Facility Improvements Referendum FAQ

On Tuesday, March 19, 2024 Glenbard District 87 community members will be asked to vote on a $183 million facility improvements referendum. Below is a list of questions and answers relating to Glenbard District 87’s bond proposal. Please note that this list will be updated as the process continues. The questions are categorized as follows:


Community Created Plan

Q: How was the community involved in developing this plan?
The proposal is the culmination of a planning process that began in 2022 to identify next steps to improve Glenbard’s four high schools and gather community feedback on priorities. The process allowed hundreds of community members to be involved via board meetings, community engagement team meetings, facility planning community forums held at each school and a community-wide survey that had more than 1,400 individuals share their thoughts about next steps. 


Finances

Q: Is Glenbard District 87 contributing anything toward the facility improvements?
Glenbard District 87 is funding $129 million of the $312 million of improvements from its operating budget.

Q: How much are these improvements expected to cost?
The March 19, 2024 referendum asks voters to approve $183 million in bonds. Glenbard District 87 will fund an additional $129 million of facility improvements from its operating budget. In total, the $312 million of improvements will address prioritized district-wide facility needs over the next 10 years. The $312 million worth of facility improvements were prioritized from a comprehensive list of $380 million worth of facility improvements.

Q: How much will each school receive in facility improvements funding?
The facility improvements funding per school varies based on the age, size and condition of each building.
     Glenbard East = $52 million
     Glenbard North = $47 million
     Glenbard South = $30 million
     Glenbard West = $54 million
     Total = $183 million
For additional info, click here.

Q: How is Glenbard’s current financial health?
Glenbard District 87’s financial health is sound. Glenbard’s AA+ bond rating from Standard & Poor’s enables the district to receive favorable borrowing rates. Glenbard has the lowest debt tax rates of seven DuPage County high school districts (2022) and fourth-lowest debt per pupil out of 13 school districts (high school and K-12 ) in DuPage County (as of June 30, 2023). Glenbard has earned the highest State recognition with a perfect 4.0 Financial Profile Score from the Illinois State Board of Education – financial recognition for 17 years in a row.

Q: What has Glenbard done to ease the tax burden on property owners?
Board of Education members approved a $1.5 million abatement in the 2022 tax levy. Also, in December 2023, the board approved abating $2 million from the debt service levy. Without the abatement, there would be a projected increase of approximately $20 per year for the owner of a home market value of $300,000. This abatement will be covered by cash reserves and a subsequent transfer from district operating funds.

Q: Will my tax bill increase?
If voters approve the referendum, the owner of a home with a market value of $300,000 would see an increase of about $4 per week. Use the tax calculator to estimate the tax payment increase on Glenbard District 87 building bonds referendum.

Q: If the proposal does not pass, will my tax bill go down?
Not necessarily. The taxes paid are a result of the specific assessed value of your property as it compares to the property growth of the district. A failed referendum would result in lower taxes paid to Glenbard compared to an approved referendum as noted in the question above. However, if the proposal is not approved, taxes may not decrease. Typically, tax bills see increases consistent with the rate of inflation annually but actual amounts will vary by the individual property. If a property is reassessed by the township or if the property has an improvement made (e.g. an addition / increased square footage) this, too, will impact the tax bill. Many of these factors are not within the control of the school district directly.

Q: When was the last time Glenbard District 87 asked voters to approve a bond referendum?
The last time Glenbard District 87 asked voters to approve a bond referendum was March 2014. At that time, voters approved a zero tax rate increase referendum related to Glenbard’s 2013 10-year Master Facility Plan.

Q: What is the cost to property owners if the March 19, 2024 referendum passes?
If the referendum is approved, the owner of a home with a market value of $300,000 would see an increase of about $4 per week. Use the tax calculator for an estimate of tax payment increase on Glenbard District 87 building bonds referendum.

Q: How was the decision made to place the referendum on the ballot?
The decision to place a referendum on the March 19, 2024 ballot followed careful study, community engagement and input. In the past year, Glenbard District 87 has worked with Wold Architects & Engineers to develop a new 10-year master facility plan. Students, parents, community members, educators and district leaders formed a team to discuss the future of Glenbard facilities and develop a responsible plan to address facility needs. Three community engagement team meetings were held (June to November 2023). Community forums and facility plan engagement meetings were held at all 4 high schools (fall 2023). A community survey was available in October 2023. Following input, analysis and discussion, members of Glenbard’s Community Engagement team joined our administration in presenting a referendum recommendation to the Board of Education.

