CARE: Citizens Against the 112 Referendum
December 24, 2015
On December 15th, North Shore School District 112 (D112) voted to place their $198 million bond issue on the March 15, 2016 ballot in support of their ill-conceived and financially irresponsible reconfiguration plan. CARE members turned out in force to express their disapproval for the plan, the referendum, and the process that led to this vote.
CARE is not against reconfiguration, and we are not against change. We oppose this plan for educational, financial, and procedural reasons. The plan will not solve D112’s financial problems, and the $198 million-dollar price tag — four times the size of Highland Park’s share of the D113’s referendum — forces D112’s voters to choose between an all-or-nothing strategy. The real cost of this plan is well above $198 million. Just as this number fails to take into account millions in interest payments and maintenance obligations during the life of the bond, so it also fails to account for the social costs we will pay well beyond 30 years.
D112’s plan hinges on a Big Box school of 1,800+ students in the south-west corner of the district — far from many of the families it claims to benefit. 112 has provided no educational research to support positive student outcomes for a school of this size. We don’t want our children to be test subjects for an unproven configuration that is contrary to the community’s recommendations.
D112’s process has become a black box: key decisions — such as the one to pursue this single middle-school plan — were made without public input, and the community has been bombarded by a PR campaign ($12,000 per month of taxpayer money) that uses one-sided rhetoric to paint anyone who raises questions as a nostalgic naysayer out for his or her own local interests. We teach our children to ask questions, and we should do the same. CARE supports a responsible and effective reconfiguration plan for the community. This plan is not it. Vote NO on the March 15 referendum and demand a better plan.