Voters Reject Tax Hike in Five of Six School Districts

April 8, 2009

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Avoca West school in Avoca School District 37, which serves parts of Wilmette, Glenview, Northfield, and Winnetka
Officials in some Chicago area school districts are preparing today to make budget cuts. That's after voters in five of six area districts rejected school funding referenda.

The districts that went to voters for more money yesterday are small—some run just two schools. Lea Damisch is superintendent in Marengo-Union School District 165 in McHenry County. Damisch says district officials worked hard to convince voters.

DAMISCH : They were empathetic, but unfortunately when you take a look at what's happening with your 401Ks and your IRAs, they had to vote with where their finances were.

The district will cut Spanish, chorus and band at its middle school—along with all extracurriculars. Another district in McHenry, Cary Elementary, wanted more money to update computers and make building repairs. Sixty-six percent of voters there said no.

Avoca District #37 on the North Shore was the only school district in the metro region to pass a referendum. The district, which feeds into New Trier High School, says the tax increase will avert more than $1 million in cuts.