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$90 Million Bond Referendum Fails Among Voters in Avoca School District 37

Credits: Patch

Voters in the Avoca School District 37, located in a small North Shore area, decisively rejected a $90 million referendum to sell off a school and construct a new one, prompting district officials to reevaluate their plans.

An overwhelming three-quarters of voters in District 37 voted against the borrowing plan, with unofficial results from the Cook County Clerk’s Office indicating a margin of defeat exceeding 50 points.

Turnout was high, reaching nearly 42 percent in District 37, encompassing parts of Glenview, Northfield, Wilmette, and Winnetka. This figure significantly surpassed the average turnout for Cook County referendums, which stood at just 17.2 percent.

Avoca School District 37 (Credits: The Guardian)

The proposed referendum sought to replace Avoca West School in Glenview with a new $75 million facility near Marie Murphy Junior High School in Glenview, effectively consolidating the district’s two schools into a single campus east of the Edens Expressway.

The remaining $14 million in borrowing would have funded repairs and renovations to Marie Murphy. While the referendum aimed to address aging infrastructure and modernize educational facilities, it faced staunch opposition from community groups, including Concerned Residents of Avoca 37.

This group argued that the financial burden on taxpayers was excessive and that the proposed new school was unnecessary.

Proponents of the referendum, however, contended that the district’s facilities were falling behind those of other feeder districts to New Trier High School and that replacing them represented a more prudent investment than piecemeal repairs.

6TH Drade Team Avoca School District 37 (Credits: Avoca School District 37)

Despite the referendum’s defeat, the District 37 board had already agreed to work with Elgin-based construction manager Lamp Inc. to oversee the construction of the new school.

Superintendent Kaine Osburn, who will retire at the end of the 2023-24 school year, had emphasized that the district had not spent any money on the proposed construction before the vote.

The district will need to reassess its plans after the referendum’s failure. Representatives of Concerned Residents of Avoca 37 expressed gratitude to the community for participating in the voting process and underscored the importance of handling school investments in a financially responsible manner.

They indicated a willingness to collaborate on the district’s future plans, emphasizing a shared commitment to the community’s future and the well-being of its schools.

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