interact with the world around them, a place to create and build things, and a place to sit among nature and take joy in this wonderful community," library board President Katie Smith said. "The revenue from the bond request will provide all that -- and more -- for our neighbors."
After a nine-year hiatus, the Sugar Grove Library District is asking voters to approve more money for operations.
But, it says, the property tax rate, now 27.1 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation, would not go up. That's because, in 2024, the library will pay off a 2004 loan to construct a new building. When that happens, the property tax levied for debt (14.7 cents) will drop off property tax bills. The district is asking residents to tack that on to the operations tax rate, currently 12.4 cents, to raise the operations rate limit to 27.1 cents.
If voters reject the request, the owners of a $292,000 home would see their bill drop by more than half, about $136.
They also would see fewer books, services, programs and hours at the library, officials say on a website about the referendum.
This is the 14th time the district has asked for an operations tax-rate limit increase since 1981. All requests were rejected.
Since the building opened in 2008, the library has reduced the hours it is open to 46 hours a week to save money. It is closed entirely on Fridays and Sundays. That's 22 fewer hours than in neighboring Town and Country Library in Elburn, Messenger Public Library in North Aurora, and the Oswego Library District, all of which are open every day of the week from fall through spring.
Batavia clerk, treasurer
Residents of Batavia will decide whether to abolish elections for the city clerk and city treasurer positions.
If the measure passes, an employee would be appointed as the clerk, and the treasurer's duties would be given to the city's finance director. The last time Batavia elected a treasurer was in 2017. Nobody ran in 2021, so the mayor appointed the utility billing supervisor to be treasurer.
The Batavia Unit District 101 is asking voters, again, to let it borrow $140 million for school construction.
Just as it did last November, the district says the money would be used to raze and rebuild the 45-year-old H.C. Storm and Louise White elementary schools, plus to do repairs and renovations at other schools, including two elementary schools built in the 1950s. November's vote was close, with 7,036 people voting "yes" and 7,060 voting "no."
School district officials say they can structure the debt to replace bonds being paid off in 2025, but there is no guarantee the district wouldn't borrow the money earlier if approved.
Currently, a house with a fair market value of $350,000, assuming it has a homestead exemption, pays about $736 a year for the district's debt.
Kaneland Unit ol District 302 would like to borrow $57.5 million for construction, repairs and renovation at Kaneland High School in Maple Park.
The proposed projects include building a new sports stadium with an artificial turf field and an expanded track, plus replacing roofs, boilers, air handlers, air ducts, water heaters, air conditioning, chillers, plumbing fixtures and maintenance facilities.
If approved, the owner of a $280,000 house with a homestead exemption would pay about $244 more in taxes in 2024, the first year of debt repayment.
Central District 301
Central Unit District 301 officials propose to build a new high school that could accommodate at least 2,400 students on Rohrsen Road. To do that, it wants to borrow $195 million.
The district says its schools are at 90% capacity or more and expects enrollment to grow as new subdivisions are built.
According to the district, Central High School in Burlington has a capacity of 1,400 students, and 1,349 are enrolled.
In 2008, the district had 3,154 students, not including early childhood education students. In 2022, it had 4,581.
The owner of a $335,000 home would pay about $135 more in property taxes starting in 2024. The existing high school would be turned into a middle school.
Elburn voters are being asked for $9.9 million to build a new police station. Village hall is currently also home to the Elburn Police Department.
- Sandy Bressneremail@example.com
Elburn police station
Elburn residents will decide whether to borrow $9.9 million to build a police station on land the village owns along Anderson Road. Currently, the police department is village hall on North Street.
The village says the 1,875-square-foot station is not big enough to accommodate the 10 full-time officers, 10 part-time officers, two records clerks and two part-time community service officers -- and that it expects to add personnel as the population grows with the addition of new houses.
It does not have a licensed holding facility, a secure armory for storing weapons or adequate safe space for storing evidence.
Hampshire Twp. Park District
The Hampshire Township Park District proposes increasing its property tax rate so it can buy land and build, equip and run a community center.
The referendum calls for increasing the limiting tax rate by 41 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation. It says the center would cost about $31 million.
The district says the owner of a $300,000 home would pay about $385 more the first year of the rate increase.
The center would have an indoor artificial turf field, an indoor track, a gymnasium, a fitness center and multipurpose rooms, in about 76,000 square feet. There would be a playground and festival space outside.