By Chris Fox

For The Elmhurst Independent


The Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 Board held a special meeting on Aug. 8 at the District 205 Center, 162 S. York St. All seven board members attended the meeting, which did not include any votes.

Near the end of the meeting, board members agreed to discuss the possibility of placing a referendum question on the ballot for this year’s Nov. 6 election. That discussion and a decision will take place at this week’s regular meeting on Aug. 14. If the board wants to put a referendum question on the ballot in the November 2018 election, it would have to write the specific ballot question and adopt a resolution no later than Aug. 20. The Aug. 14 meeting is the board’s last scheduled meeting before that deadline.

According to the agenda for the Aug. 14 meeting, the board will consider placing the following referendum question onto the ballot for this November’s election:

“Shall the Board of Education of Elmhurst Community Unit School District Number 205, DuPage and Cook Counties, Illinois, build and equip two school buildings to replace the Field and Lincoln Elementary School Buildings; build and equip additions to and alter, repair and equip existing buildings, including but not limited to improving security, providing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) facilities, improving energy-efficiency and technology infrastructure and adding classrooms for full-day kindergarten; improve sites; acquire, improve and equip a building for educational purposes and acquire the site thereof and issue bonds of said School District to the amount of $168,500,000 for the purpose of paying the costs thereof?”

The board has spent about three years discussing and considering its proposed master facility plan. The most expensive option in the proposed plan would cost about $168.5million, and would include complete replacements of Lincoln Elementary School and Field Elementary School. A voter-approved referendum would be required to allow the district to borrow the money to pay for any of its proposed renovation options. According to information provided by the district, the $168.5 million option would have an additional tax impact of about $150 on the owner of a home valued at $500,000. The district would reportedly pay back the borrowed money over a period of 25 years.

The district’s consultants have advised the board to propose a referendum question during a high-turnout election. The election in the spring of 2019 is not expected to produce a high turnout. If the board, therefore, decides not to place a question on the ballot this November, it would likely wait until at least the election in the spring of 2020, or the fall of 2020, to propose a referendum.


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