Wednesday, March 2, 2016

What have the Past D181 Referenda Cost? What have the Past D181 Referenda Paid For?

We have received some comments suggesting that CHMS residents should vote yes for the $65 million referendum to build a new HMS simply because D181 residents supported past referenda that benefited Clarendon Hills.  In the interest of FULL TRANSPARENCY, and to keep the discussion on this important topic going as we approach the March 15 election, we located, and have copied below, a document D181 has on its website that summarizes the past Capital Referenda.  The document can be accessed at:  http://www.d181.org/data/files/gallery/ContentGallery/Past_District_Referenda_160110.pdf

As you review the information contained in the document, keep in mind the following:

  • It took three elections to pass a referendum that resulted in building CHMS.  (The D181 document conveniently neglects to disclose this critical information.)
  • The four successful referenda were approved in 1997, 2000, 2002 and 2004.
  • The grand total for the last FOUR successful referenda was $74.7 million, only $9.7 million more than D181 is asking taxpayers to approve for one SINGLE $65 million referendum.
  • Within the last FOUR successful referenda, three NEW schools were built -- CHMS (which was needed as a result of population increases that required not replacing, rather adding an entire new school to house the growing student body), Walker and Prospect.  For these THREE schools, taxpayers were asked to approve $33,034,401, nearly 1/2 of what taxpayers are now being asked to approve to REPLACE one single school.
  • Of the remaining $41.67 million in funds raised in the last four referenda, Madison school first received a gym and later a second large addition and renovations (a renovation so large that students were housed for one year at the old Prospect School before it was demolished), The Lane received an addition and renovations, Monroe received an addition and renovations, Oak received an addition and renovations, Elm received an addition and renovations and ALL schools (including HMS) were equipped with a new technology system and equipment.
  • Clarendon Hills students ALONG WITH ALL OTHER D181 students received benefits from the past referenda.  
  • The $74.7 million in referenda funds approved by D181 taxpayers paid for 3 new schools, additions and renovations to 5 schools and installation of new technology systems and equipment to all 9 schools.
  • Bond repayment on the $74.7 million will not be completed until 2025.
  • Yet on March 15, D181 taxpayers are being asked to approve a $65 million referendum for construction of ONE SCHOOL?
As always, SOUND OFF!

D181 Document:  
Hinsdale Middle School Referendum • March 2016

Past District 181 Referenda Information / Language
Last Updated: January 10, 2016 • www.d181.org > Our District > HMS Referendum
The following language was used in past ballot measures presented by District 181 for the purpose of facilities / capital projects, each of which was successfully passed by the community between 1997 and 2004.

March 16, 2004 - Madison, Elm, Oak, and Walker, Plus Technology
Shall the Board of Education of Community Consolidated School District Number 181, DuPage and Cook Counties, Illinois, replace the existing Walker School; repair, renovate and equip and build and equip additions to Madison School, Oak School and Elm School; improve all of the District's school buildings with new technology systems and equipment, and issue bonds of said School District in the amount of $31,000,000.00 for said purposes?
• Within that total, the cost of the Walker School construction was estimated at $8,234,401.

November 2002 - Prospect and Monroe
Shall the Board of Education of Community Consolidated School District Number 181, DuPage and Cook Counties, Illinois, build and equip a new school building on and adjacent to the existing Prospect School site, acquire additional real property adjacent to the Prospect School site, repair, renovate and equip Monroe School, build and equip an addition to Monroe School, and issue bonds of said School District in the amount of $24,000,000.00 for said purposes?
• Within that total, the cost of Prospect School construction was estimated at $12.5 million.

March 2000 - The Lane
Shall the Board of Education of Community Consolidated School District Number 181, DuPage and Cook Counties, Illinois, build and equip an addition to and alter, equip and repair The Lane School and issue the bonds of said School District to the amount of $6,300,000.00 for said purposes?

November 1997 - Madison School Gym
Shall the Board of Education of Community Consolidated School District Number 181, DuPage and Cook Counties, Illinois, build and equip a a gymnasium addition to, the current Madison School, and issue bonds of said School District in the amount of $600,000.00 for said purpose?


