Only 147 votes separate “no” and “yes” in Arlington Heights Elementary District 25’s referendum to raise taxes to fund full-day kindergarten and school building upgrades, with results still coming in Wednesday.
With 37 of 38 precincts reporting, the $75 million ballot question has 4,986 “no” votes and 4,839 “yes” votes, according to the latest update of unofficial results. The results were posted to the Cook County clerk’s website after 11 am Wednesday.
Only three more precincts had been reported since initial results were released by the clerk’s office shortly after 8 pm Tuesday. And in that time, a narrow margin of 59 votes widened slightly.
But the results are still unofficial and incomplete, as Cook County counts early voting ballots later.
Voter turnout for the referendum was 27%.
“As we continue to wait for the remaining precincts, it is impressive that we’re seeing a significantly higher voter turnout in District 25 than we typically see during a primary election,” Superintendent Lori Bein said late Tuesday. “I am so grateful that our community is engaging in the process.”
If the ballot measure is approved, District 25 could issue up to $75 million in bonds to build 25 new kindergarten classrooms across six of the district’s seven elementary schools and fund five years’ worth of infrastructure projects.
The classroom additions — ranging from two at Windsor Elementary to as many as 10 at Westgate Elementary — are estimated to cost $32.2 million to $42.6 million. The five-year capital plan — which would include replacing windows, flooring, roofing, plumbing, electrical equipment, HVAC and boiler systems — would cost $32.9 million, officials said. Grammar school expansions are also planned at Westgate and Dryden schools.
The measure, if approved, would cost the owner of an average $400,000 home an extra $300 in property taxes a year, or $25 a month.
The expanded kindergarten programming would be targeted to open in August 2024. Currently, the district has space only for half-day kindergarten sessions.
It is the district’s first referendum since 2005.