Hinsdale District 86 adds new pools to April wish list, a move Mottl says almost guarantees failure
At a special Saturday meeting, the Hinsdale District 86 Board of Education added the cost of two new swimming pools to its funding request that will be voted on in an April 2 referendum. The leader of a local taxpayers’ group said this addition would only increase the likelihood that voters will reject it.
“This is the best thing for us, that they put the pools in,” Burr Ridge resident Zach Mottl, chairman of D86 Can Do Better, told the DuPage Policy Journal. “It’s the same overspending that got them into trouble before. But I guess they just can’t help themselves.”
D86 Can Do Better helped defeat a $166 million bond issue proposed by the district and voted upon in November. On Jan. 7, the board approved a $129.99 million request for the April ballot, but board members were uncertain at the time if the amount would pay for the pools. The new $139,815,893 amount approved at the Saturday meeting would cover the cost of two new pools, the district said in a statement.
“The $5 million at Central will move the pool to a new location but keep the size the same at 6 lanes wide and 25 yards long,” the statement said. “The new pool at South will also be a 6-lane, 25-yard pool. The current location of the Central pool does not allow for expansion in either direction. The current location of the South pool does allow for expansion in length. The $5 million at South would also fund renovations to the South auditorium space, adding new lighting and sound systems, among other improvements like an orchestra pit and sound booth.”
Mottl said that costs for pools at the two schools now total nearly $25 million, or approximately 17 percent of what the board will ask voters to approve in April. That doesn’t include interest.
“You’re talking about paying all this money for something used by very few people,” Mottl said. “It’s a waste, especially when there are so many pools available for use in the area.”
With the failure of the bond issue in November, the board voted in December to cut football and other athletics next year citing the costs of repairs and renovations needed at the two schools. The programs will be reinstated if the funding is approved in April. Mottl and others have accused the board of putting children in the middle of the fight.