November 1997 - New Middle School (CHMS)
Shall the Board of Education of Community Consolidated School District Number 181, DuPage and Cook Counties, Illinois, build and equip a new middle school and acquire additional school grounds for such purpose and issue bonds of said School District in the amount of $12,800,000.00 for said purpose?
• At the time of the election, it was estimated that occupancy would begin in the fall of 1999 for 650 students in 89,000 square feet. Building cost was said to be $137 per square foot, and the cost to a property owner of a $300,000 market value home was said to be $69.38 per year. It was noted at the time: "Final decisions on the school's design and attendance boundaries would be made, with community involvement, following passage of the referendum." And that, "District reserves would be used to fund additional work at the current middle school in the areas of tech wiring, carpet replacement, and electrical, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning upgrades."
(Source:  http://www.d181.org/data/files/gallery/ContentGallery/Past_District_Referenda_160110.pdf)
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31 comments:

The Parents said...

We are copying 2 comments that were just submitted on an earlier post because they are also relevant to this post:

Anonymous Anonymous said...
7:50am: my kids feed into HMS. I am not a CHMS feeder. And yet your comments totally offended me. The three new schools in CH combined cost significantly less than $65 mil. I don't know the exact number but I think the combined cost is around 1/3 of the proposed HMS. Those buildings were modestly built so as to not unduly burden taxpayers. That's like saying we gave you a ford so now you are a bad selfish person if you do not give us a Lexus. My CH friends support a new HMS but they want the cost to be reasonable and they don't want it loaded with extravagant wants. When this referendum fails we will do what we did after the first CHMS referendum failed - we will go back to the drawing table and come up with a reasonable, modest design that is not insulting to half the town. And everyone will support it. Now stop with the guilt.


Anonymous Anonymous said...
I think the pro-HMS folks are mixing apples and oranges. From everyone that I have spoken to who is voting NO on the referendum, it is not because they are opposed to fixing HMS (whether through renovation or a new build). It is because they are opposed to the proposed design, the $65 million price tag (which will be significantly higher than that) and the faulty process that got us here.

And to 7:50am, I am a Hinsdale resident and my children go to CHMS. I have supported all the renovations ACROSS the district (Monroe, Madison, etc.) and the new schools at CHMS, Walker and Prospect. Please don't pit us against each other.

Anonymous said...

I am re-posting my comment since you cherry picked the ones that you liked: I find it interesting that the blog has decided to use the C4CH newsletter which is clearly providing a biased and incomplete perspective. I have a hard time believing their analysis and do not consider them a good source of information. I personally like the school where it is located since it's pretty central for all four feeders and in close proximity to CHMS. What is telling about their (C4CH) lack of knowledge of the building and the fact that they have never stepped in it is the question about whether the existing cafeteria and every other space is being fully utilized currently. They have got to be kidding.

Also are you in the business of building schools and do you really have the best knowledge on how much it will cost to build a school today? I think you are comparing apples and oranges by using past information on what it costs to build a school or make large scale renovations.

Anonymous said...

9:57 you are also cherry picking. Your best practices Hubble middle school is $38 mil if scalled to HMS and if the land price is deducted. The $65 mil cannot be defended

Anonymous said...

9:35:
At least the blog is presenting multiple sides of the issue. And how do you personally know if anyone in that group has "stepped in" the building. 2 of my children are currently in HMS, and they use the cafeteria every day. It's fine. It functions. It's clean. What really bothers me though, is when my children have to miss lunch so they can get educational support from their teachers during lunch time. Parents are far more concerned with why school cannot meet their children's needs during the school day. Why do we also have tutors? As parents have stated over and over again, we are far more concerned with the curricular and teaching problems that are not being addressed by this administration. Once D181 can demonstrate to parents that they have a handle on their trained area of expertise, education, then we will begin to start trusting them in their school building skills.

I am not in the business of building schools, but if I were a money hungry, unethical builder, I would push for the biggest, most expensive building I could so I could get the biggest commission possible. I would try to convince all of the insecure, materialistic parents that a $400/sq. ft. school is reasonable because I see dollar signs in their eyes. I would play upon their competitive natures and encourage them to build the grandest school possible. Of course, I would neglect to tell them that the average price of middle schools in the country is around $280/sq. ft, because my obligation is to myself and my company's bottom line. School builders have no ethical obligation to offer reasonable, conservative price quotes to our villages.

As far as knowledge, I think we can all tell you, no, we do not have enough knowledge about how much it will cost to build (or renovate) a reasonably priced school today. This is because: the facilities committee has limited the information provided to us. Thank goodness for other folks who have written in and provided important facts that have led us to this understanding. I find it hard to believe that NO plan for renovation was presented. So yes, our knowledge has been limited by the district, but luckily we know how to do research ourselves. As far as apples and oranges are concerned, the current HMS plan is more like comparing an apple to a Godiva Truffle. Sure, the truffle is expensive and impressive, but nothing can dispute the fact that an apple is healthier.

