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Election

Wheaton-Warrenville District 200 voters defeat $132.5M referendum

Measure would have funded new early learning center, other improvements

Supporters of the Wheaton-Warrenville Community Unit School District 200 referendum watch the results as they are updated on a projection screen April 4 at Warren's Ale House in Wheaton. Voters ultimately defeated the $132.5 million referendum to pay for improvements to District 200 facilities, including a new early learning center.
Supporters of the Wheaton-Warrenville Community Unit School District 200 referendum watch the results as they are updated on a projection screen April 4 at Warren's Ale House in Wheaton. Voters ultimately defeated the $132.5 million referendum to pay for improvements to District 200 facilities, including a new early learning center.

WHEATON – Voters on April 4 defeated a $132.5 million referendum to pay for improvements to Wheaton-Warrenville Community Unit School District 200 facilities, including a new early learning center.

According to unofficial results, the referendum received 8,871 "no" votes, compared to 7,427 "yes" votes. The referendum would have paid for a new $16.6 million early learning center at the Jefferson Early Childhood Center site.

Jefferson serves students with special needs as required by state and federal law. About two-thirds of Jefferson students have some type of special need or disability, and one-third of students are typically developing students who pay tuition to attend the school.

Needs at the center include a secure entry, sufficient classroom and office space, and wheelchair accessibility. Voters in 2013 rejected a $17.6 million plan for a new center to replace the current building.

Other projects in the referendum included secured entry access at all of the district's elementary schools, renovation of the library learning centers at the elementary schools and updated mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.

Renovated science classrooms and laboratory spaces at Edison, Franklin and Monroe middle schools, roof replacement at the high schools, technology lab renovations at Wheaton North High School and library learning center renovations at Wheaton Warrenville South High School also were part of the referendum.

More than half of the projects identified in the referendum were capital improvements. The bond measure would have cost the owners of a median home in the district valued at $322,300 an additional $180 per year on the bond and interest portion of their tax bill, district officials had said.

The referendum would have helped fund $154.5 million in projects. The rest of the money – $22 million – would have come from district reserves and future budgets.

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