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Chicago North Shore school bond referendum down to the wire

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January 28, 2010

Northfield campus of New Trier High School

WINNETKA TOWNSHIP, Illinois: In the final days before the Chicago North Shore suburbs that make up the New Trier School District vote on a $174 million dollar referendum, the feeling among the district's residents is the referendum is down to the wire[1].

Although hotly-contested primary races for the positions of Governor of Illinois and U.S. Senate are drawing more headlines, on the streets of Northbrook, Glencoe, Wilmette and Northfield, many more signs of "Vote Yes" and "Vote No" have sprouted up in favor of one or the other side in the New Trier vote than for candidates for governor or senate.[1][2]

Current New Trier High School Principal Tim Dohrer feels that the project is needed, claiming that every surrounding Chicagoland school district near New Trier has had a referendum of some kind approved for a major capital project since 1974.[1] In an interview with CBS Chicago affiliate, WBBM-TV 2, Dorher told a reporter that there is a need for the project as the school district's field house is over 90 years old and has a leaking roof. As well, some of the classrooms that used to teach home economics and have been converted to other uses need improvements[1].

Former New Trier Principal Wes Baumann, a leading opponent of the referendum, says on the other hand that New Trier is about people and not buildings. Baumann told the WBBM reporter that the project will do nothing to improve the current situation at New Trier. The New Trier Choices campaign has organized phone banks to persuade voters to oppose the referendum, but only time will tell if a high income section of Chicagoland will approve one of the largest school bond referendums in Illinois history on February 2nd[1][3].

UPDATE-January 30, 2010: Ballotpedia got hold of a copy of an official complaint on January 29, 2010 in which the New Trier Township High School District is asking WBBM-TV 2 of Chicago to retract parts of the story reporter Jay Levine did on its January 28, 2010 newscast in regards to the bond referendum. Nicole Dizon, the district's Communications Director asked WBBM to have parts of the story retracted over comparing the New Trier project to other Chicagoland public schools in costs, and also phrases the reporter described the project. Ballotpedia did not use information from the WBBM-TV report that New Trier had in question. Therefore, it is the right thing that we inform our readers about this development.

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