Anonymous said...

7:50 you are wrong. The three CH schools were NOT 1/3 of the proposed cost of the new HMS! I know, I was on the BOE then. To make a statement like that really makes you look stupid. And, for this blog to print incorrect statements doesn't look good either. The cost of CHMS alone was about a third of the cost of the proposed HMS. I can't believe the unsubstantiated statements made on this blog. I'm not saying everyone today has to be totally knowledgable about D181's history, but don't make untrue statements and think you're going to get away with it.

The Parents said...

7:50: This blog is posting comments written by people who are expressing their opinions. We have also been publishing posts that present facts and if you bother to read this post would realize we pulled the documentation from the district website. Your tone is becoming so nasty that we may not publish your comments any longer if all you want to do is attack other tax paying residents you don't happen to agree with your perspective. Please, do everyone a favor and just calm down. We respect your opinions but not the way you are viciously attacking everyone who has a different one.

Anonymous said...

Once again, 10:42 am, YOU are NOT being TRUTHFUL! Why do you think you can get away with making statements like" the facilities committee has limited the information provided to us." I AM ON THE FACILITIES COMMITTEE and just go to the D181 website and the Facilities tab and referendum tab and you'll find out any and all information IF YOU WANT TO TAKE THE TIME!!!!!
Additionally, if you have any questions, just posted them on this blog and I WILL BE SURE YOU GET THE ANSWERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By the way (if you had taken the time to be engaged 10:42,) you would know that there was a plan for renovation presented by Cordogan. The other two architects didn't want to waste their time drawing up renovation plans when they determined they wouldn't recommend renovation. Your INCORRECT STATEMENT just shows how little effort (or none at all) people like you in the community have put forth in becoming knowledgeable about the needs at HMS and the solutions. As someone who has been intimately involved in D181 for almost 30 years, I can't stand it when there are people like you disputing data driven, fact based information. AND, then you CLAIM TO HAVE DONE RESEARCH SUPPORTING YOUR INCORRECT STATEMENTS! Yikes!10:42, when you make the statement that the proposed new HMS is like "Godiva Truffle" you have totally shown that, first of all, you have no clue as to the necessities of a 21st century middle school that would support excellent education going forward for at least 50 years. Secondly, you have also demonstrated that you have no concept of what is involved in the process of "fine tuning" a building proposal, like the HMS proposal. There is still work to be done and one of the activities is "value engineering." But, this doesn't happen until FINAL PLANS are drawn and hard specifics can be priced and alternatives investigated! We know this from ALL THE PAST REFERENDUMS AND BUILDING PROJECTS. That is when the apple appears and is polished. By the way, excellence in education is healthy for the entire community. I thought this community valued it!


I, as an empty nester who values education and the value that excellent education gives to our community, have volunteered 21/2 years of my time on the Facilities Committee and totally support the current proposed plan, even though I soon will be on a fixed income. This community, that once supported excellence in education and supported the previous school building renovations and additions and the three new buildings in CH, sure isn't what it use to be. I guess values have changed around here. There is an old saying "you get what you pay for" and I'm not proposing overpaying. However, I want an answer to the question: How much longer is the D181 community going to put off addressing the HMS problems of structural and functional inadequacy, as well as, academic inadequacy????? AND, AT WHAT FUTURE PRICE INCREASE? Isn't this suppose to be a smart community? Is it smart to put $4 million more into HMS to stop the roof leaks, etc. and then what do you do...add more costly portables along with the on going costs of the current portables? IS THIS SMART???????? Not in my mind.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is posting incorrect statements from people that are framed as if they are facts. Don't you feel you have an obligation to post factual information? You have the option to not post people's submissions. However, then you are picking and choosing what positions you are presenting. Presenting opposing view point is not necessarily "vicious or nasty." I would think a commitment to factual information would be important to this blog.

Anonymous said...

"money hungry, unethical builder" WOW... "insecure , materialistic parents"...

Anonymous said...

12:02, you are also guilty of cherry picking your facts to suit your argument. Supt. White finally admits YESTERDAY that there has been no appraisal of the current site, which should have been done on Day 1. The D181 web site lists only PASSED referenda and omits the ones that have failed because of lack of taxpayer support. This omission implies that D181 taxpayers have blindly supported any and all expansions and rebuilds which is simply not true.

