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VIDEO: Voters Reject High School Referendum

Opponents hope to see better spending plan.

After months of community contention, voters strongly defeated a Tuesday. The proposal provided for capital improvements at Deerfield and Highland Park High Schools. 

Voting against the proposal were 8,872 citizens (56 percent). The measure was supported by 6,831 people (44 percent). 

“People recognized a better plan was needed,” Pete Koukos said. Koukos was one of the leaders of , the advocacy group opposed to the referendum. “The board will now have to revisit the issue addressing needs, not wants.” 

Robert Kellman, the campaign manager for Citizens Aiming for Responsible Enhancements (CARE), the advocacy group supporting the referendum, believes improvements will eventually be made at the schools. 

“At the end of the day people know what needs to be done and it will be done,” Kellman said. “People still care about the schools.” 

Annette Lidawer, a board member whose term expires in 2013, was disappointed with the defeat of the proposed spending plan. She recognizes necessary work remains. 

“I hope we can provide for our children the way we have an obligation to do so,” she said. “We need to look at this before construction costs go up and before our needs escalate even further.” She hopes to see a new ballot proposal in the March, 2012 primary election.

District 113 Superintendent George Fornero also expressed his regret with the proposal's outcome. “We are extremely disappointed that the referendum did not pass. The board of Ed unanimously voted to place this question on the ballot because they believe the defined renovations are essential,” he released in a statement to Patch late Tuesday.

“At future meetings we will begin to discuss where we go from here. But tonight [Tuesday] we are disheartened because we believe this plan was necessary, fiscally responsible and representative of community input. We've said all along our building needs are not going away. We have to figure out how to tackle these significant challenges.”

Click on the video above to hear reaction from both Education First and CARE members on election night. 

Anne April 11, 2011 at 06:45 PM
Yep! They are counting on everyone just "forgetting" about the issues and problems, besides, DG will chime in to go to his web-page where he the "great" communicator has set-up a blog, because he is "all-knowing" and right. Face it there is no plan....there will be no plan, just bickering. Too many people just too self-centered to see the forest through the trees.
David Greenberg April 11, 2011 at 07:05 PM
Incorrect - no one expects anyone to forget anything - let alone the needs of the schools, or why the referendum was defeated. I'm not "all knowing", sure I'm an expert in some things, but not "every thing". If you'd like to help contribute to a better plan - you are welcome to do so, just as everyone is. I'm simply providing an electronic version of a meeting room for that to take place.
Natalie Kaplan April 11, 2011 at 07:47 PM
I’d like to thank everyone for commenting up a storm recently. However, I’d also like to ask that we try and be respectful and continue the conversation in a meaningful way. If you’ve already posted a comment, please do not post something similar. Also, Patch is not a place for personal attacks against others. To read up on our rules for commenting checkout: http://patch.com/A-cp4P. Happy Monday and thanks for signing onto Patch!
Bringin' Down Briarwood April 11, 2011 at 09:18 PM
Dave, if you really want to move this forward, there shouldn't be any stipulations. Either the community joins in the discussion or not. If the community doesn't find your leadership of the discussion worthwhile, then there is no shame in putting out a separate detailed plan for the community to discuss and the board to consider. Simply put it out there with a certain period of time for consideration and discussion. then you have time to revise based on input. Your views would be much more respected if you were willing to put yourself in the same position as the board. Commitments with prerequisites here and provisions there just result in the same ol' same ol'. I hope you'll consider a more concrete direction. I'm done ... for the moment.
Bringin' Down Briarwood April 11, 2011 at 09:28 PM
Natalie: I haven't been in the community enough to know the editorial direction of the Patch, so excuse me if this is out of the realm of the Patch. However, i hope you'll help the community as a watchdog for E-1st and others who liberally used the phrase "We will get to work on a better plan on April 6." This was the centerpiece of their vocal campaign and they should be held accountable to the standards that they set. Otherwise, their campaign will have been a huge waste of the taxpayers money they are supposedly seeking to save. Yes, I look forward to a productive opposition - not simply empty rhetoric and opposition to ANY investment in the community.

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