Niles school bonds pass by narrow margin
Published 10:09 am Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Voters have approved a pair of bond proposals that will pay for $40 million worth of upgrades and improvements to buildings throughout the Niles Community Schools district.
“I think this is going to resonate and is going to be a day that we really changed the future of our students and our school district and our community,” said Supt. Mike Lindley.
The first proposal, an increase of 2.89 mills, passed 1,948 to 1,873 in Tuesday’s special election, according to unofficial results. It will raise approximately $29.7 million and cost the average taxpayer about $12 a month.
The second proposal, an increase of 1 mill, passed 1,967 to 1,838. It will raise about $10.3 million and cost the average taxpayer about $4 a month.
“We are fortunate that the majority of the voters who went to the polls saw the need,” said Lindley. “You would always like to see a bigger spread, but it is an election, so you never know.”
The bond proposals will allow the school district to provide upgrades to security, energy efficiency, technology and infrastructure at buildings throughout the district.
It will also allow the school system to close outdated facilities and make significant upgrades and/or additions to those that remain.
James Ellis Elementary will close and its students will be relocated to Howard Elementary, which is located next door. Howard will be renamed Howard-Ellis and additional space will be added to accommodate the extra students.
The district will also close Cedar Lane, which houses alternative education students, and the Westside Administrative Center, which mainly houses administrative staff.
Students at Oak Manor Sixth Grade Center will be relocated to Ring Lardner Middle School, which will be expanded. The alternative and adult education students will be housed at Oak Manor.
Actual construction will likely begin next spring and take place in multiple phases. Lindley said they would release a timeline in the near future.
However, Lindley did say the district could begin doing some smaller projects on their own sooner, like replacing phone systems and classroom furniture.