Voters in Batavia School District 101 went to the polls Tuesday to vote on a $140 million bond issue to replace H.C. Storm Elementary and Louise White Elementary with new school buildings plus make other district-wide improvements including safety and security upgrades.
Unofficial final results Tuesday night, with all precincts reporting, had 49.7% voting against the bond issue and 48.5% for the measure.
District offIcials had said that if voters approved the referendum question, the Board of Education would be able to issue school building bonds that would coincide with the retirement of existing debt and generate funding for capital improvements without increasing the current bond and interest property tax levy.
Officials said the money that would be generated from the proposed bond issue is needed to maintain quality schools that meet evolving needs in teaching and learning. Changes would include safety and security upgrades and replacing H.S. Storm and Louise White elementary schools with new facilities on the same sites.
Renovating the H.S. Storm and Louise White schoool buildings would not be cost-effective, officials said. There are mounting structural and functional issues at the facilities that have been determined to be more costly to tackle than to replace the buildings.
In addition, it would take years to renovate the facilities, district officials said.
The district said, if the bond issue was approved, it would build the two new elementary schools on the current campus sites at an estimated $35 million each and demolish the old schools.
Other improvements planned for the district if the bond issue was approved would be for roofs, heating and cooling units, windows, doors and other operational maintenance needs as well as more secure entrance vestibules and improved spaces for special education, according to referendum documents.
The district had community engagement sessions to discuss the proposal.