Hinsdale District 86 leader calls for unity after referendum divides residents

By Kevin Beese Staff Reporter

Hinsdale South High School

Hinsdale Township High School District 86 has already started reversing cuts being made in the district in the wake of voters approving $139 million in bonds for capital projects.

In December, the district had approved cuts in sports and other programs to pay for mandatory safety and security upgrades, and infrastructure improvements.

The bond sale got 60 percent of voters’ approval in the April 2 elections.

“Our community values its schools and through this vote has said it wants its facilities to be sound in their infrastructure and as safe and secure as we can make them,” said Bruce Law, superintendent of District 86. “Our community rightfully demands excellence from its high schools, and soon our facilities will be on par with the outstanding instruction going on inside them.”

The bond money will cover the projects that the cuts would have financed.

Since the referendum, the board has started to examine reinstatement of all Illinois High School Association activities and sports, including bass fishing, wrestling, swimming and diving, water polo, dance line, cheerleading and football, as well as all of the activities associated with football, cheerleading, poms and marching band.

School Board members also have proposed reinstatement of $300,000 in eliminated activities with the expenditures proportional to the student populations at Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South. Activities directors are bringing a proposal of recommended activities back to the board, with the understanding that National Honor Society would be one of the reinstated activities.

The board is also looking to hire a construction management firm this spring to oversee the capital improvement projects.

“District 86 was neutral with respect to the outcome of the referendum vote, and from that neutral position it was evident that there was passion on both sides,” said Bill Carpenter, District 86 Board president. “Whether you feel disappointed or elated by the outcome of the vote, now is the time to put our values above our differences and work together to create the schools our students and this community deserve.”

In other school-related election news:

Glen Ellyn District 41

Two incumbents on the Glen Ellyn District 41 School Board, who were instrumental in ousting the current superintendent at the end of this school year, were not returned to their seats.

Incumbents Stephanie Clark and Kurt Buchholz got 14 percent and 12 percent of the vote, respectively, while the three challengers, Julie Hill, Edward Estes and Jessica Buttimer, all got at least 24 percent of the vote for the three open seats.

Lisle District 202

Voters in Lisle School District 202 rejected a proposition that would have reduced the district’s funds by $1.2 million annually.

The permanent reduction failed with 69 percent of voters casting “no” votes.

“On behalf of the School District, we wanted to thank you for your support in ensuring our district has the resources to continue our mission of providing the children of our community with the essential education, skills and experiences to prepare them for the future,” Meg Sima, board president, and Keith Filipiak, superintendent, said in a letter to residents. “Each day we will work to honor the trust you have placed in us by supporting, encouraging and helping our students grow throughout their time in our schools.

“Thank you for your partnership in making Lisle an incredible place for our children and entire learning community!”

Voters in the district also re-elected Pam Ahlmann to the open two-year seat, and Dan Helderle, Wendy Nadeau and Lisa Kiener-Barnett for the three four-year seats on the Board of Education.

Elgin District U-46

In the eight-person battle for the four open seats on the Elgin School District U-46 Board of Education,  Susan Kerr, incumbent John Devereux, Eva Porter and Kathleen Thommes were victorious.