Suburban News

Downers Grove voters overwhelmingly support District 58 referendum

El Sierra School

Downers Grove Grade School District 58′s plans to significantly update its facilities will move forward now that voters have approved a $179 million bond referendum.

With 100% of precincts reporting, unofficial results show 67.13% of voters in favor and 32.87% against the measure. The results will be certified by Nov. 29.

“On behalf of District 58, I want to thank the families, staff, board members and community members who participated in the five-year community engagement process leading up to this vote,” Superintendent Kevin Russell said in a statement.

“While the community has discussed District 58′s facilities for decades, the current strategic plan, which began development in fall 2017, created a clear plan toward addressing our facility needs. For those community members who did not support the referendum, please know that we hear you and appreciate your voice. District 58 will continue to expend funds in a fiscally responsible manner while respecting taxpayers. We are very grateful to our community for their continued support of our schools and for recognizing the needs across our facilities.”

As a next step, District 58 will finalize the bond issuance with the board of education and will work with a construction management at-risk firm and the district’s architects to design final plans for school building maintenance projects, secured entrances, air conditioning installation, air quality/ventilation improvements and the middle school expansion, according to a District 58 news release.

All spending from the bond measure will be publicly disclosed. In addition, the district will continue to host meetings to collect design input and provide updates on the progress of the improvements. Any updates will also be posted on District 58′s facility planning webpage at www.dg58.org/facility-planning. The community can learn more about District 58′s referendum at www.dg58.org/referendum.

The referendum asked voters to allow the district to issue $179 million in bonds to improve district facilities by actions such as replacing roofing and adding secure entrance vestibules.

Approval of the referendum will also allow the district to replace plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems; update classrooms, science labs and libraries; and improve energy efficiency and increase accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Additionally, the funds would allow the district to expand Herrick and O’Neill middle schools to accommodate sixth grade students. This transition would not only benefit sixth graders, it would reduce overcrowding in District 58 elementary schools, according to the district.

District 58′s current tax rate – the lowest among large DuPage County school districts as defined by the Illinois State Board of Education – is $1.98 per $100 equalized assessed valuation. If the referendum passes, the tax rate will increase 0.25 to $2.23 and will remain the lowest rate compared with peer districts, according to a District 58 webpage. The estimated annual tax impact of the $179 million in capital improvements is $253 for a $300,000 home, according to the district.