GLEN ELLYN – It appears voters have narrowly approved Glen Ellyn School District 41's $24.2 million referendum that would fund an addition to Hadley Junior High School and make improvements to the district's four elementary schools.
April 18 was the last day for the DuPage County Election Commission to count ballots – mail-in ballots received after the April 4 election and provisional votes cast in the polling place. As it stands, the April 4 referendum received 2,666 "yes" votes to 2,656 "no" votes – a difference of 10 votes.
The Election Commission is set to certify the results April 24.
District 41 Superintendent Paul Gordon said he was "cautiously optimistic" the referendum has passed.
"We're excited about the results, but we are going to wait until the process is completed," Gordon said. "We're not celebrating yet, even though we are cautiously optimistic about what will transpire here in the next week."
Gordon said he always thought the referendum vote was "going to be close."
"From our perspective, we are moving forward if this passes," he said. "We will wait for this to be certified, and we will go from there."
The referendum would fund a two-story addition to replace the 10 portable classrooms at Hadley that also would include a new music space. The referendum would pay for infrastructure and roofing improvements at Hadley, as well as a bus lane on district property designed to reduce traffic congestion in the neighborhood. Americans with Disabilities Act entrances to the school's bathrooms also would be funded through the referendum.
The work at Hadley is estimated to cost $17 million, while another $7.2 million is earmarked for work at the district's four elementary schools as part of the referendum, including ADA-accessible entrances to bathrooms, infrastructure and roof repair, a secure entrance at Churchill Elementary School and increased lunch capacity at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School.
Principal and interest payments for the $24.2 million referendum would cost the district an estimated $40.8 million over a 20-year period, district officials said.
In 2018, the district is set to pay off the bonds that funded past building projects. If the referendum is passed, taxpayers who will pay $8,000 in taxes to the district in 2016 would see their tax bills decrease by about $85 as a result of the reduction of debt payments, officials said. If the referendum is voted down, those same homeowners would see a decrease of $199 on the district's portion of their tax bills.