The Joliet Public Schools District 86 board is considering placing a bond referendum on the April 4, 2023 ballot.
District 86 “anticipates borrowing $99.5 million through a bond issue” according to a brochure recently mailed to all registered voters in District 86 boundaries.
To that end, District 86 is hosting informational meetings and tours Monday and Tuesday to get the community’s thoughts.
The meetings will be at 6 p.m. Monday at Gompers Junior High School, 1501 Copperfield Ave. in Joliet, and 6 p.m. Tuesday at Hufford Junior High School, 1125 N. Larkin Ave. in Joliet.
Funds from an approved referendum would be used to replace both Gompers and Hufford junior high schools on the same sites, according to District 86 officials.
The brochure said outside facility engineers determined replacing the two buildings is more cost-effective than “to sink more money into restoring them.”
“Why they’re looking at this is because they did a referendum back in 2001,” Sandy Zalewski, spokesperson for District 86 said. “And that debt is going to be expiring soon.”
The funds also would be used to add four classrooms and a multipurpose room at Jefferson Elementary School and for repairs to the other schools.
Zalewski said this is all proposed information.
“Nothing has been decided yet,” Zalewski said. “That’s why we’re having the meetings. They [offer] opportunities to ask questions.”
Zalewski said the board has discussed the district’s facilities for the past six to nine months. The average age of the buildings is 67 years and three are 100: A.O. Marshall Elementary, Farragut Elementary and Washington Junior High.
“Just to keep some of our buildings up and running – it’s costly and expensive because of the age of the buildings,” Zalewski said.
It’s been 20 years since voters in District 86 approved funding for building improvements, “proceeds of which were used to fund Sanchez and Thigpen Elementary Schools,” the brochure said.
“Prior to that, the district had not built a new school in more than 30 years,” the brochure said.
Zalewski said a survey will also be mailed to registered voters in District 86′s boundaries.
District 86′s board will decide in January 2023 on whether or not to place a bond referendum on the April 4, 2023, ballot.