New Hinsdale 86 referendum 'doomed' if compromise not reached, says Mottl
A spokesperson for the Hinsdale 86 school board cited a district policy covering gifts as its reason for not considering an offer to fund the football programs at its two high schools, Central and South, and come to a compromise on a tax-increase referendum.
Burr Ridge resident Zach Mottl offered to raise the money—including some of his own—to fund football next year. The board voted in December to cut football and other athletic programs after the voters shot down its proposed $166 million bond request in a November referendum. Mottl chaired a group, D86 Can Do Better, that spearheaded the effort to defeat the ballot question.
Hinsdale spokesperson Karen Warner told the DuPage Policy Journal that Mottl’s offer would in part raise Title IX concerns (federal law mandating equal program funding for the sexes) by reinstating only football.
Mottl said that while he heard from no board members about the offer, he did hear from Superintendent Bruce Law, who “demurred by bringing up Title IX.”
“If they have Title IX concerns, why didn’t they cut all the sports when they cut football?” Mottl asked.
Besides football, the board voted in December to cut wrestling, swimming, water polo, marching band and cheerleading at the two schools next year. Other programs, including baseball, were spared.
All programs would be reinstated if the voters agree to a $129.99 million bond request on the April 2 ballot; the board approved putting the question on that ballot with a 6-1 vote at its meeting Monday.
Mottl and others who opposed the November bond issue have accused the board of unfairly using children as leverage in the ongoing, bitter fight over the proposed tax increases. He said that his funding offer would remove football from the fight and lead to a compromise.
Mottl’s offer to fund Hinsdale's football programs for the 2019-20 school year includes $35,000 of his own money. He says he has secured another $100,000 in pledges, bringing the amount to nearly 50 percent of the needed $275,000.
In exchange for the funding, he is asking to board to reduce the amount it will ask for in the April referendum to $42 million to cover needed improvements in security, safety and accessibility at the two schools. He said that he would convince others who voted “no” on the bond question to support the new, lower amount.
Otherwise, the new referendum “is already doomed,” he said. “We are raising funds and gearing up to defeat it.”