The Hinsdale Township High School District 86 Board of Education has made some rather bizarre changes recently regarding attendance areas; via a new Board Policy 7:31. Students in our South geographic designated area must attend Hinsdale South High School. However; now Central students can now attend either Central or South. But; they have no reason to attend South because Central is recognized as one of the best high schools in the state.
In addition; the Board recently created a new buffer zone (BZ) north of Plainfield, west of Madison, and east of Route 83. The Board received one petition for one student from that area to attend Central, instead of South. Rather than rule on the single request, they created a new BZ, extending the other one; same boundaries but just south of 63rd Street. This change will artificially increase Central H.S. enrollment by about 100 students; previously only able to attend South. Because of this change, it is estimated that the value of each property in the new BZ is now worth $70-$80,000 more. The Board of Education’s actions have in the past, and presently continue to harm students, parents, and local taxpayers of our “South” designated geographic area; e.g. recently tried to place a food pantry at South H.S. School Superintendent Dr. Law opposed this new BZ. And; of interest is the fact that the Board’s own attorney advising them on the new BZ, lives in this BZ.
Currently; the Board is proposing an $79 Million Bond Referendum to be on the November ballot. The real cost, which includes interest costs amounts to an estimated $112 Million. However; Illinois, like Wisconsin, requires only the $79 Million to be on ballot; not the total cost. The Board will approve placement of the Bond Referendum on the ballot at the 8/15/16 Board meeting.
Of the $79 Million Bond proceeds; $27.4 Million will go to build additional new classrooms at Central due increasing enrollment; a large part of which the Board is responsible for creating themselves with the new BZ. However; OOOPS! There is available space at South H.S. that can easily accommodate 400/500 more students; maybe more. The Board can address this issue by (1) simply changing the boundaries, or (2) merge both high schools to a two campus/one graduating class system; like Lyons Township High School, and the New Trier High School. Only one Board member, Claudia Manley of Darien, is representing our interests as taxpayers, residents, and parents within the designated area restricted to attendance for South. The other six Board members have an “in-your-face” rather arrogant attitude of, only thinking about common sense alternatives mentioned, but only if the $79 Million referendum fails.
At the core of what is taking place here is racial, economic, and societal discrimination which is better explained in the draft of a pending Complaint against District 86. Their referendum task force consisted of 77% members based in the Central High School area with the remaining 23% from the South High School area. Yet; the South based taxpayers will be paying for 70% of the monetary benefits going to Central, while Central based taxpayers will be paying for 30% monetary benefits going to South. They hired a consultant (George K. Baum & Co.) for $60,000 to pass the referendum, and they give the financial advisory business to them to sell the bond issue upon the referendum’s approval.
The Board will meet on August 15th to approve putting the $79 Million Bond Referendum on the November election ballot. So; time is relatively short. Folks in Burr Ridge, Darien, and Willowbrook that are aware of the situation are outraged at the Board’s conduct and action. Some concerned residents of Burr Ridge have come up with an appropriate piece of advice for the District 86 Board: “FILL SOUTH FIRST.” Attending the upcoming Board meeting, if only to state those three words may help stop them from putting the item on the ballot. The Board reacts to large numbers of angry citizens showing up, commenting, and hopefully demonstrating rejection of the $79 Million (total $112 Million) before that Board meeting with signage, even if only with handmade signs on cardboard. If you are interested in the yet to be completed Complaint, greater numbers residents signing will only help.
To answer any questions, or to provide suggestions, feel free to contact me. I’m not a local community organizer, have not done this before, but will not go down without a serious protest. Thank you.
Roger Kempa, Darien, IL