Education, Local News

District 153 referendum gets more than 70% of ‘Yes’ vote

A referendum supporting Homewood schools was successful, with more than 70% approval from voters in Tuesday’s election.

The result means District 153 will avoid drastic cuts to programs and faculty and staff layoffs that would have been necessary to close its $2 million deficit. The raise in the district’s foundational level also will provide money to update aging buildings and build a financial cushion to cover emergency expenses.

Cheers go up from Citizens for Homewood Schools co-chairs Mike Dickover, left, and Annie Lawrence, right, and District 153 School Board President Shelly Marks. The referendum got more than 70% approval from voters. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)

The final tally was 3,450 Yes votes to 1,406 No votes, or 71% approval.

Mike Dickover, co-chair of Citizens for Homewood Schools, thanked his team that worked over the last four months to get the message to the community.

“The board and our teachers really set us up for success. They gave us the product that we needed to go sell, and we were able to deliver. Thank you to the board, our administrators and our teachers,” he said at the celebratory party Tuesday evening at Rabid Brewing.

District 153 Board member Deb Havighorst reads off the vote totals for board president Shelly Marks who updates the tally board at the celebration party at Rabid Brewing. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)

Board President Shelly Marks thanked Superintendent Scott McAlister for believing a victory was possible. She also lauded a host of volunteers.

“(I have) a tremendous sense of relief, and I’m so grateful to this community that time after time they get that kids matter and the kids are our future,” Marks said after declaring victory. “If we don’t take care of them now, then we have no future.”

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