The HMS roof is no longer leaking. Please stop implying that it is.

We do not need to spend $4 million in April 2016 to "fix" HMS if the referendum fails. If we do absolutely nothing for roughly 3 years, yes we will need to spend money to make additional repairs to HMS. No one on this blog is suggesting we do absolutely nothing. There have been a ton of good ideas around remodeling or rebuilding in a much more responsible fashion.

We just found out last last week that the portables do NOT cost $500 thousand a year. In fact the annual cost is quite reasonable and we can surely bear that cost for a few more years until we get the HMS remodel/rebuild done right.

I hope on March 16, a new facilities committee comes together that includes concerned taxpayers and common sense citizens. I do not have first hand knowledge, but it seems like the administration hand picks a number of "volunteer" committees and stacks the deck with friendly faces. We need honest objective volunteers that will look at ALL options. They may come back saying we need to rebuild HMS on that site. Hopefully, it will be sized correctly and aggressively bid.

I do agree with this one statement you made and I thank you for posting it: If you want answers to your questions, post them on this blog and someone will get you the answer.

Thanks to Yvonne Mayer, Jill Quoinnes ( sp?) and others on this blog that have been asking for months about the existence of an appraisal, the true cost of the portables, the status of the property at County Line and 55th st, the status of a parking garage, the use of the auditorium, among many others. I have to commend Dr. White as well for answering these questions. This should have been done much earlier, but better late than never.

Please dispense with your opinion that those of us that oppose this oversized, bloated school are anti education nitwits that don't care about the entire community. It took 3 tries to get CHMS built and most of us are very happy with the result. This school should be built to last 100 years. Let's take the time to get it right.

Anonymous said...

If I lived in HMS feeder schools, I would REALLY be upset that this referendum began with such questionable due diligence and at a very top price.....during a very difficult time in the state of ILL. No doubt Boomers still on site want to sell HIGH, and younger families have no time to waste on a renovated or new facility. I would be very upset that a contentious referendum MAY NOT pass and more time will be wasted. that's really the issue. All appraisals, options and avenues should have been conducted so that the users AND all taxpayers could get a win-win fairly quick assessment, approval and delivery. Instead, there are too many questions left unanswered and a top PRICE that many have every right to question and deny the referendum. It's sad for those directly affected because most taxpayers are reasonable and are willing to make similar upgrades and timely improvements....but NOT when the background data is not fully gathered. The people who should be most upset are those feeder schools and I'm sure those voting NO agree. A referendum should be on the table here two years after the famous winter of 2014 that includes all benefits to users and taxpayers. The end users, really the entire district, but especially those in the feeders, are really the losers. it's not the NO voters to blame. It's everyone who placed this questionable referendum on the table. Had it not been so contentious, it could be passed easily and the district could move on. It's also a tarnish on Hinsdale....can't they get it together ?

HMS Parent said...

2:24: Good reminders of the misinformation (or lack thereof) that D181 has been circulating. And let's not forget how the VOTE YES people were "slapped down" by Dr. White himself for saying on their website that HMS is DANGEROUS! That was completely untrue and Dr. White had to publicly state that it is not before they removed this inflammatory statement from their materials.

And of course lets not forget the misinformation that the architects and facilities committee distributed suggesting that it's "comp school," Hubble Middle School, cost $58 million, when it now turns out it did not.

Honestly, I don't understand the hysterical tone that 12:02 has taken, demanding that only Facts be posted on this blog. I don't think it's the bloggers' job to fact check every comment that is published here. The bloggers themselves seem to be doing a pretty good job of citing to sources when they present information AFTER which they are certainly entitled to form an opinion. Others who submit comments may also be giving their opinions and if they make factual mistakes, then people like 12:02 are pointing them out.

Personally, I find this discourse quite transparent and refreshing. What I find offensive people like 12:02 just want the bloggers and those posting comments that don't agree with them to just shut up. It's that kind of attitude that has led the administration and past boards to be non-transparent and not really create forums for true community engagement. 12:02 -- Is this how you talk to people you have conversations with? Make sure they can prove every statement they make or tell them to shut up, especially if they don't agree with you? I certainly don't think so, so please don't behave that way now. Just let everyone say what they want and if you think something is factually incorrect, then by all means, point this out, but respectfully. No need to divide this community further.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I love a spirited, passionate, FACT-based discussion and debate. One where people do their due diligence, openly share the facts, and why they feel the way that they do. I like seeing the pros and cons of a situation and the weight people put on each pro/con. Unfortunately, I don't feel that this referendum is one such debate. both sides seem to skew the facts, and spew vitriol at the other side. I don't care if you're pro referendum, anti-referendum or undecided, as long you debate respectfully, back up your arguments and are open to opposing arguments. I'm not saying everyone is disrespectful, but enough to make this process messy.