Q: Is doing nothing to address our facility needs an option?
As Glenbard continues careful planning, it is not advisable to delay improvements to the four high schools. Construction costs will increase – likely beyond standard inflation. Instead, efficient borrowing now yields a high return on the investment in student opportunities.

Q: Can District 87 use its current budget to address facility needs? 
No, additional funding is necessary to make the necessary improvements to Glenbard’s four high schools. Improvements to facilities are necessary to support instructional environments. Without a large one-time revenue source, certain improvements are not possible and the length of time to address critical needs becomes elongated.

Q: How do school districts fund facility projects? 
Capital improvements (facility projects) can be funded in one of three ways in Illinois:

  • Operating Budget – This approach uses operating funds to fund capital projects at the cost of redirecting that money from funding instruction. Projects can be funded directly from operating funds or through issuing operating debt or Alternate Revenue Source Bonds.
  • Prior Year Surplus – Using money left over from a previous year is another way to fund facility projects. However, this is not a reliable source of funding or one that allows for long-term planning. 
  • Referendum Debt – This is the primary method for K-12 public schools in Illinois to fund facility projects. It requires a simple majority approval by voters in a school district.


Facility Master Plan Projects

Q: Glenbard District 87 just finished a 10-year facility improvement plan. Why does it need another one now?
Glenbard District 87’s aging buildings have numerous facility needs. The buildings range in age from 51 to 101 years old. The new 10-year Facility Master Plan will address $312 million of prioritized needs. Glenbard District 87 is funding $129 million of facility improvements from its operating budget.
Improvements will be made in the following areas:

  • Infrastructure
  • Safety and security
  • Classroom and science lab improvements
  • Overcrowding 
  • Access to student support services

Q: What improvements will be made?
Glenbard District 87’s 10-year plan will address prioritized needs in the following areas:

Safety and security

  • Upgrades are needed to safety and security systems and entrances to keep up with today’s best practices.

Classroom and science lab improvements

  • Upgrade out-of-date science labs.
  • Add windows and replace lighting and flooring where needed.
  • Align classroom design with current best practices in curriculum and instruction.

Infrastructure

  • Glenbard’s four high schools vary in age between 51 and 101 years old. When crucial infrastructure ages and becomes inefficient, operating costs increase, taking money away from instructional priorities.
  • Continue to upgrade and renovate, where needed, building infrastructure – items like roofs, windows, electrical systems, plumbing, and heating and cooling systems.

Overcrowding

  • Upgrade cafeteria space to eliminate overcrowding and provide flexible learning and program spaces.

Access to student support services

  • Relocate commons areas to increase accessibility for student support services such as social workers and counselors.

Q: Why do our buildings need to be updated?
Glenbard’s four high schools, which range in age from 51 to 101 years old, have numerous capital improvement needs. The March 19, 2024 referendum seeks to secure funding necessary to make crucial facility improvements and ensure our buildings support today’s best practices in curriculum and instruction.

Q: What is the construction timeline for the updates?
The district plans for construction projects at least a year in advance. Most of our work is completed during the summer when we have more access to our buildings without disrupting the instructional environment. Should this proposal pass, construction would begin on projects funded by this referendum in the summer of 2025. We anticipate that the construction projects related to this proposal would take approximately three years to complete. A more detailed schedule of projects would be available following a successful approval of the proposal.

Q: What happens if economic conditions change and costs for projects increase?
Glenbard has a history of responsible planning and financial stewardship. Even if economic conditions change and project costs increase, the needs in our buildings remain. We need to address facility needs for students. Efficient borrowing now yields a high return on investment.

Q: Why should we do this work now and not wait until later?
Delaying improvements to Glenbard high schools is unwise. Construction costs will increase – likely beyond standard inflation. Instead, efficient borrowing now yields a high return on the investment in student opportunities.

Q: Beyond improving our schools, how will the bond issue help the community?
Schools are a primary factor many people consider when deciding in which community to live. Quality schools have a positive effect on property values. We are committed to protecting our community’s investment in our high schools by keeping them in good working condition.

