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District 120 to wait until November ballot for next referendum

December 6, 2023 08:36 AM

After taking no action Tuesday night to place a facilities referendum on the March ballot, the Mundelein District 120 School Board instead will consider putting the question to voters at the general election in November.

The Board’s Finance and Facilities Committee recommended waiting until next fall, citing a need to provide more time for public input and to further refine the proposed projects. The delay would not impact the timing of the facilities improvements. Work would begin in the spring of 2025 if a referendum succeeds anytime in 2024.

With no more meetings scheduled in December, it was the Board’s last opportunity to place a referendum on the March ballot by the Jan. 2 deadline. The Board will have to take a formal vote in 2024 in order to place a referendum on the November ballot.

Voters did not support a $175 million referendum in April 2023. The District developed a downsized $149 million proposal in October, then hosted a pair of town hall meetings, conducted a telephone survey and mailed project information to voters. 

“We listened to our community and we heard that people wanted more information and more time to better understand the facilities needs,” said Board President Peter Rastrelli. “While the need is timely, it’s important that we get it right. So we decided to wait for the November election to ensure we have time to gather more information and further refine our plans.

The District will continue to present the improvement plan to the community, solicit input and answer questions, Superintendent Kevin Myers said. Officials continue to work through the details and refine the plan which includes:

  • Safety and security improvements such as updated fire safety systems, secure entrances, access control and improved sightlines and circulation.

  • Infrastructure improvements, such as repairing and replacing outdated, inefficient mechanical, electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems.

  • Academic improvements such as adding classrooms and creating a properly sized place for the Career and Technical Education program.

  • Expansion of common areas such as kitchen and dining areas.

The School Board updated its long-term facilities plan in November 2022 with the help of engineering and architectural firms to review the condition of the 60-year-old building. Mundelein High School opened in 1961. While there have been some expansions, such as the Science Wing which opened in 2016, much of the infrastructure and many of the common areas have never been updated.

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