HINSDALE HS DISTRICT 86 WINS REFERENDUM IN GRASS-ROOT, NONPARTISAN CAMPAIGN
by Linda Burke, D86 resident and campaign volunteer
A facilities referendum for $139 million passed in Hinsdale High School District 86 by a 60-40 margin, a triumph for public education in Chicagoland. The referendum will implement mandatory life safety upgrades, ADA compliance, new swimming pools, and improvements to facilities for arts and academics at the district’s two high schools, Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South. Many facilities to be replaced or upgraded were over 50 years old.
Using the logo Save Our Schools, the pro-referendum campaign engaged a huge grass roots effort, with around 1,000 donors, and at least 350 volunteers! That is amazing! We really did pull together as a community–our consultant said he had never seen such unity of purpose in 25 years at his job. Scores of volunteers canvassed the community door to door and also met with the voters face to face at community tables and public forums. We also had phone banking and postcard parties.
Voter turnout was 42 percent in District 86, believed to be a record high for a municipal election. “Yes” votes increased by 8,000 over last November’s failed referendum.
The effort was totally nonpartisan, with prominent volunteers from both parties, including many we know well from Township Democrats! The referendum was endorsed by Judy Biggert and Kirk Dillard, as well as supported by our own Tom and Judy Casten in a letter to the editor that was also a poem.
When a referendum wins to support our schools, everybody wins, no matter how we voted. Our public schools do so much for the entire community–through academics, sports events, cultural events, and facilities available to all.
Of course we still have work to do, but this is a victory that will serve the entire community for many years to come.