The Homewood Board of Trustees did not formally endorse the Homewood School District 153 bond referendum at its meeting Tuesday, but board members each expressed support for the ballot measure.
“I’ll take a yard sign,” Trustee Barbara Dawkins said after a presentation by Terry Keigher, chairman of Citizens for Homewood Schools, and Shelly Marks, president of the District 153 Board of Education.
Village President Richard Hofeld said the board would consider a resolution formalizing its endorsement at its Feb. 23 meeting.
The district is seeking voter approval to sell up to $9 million in working cash bonds to help the district cover a funding gap caused by lower property values in recent years and inadequate state funding. The issue will be on the March 15 ballot.
In their pitch for trustees’ support, Keigher and Marks focused on the key role schools play in the community and the high quality of education the district currently provides.
“Schools are one of the pillars of this great community,” Keigher said. “It’s really the right thing to do to maintain our schools.”
Keigher urged the board to visit the campaign’s website, voteyes153.org, to learn more. He said the site answers questions residents have asked about the referendum.
Keigher and Marks showed a promotional video that included scenes from classrooms and comments from parents and administrators.
In the video, Marks noted the belt-tightening measures the district has enacted already, including a contract with teachers that ties raises to the Consumer Price Index and a school consolidation plan that will be put into effect in June.
“This village works when everything in the village is working,” Marks said. “District 153 needs some help to work” the way the community expects.
Following the presentation, each trustee expressed support for the referendum.
“I don’t think there’s a better investment we can make in our community,” said Trustee Anne Colton. “We all need to work together to make this community better.”
Village President Richard Hofeld noted that he lives in District 161 and will not be able to vote on the referendum, but he concurred with the notion that the school district’s health is a key to the village’s health, along with its fine parks, library and village government.
“A thriving community must have top schools,” he said.
District 153 supporters counting on large voter turnout for March 15 referendum (HF Chronicle, Feb. 9, 2016)
Supporters rally behind District 153 as work begins on March 15 referendum (HF Chronicle, Jan. 28, 2016)
District 153 prepares to ask voters to approve two-year tax increase in March 15 referendum (HF Chronicle, Dec. 10, 2015)
Homewood school board considering enrollment shifts, dissolving Millennium School (HF Chronicle, Oct. 16, 2015)