Debate Continues on D113's $89M Referendum

Patch readers have not been shy about voicing their opinions on the April vote to fund improvements to Deerfield and Highland Park high schools. What do you think?

The District 113 School Board voted unanimously last month to put an $89 million referendum on the April ballot to pay for five years' worth of projects for Highland Park and Deerfield high schools.

Though the vote is months away, already Patch readers and bloggers are discussing their opinions at length. We've compiled a sampling of the comments from both sides of the debate. There are many more voices in the conversation, so click through on the individual stories to get the full scope of the debate.

If you have your own thoughts to share, do so in the comments section. Or, better yet, sign up to be a Local Voices blogger to get your message out to our readers.

Blogger Dan Jenks is supporting the referendum. "As a citizen in District 113, it is my responsibility to make sure that all of our high school students have an environment in which they can succeed," he writes.

Commenter MM agrees, writing: "At some point, a prior generation chose to spend money to build schools for their children. And now, it is our turn to spend money for our children and for generations to come. Thank you for outlining the issue honestly and openly."

Commenter RB isn't as sure, saying: "I just wish there was some prioritization with other taxing bodies. One may be flush and spending our tax dollars unwisely while another (school district 113) needs a tax increase. I propose that the Park District, as an example, should give something up to help lowere our overall tax burden. Deerfield building the underpass cost us $3 million in local and federal tax dollars. Wouldn't it be nice to have some of that go toward our schools instead of as large of a tax increase? Woodland Park was remade. How about prioritization and a decision to fund classrooms before swing sets?"

District 113 itself has jumped into the conversation, posting this blog post about why board members are seeking the $89 million.

Reader Ken Robertson supports the district's plan, writing, "The BOE unanimously approved a plan developed by over 100 of our neighbors, working over a thousand hours, for an 18-month period. The costs were developed with professional architects and construction managers. Every inch of the schools were reviewed to assess their needs, and develop options to fix long-term issues. Rather than "kick the can" and band-aid the problems, leading to ever-higher fix-it costs over the next decades, this plan addresses our needs now with a long-term view. It is the "realistic" number."

Walter White feels very differently. He writes, after watching the district's video that is linked of the blog post, "Oh brother, I was more for it before I saw the video. Don't tell me what I OWE the district, Harvey. This is a serious decision and many things must be weighed by every taxpayer before voting. Not everyone is going to agree with you. You could have increased the chances of this passing by coming up with a more realistic number. If it doesn't pass you have only yourselves to blame."

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William d Brown February 20, 2013 at 03:13 PM
Last time there was a debate like this It split old Deerfield Township into what we call today 'Moraine township and West Deerfield township The Western Farmers thought a secondary education a waste of money Today it's not the farmers It's the far right anti public education crowd Sadly they forgot why they moved here. As for me that is why my 5 generations stayed. Perhaps it's time for me to follow most old timers and move on And watch the reactionaries take over
Richard H Heineman Jr February 20, 2013 at 03:25 PM
The community is worth fighting for. We can beat back the anti-tax fanatics. We can continue to build a community that we can be proud of.
Average Joe February 20, 2013 at 04:26 PM
The debate over the referendum is an important issue and deserves a higher standard of journalistic coverage. Articles that rehash reader comments don’t provide any new or useful information. As a local paper, The Patch has an obligation to its readership to deliver originally reported stories that are thorough, objective and balanced in their reporting. That way people can make informed decisions about the topic at hand. After all, people read newspapers to get information. Imagine if the Wall Street Journal, The Tribune or the New York Times ran stories like this…they’d get laughed out of the business. Patch readers deserve better.
Ed Brill February 20, 2013 at 04:36 PM
Just today there are two new opinion pieces on Highland Park Patch on the issue. Click the home page and you'll find them both.
Bringin' Down Briarwood February 20, 2013 at 04:52 PM
Do you mean the same people who said they would work hard for a new solution then quickly quit when they didn't get EXACTLY what they wanted and attempted to kill the process over the next year? Yes, investment in schools is worth working hard for. Thank you to the hundreds who put in so much time for an honorable goal.
Daniel February 20, 2013 at 05:11 PM
Gee didn't quite see the far right vote in the last election. The district is overwhelmingly democratic. Maybe there are other reasons the first referendum did not pass and this one is in trouble. By the way, I support it but can understand why people don't given the poor job the District has done in planning for capital expenditures and communicating the need for more money.
Richard H Heineman Jr February 20, 2013 at 07:11 PM
It is important that we discuss the far right anti-tax fanatics we are talking about the current leadership of the group. No one is making a comment on the voters in the last referendum. Many people had legitimate issues with the last proposal that had nothing to do with overall politics. Most of the real community leaders that opposed the referendum are now either in support or neutral.
Daniel February 20, 2013 at 07:21 PM
Richard: I just don't see a far right movement in the community. Does no good to label people that way, especially if its not true or if there is some truth to it, they represent a very small percentage of voters. Again, people who vote against the bond issue are probably more like to be Democratic than far right. The label is wrong and takes away from discussing the issues.
mark robbins February 20, 2013 at 10:13 PM
Just a Thought! Ever since the H.P.H.S. swim team requested our support - about two weeks ago - we have NOT BEEN able to secure a pro-sign to place in our very visible front yard. HELP.
Jack Straw February 21, 2013 at 03:49 AM
Well some of us send our children at great expense, to private catholic schools, why because the public schools are not as good as they were in the old days Bill!
Jack Straw February 21, 2013 at 03:52 AM
Richard Heineman “far right anti-tax fanatics” disagree with you folks and you’re a fanatic WOW.
Beverly February 21, 2013 at 04:20 AM
Mark...what is your address? I am happy to get you a sign.
mark robbins February 21, 2013 at 06:37 PM
Very Impressed! As we were watching a movie last night, the door bell rang and we received the sign which is now up in our front yard. Thanks to The Highland Park Patch and Paul. Sincerely Appreciate - The Robbins Family


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