Q: Will any of the bond proposal funds go toward areas other than building needs?
Glenbard District 87 is required to use funds as specified in the proposal listed on the ballot. These projects are all related to improvements at our buildings and/or on the grounds of our facilities and the funds will be used to do just that.

Q: What happens if this proposal is not approved by voters on March 19, 2024?
If voters do not approve the March 19, 2024 referendum, the needs in our buildings would remain and still need to be addressed. The Board of Education would discuss next steps and communicate those to the community.

Q: What is the district’s current bond rating?
Glenbard has an AA+ bond rating for Standard & Poor’s. This strong rating enables Glenbard District 87 to receive favorable borrowing rates.


Election Day & Voting Information

Q: How will the D87 bond proposal appear on the ballot?
By law, the bond proposal must appear on the ballot in this form: 
Shall the Board of Education of Glenbard Township High School District Number 87, DuPage County, Illinois, install safety and security improvements, increase accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act, repair and replace mechanical systems, roofs and other infrastructure, improve energy efficiency and technology infrastructure, renovate classrooms, science labs, vocational labs and learning spaces and undertake other building and site improvements to, and purchase equipment for, each of the School District’s four high schools – Glenbard East, Glenbard North, Glenbard South and Glenbard West – and issue its bonds to the amount of $183,000,000 for the purpose of paying the costs thereof?

Q: When is the election?
Election Day is Tuesday, March 19, 2024. The Glenbard District 87 bond proposal requires a simple majority (50 percent + 1 to pass). It is important for voters to become informed and understand the proposal on the ballot, and then exercise their right to vote. Every vote is important. That’s why it is crucial that you remember to vote and remind your friends and family to do the same. 

Q: How does an individual register to vote?
According to the DuPage Election Division, an individual must register at least 28 days prior to an election in order to vote in that election. They may register online, by mail, or in person. Following the close of registration, Illinois allows for “Grace Period” Registration and Voting beginning the 27 days prior until the day before an election. Online registration is available through the 15th day prior to Election Day. Voter registration is available on the DuPage Election Division website or by calling 630-407-5600.

Q: Who can vote?
All registered voters in the Glenbard District 87 are eligible to vote in this election. Residents may also request absentee ballots and find a complete list of election dates by visiting the DuPage County Election Division website or calling the DuPage County Election Division at 630-407-5600 for additional information.

Q: When does early voting begin?
According to the DuPage Election Division, early voting locations that will be available starting Feb. 8, 2024 include:

  • DuPage County Fairgrounds, 2015 W. Manchester Road, Wheaton, IL  60187
  • Stratford Square Mall, 152 Stratford Square, Bloomingdale, IL  60108 (Unit TBD)
  • Addison Township Office, 401 N. Addison Road, Addison, IL  
  • Naperville Municipal Center, 400 S. Eagle Street, Naperville, IL  
  • Westmont Public Library, 428 N. Cass Avenue, Westmont, IL  

These five locations will start early voting on Feb 8, 2024, and will have condensed hours until March 2, 2024. Condensed hours are 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Mondays through Fridays and 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM Saturdays.

Starting March 4, 2024, and ending March 18, 2024, will be regular early voting hours. Regular hours are 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM Mondays through Fridays and 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Saturdays and Sundays.

Please note that there will be 25 locations, including the five that start voting on Feb. 8, that start on March 4, 2024. Those sites will be listed on the DuPage Election Division website.

Also, any eligible DuPage County registered voter may Vote by Mail beginning 40 days prior to an election.

Q: How can an individual vote by mail?
Any eligible DuPage County registered voter may Vote by Mail beginning 40 days prior to an election. Details are available on the DuPage Election Division’s Vote by Mail pageRequest a vote-by-mail ballot on the DuPage Election Division website or call 630-407-5600. 

Q: Why is the community required to vote to improve our schools?
In Illinois, whenever a school district wants to issue bonds to build new or improve existing facilities, it must first seek the approval of voters in the district. 

Q: What is a bond referendum?
A bond is much like a personal home loan, and is a way for government entities, such as school districts, to borrow money for large projects and repay them with future tax proceeds. An individual generally approaches a financial institution for a mortgage because they don’t have the means to pay for their home with one large initial payment. 

Q: How many yes votes are required for the bond referendum to pass?
A simple majority (50 percent + 1) is required for the referendum to pass.

Q: Where can I learn more? 
Learn more at glenbard87.org/referendum-march-2024