District 67 board moves toward November referendums
Updated: July 9, 2012 1:46PM
MORTON GROVE — The Golf Elementary School District 67 School Board plans to ask voters again in November to approve an increase in the district’s maximum tax rate and the sale of bonds to finance improvements to both district schools.
The board on June 26 approved a resolution stating its intention to place the two referendums on the Nov. 8 ballot.
The board is considering a bond sale that is about $1.7 million less than a measure voters narrowly turned down in March. That is based on a recommendation from the district’s Financial Advisory Committee, which looked at ways to reduce the cost of the building improvements at a series of meetings in June.
The board so far has not decided how much to ask voters to increase the maximum tax rate. Instead officials plan to hold some type of community meeting to discuss the referendum before making that decision.
Superintendent Jamie Reilly said the board will have to approve the actual referendum language in August in order to get it on the ballot in November. Before that time the board will need to schedule the community meeting as well as meet to discuss comments made at the meeting before setting the amount of the tax increase.
“We really need to have a community forum before that amount is determined,” Reilly said at the board’s June 26 meeting. “Things are really going to have to be clicking along.”
Board member Bob Clark, who along with board member Richard Toth served on the Financial Advisory Committee, said the group initially reduced the size of the proposed bond sale from the original $9.7 million to just more than $8 million. The group met again June 25 and lopped off another $20,000, he said.
The proposed bond sale still includes money for construction of a new gymnasium at Hynes School, where the district has had a waiver from a state requirement that students be given physical-education class every day. That waiver, though, has expired and the district needs to begin offering the class on a daily basis.
Without additional space, Reilly said, the school will need to have 50 students at a time in the single existing gym, which also serves as a lunchroom.
But the committee did eliminate parking for the gym, which would have provided 20 additional spaces at a cost of about $380,000. Other items the committee recommended cutting include reconfiguration of traffic at both Hynes and Golf Middle School at a total cost of more than $550,000, new diesel generators at each school and reconfiguration of the office areas of both schools.
In March the proposal to sell $9.782 million in bonds was defeated by just 20 votes.
A second measure asking voters to increase the maximum tax rate .342 percent to $2,401 per $100 equalized assessed valuation was defeated by 112 votes with low voter turnout of just 24 percent.
The district also learned after the election that some voters in precincts that included more than one school district were given the wrong ballot. The district has obtained affidavits from five voters who said they received the wrong ballot. Those are being sent to the Cook County Board of Elections along with a letter from the district’s attorney in an effort to prevent the same thing from happening again.
“We will look forward to working with Cook County to resolve this,” Reilly told the board.
Though the board has not made a decision on the increase in the tax rate it should seek, Reilly said that in order to generate the same amount of tax revenue as the district expected if the March referendum had passed, the district will have to ask for a larger increase in the maximum rate in November.
That, she said, is a result of a decline in the equalized assessed valuation of property in District 67.
The district needs to raise $1.14 million to operate its education fund in the black, according to information provided by the district.
The district has been using up its reserve funds in order to maintain basic educational programs while cutting other activities such as clubs and sports, or offering them with higher fees.
The district also has frozen administrators’ salaries and gained concessions from the Golf Teachers’ Association.
The last time district voters approved a referendum was in 1969.