October 03, 2023


2022 Illinois primary election: Voters weigh in on La Salle County referendums

Somonauk, Leland consider consolidation

With all precincts counted in La Salle and DeKalb counties, Somonauk and Leland school district voters narrowly favored consolidation of both school districts with a 641-628 vote.

The tally is unofficial.

A referendum must pass in both Somonauk and Leland school districts for it to come to fruition, and a report of where the votes were tallied was not available as of Tuesday night. The Somonauk Leland Community Unit School District would start classes in August 2023 if the referendum passes both districts.

A motivating factor is remedying a teacher shortage, said Somonauk Board President Mike Short. A consolidated district would be able to offer more courses and extracurricular programs, board members said.

No school buildings would be demolished and no staff would be cut. Staff reductions would be made through attrition, meaning when teachers retire or leave for new positions, that’s when decisions would be made on whether to fill those vacancies, Short said.

The state of Illinois would provide $1.1 million for the consolidation. These funds would go toward aligning existing contracts with staff, transportation costs and other immediate costs of the consolidation.

Savings would eventually be realized through needing just one superintendent, one athletics director, one audit, being able to purchase services as one entity and adjusting staffing through attrition.

Shall the sanitary district of Serena be dissolved?

Serena voters voted 15 -1 in favor of dissolving the sanitary district in Serena. The tally is unofficial. The EPA required a sanitary district be formed, but no sewer system was installed in the township. if voters decide to dissolve the district, money within the district will be reallocated to the Serena Unit School District.

Shall the Dana Fire Protection District levy a special tax to provide an ambulance service?

The Dana Fire Protection District’s special tax to provide an ambulance service is sitting at 28 yes votes to 6 no votes with all precincts counted. The tally is unofficial. Minonk Ambulance, which services the Dana Fire Protection District, is facing financial challenges because of the increase in equipment costs and wages. The tax rate would not exceed special tax at a rate not to exceed .30% of the value of all taxable property.

Michael Urbanec

Michael Urbanec covers Ottawa and Ottawa City Council for The Times