I'm in favor of overhauling HMS, whether it's a renovation, or a totally new building either on the current or a new site. However, the administration has not done its due diligence. I don't think that the board, facilities committee and community had enough time to process how what to do once the price jumped from $45 to $73 million dollars. I don't if the facilities committee was properly picked (although the meetings were open to the public). Plus, as was discovered, the current HM site was NOT appraised. This scares me. If we do any major work on HMS, or any school for that matter, do it right. I don't want to pay $65 million + interest only to get the same or different problems in a new box.

Anonymous said...

On Friday, March 13th from 1:00 - 3:00, the district will provide tours of HMS. I suggest that EVERYONE goes, even those who will vote NO. That way, everyone will have the same information. This way, people could think "Wow, this is worse than I thought" or "Meh. It's not so bad, they can take it." Plus, I'd love to hear alternatives to rebuilding. While I like to think that the administration and facilities committee members have at least some knowledge and experience with the school and construction, the more feedback, the better. As the saying goes, 2 heads are better than 1.

Anonymous said...

It really is interesting how sensitive the facilities committee member who posts on this blog is. I respect that you have put a ton of your time into this endeavor but you have to admit, the numbers are a bit staggering. $ 400 / sq ft. This is a high number nationally, and regionally. I could take the time to pull the US survey of educational facility construction but I am certain your have seen the data that shows this to be high.

Since you have been blogging, what do you say to this? You mention building this school for the 21st century and yet, the initial submission had the technology wiring / upgrade removed to save cost. That was an odd but has since been put back in. You have since also changed the building around. Took the advice of some and reduced its footprint by making it three story in places. What happened to the savings on excavation, etc. Did this go to cover a shortfall in that 65MM number?

You have to admit that this thing has been evolving on the fly. As far as designing building and structures, I am quite familiar. I feel this thing was done all wrong. The first thing that should have been done was generate plans. Thorough plans of all alternatives. I have yet to see a fully vetted renovation plan with an addition that contains a priced out budget. This plan would be staged and fairly complex because the necessity to perform an addition and I know you would produce it if you had it.

The reason I don't think this was done was because I don't think people wanted to even investigate that avenue. It has been the desire to tear that thing done for awhile because fixing it will take some time and some thought. The most damning thing about tearing it down though is you have a 100000 sq ft plus building that by Wight and Co. analysis has over 50% of it life left. The things that require replacing would all be addressed by a renovation.

It seems to me, that getting this thing on a referendum prior to D86 or the general election ballot when voter turnout was maximum was the single biggest driver. The HMS group that wants a new school knows that the general election yields maximum turnout and the likelihood of getting this thing passed was minimal. 2 yrs were wasted due to bureaucratic things and time was running out. The architect selection was mishandled as was the budgeting to the taxpayers. I would be curious to your feeling on this point.

My advice on this is to slow down. Right now you have plenty of good data to make some very smart decisions. Sort of like changing the thing back to 3 stories once you figured out that excavating all that dirt was going to cost x (hey, we reduce footprint by 50% we reduce that line item, the roof line item the concrete line item, etc). With the data you have, you can put some pretty good modeling in place to make some smart, justified plans. That is what the taxpayers are looking for. Not, hey, this is hard, it would be easier to just ask them for as much money as we can get and start from scratch. Just think of HCHS said that? They would be coming for 300MM.

Anonymous said...

When I read the district document it seems to just be talking about the language of past successful referenda. I don't think they are trying to hide any information. Also if I remember correctly the middle school referendum failed the first few times because they attempted to build one large middle school. Community members helped design the exterior for CHMS to make it fit into the neighborhood and bring more natural light into the building. There were many people opposed to using park property for building a school though at the time.

Anonymous said...

3/2, 2:24 pm...This is 12:02 again. You are absolutely wrong when saying the HMS roof does not leak. Go in HMS when it is raining and you will see the buckets in the gym. Why do you think you can make untrue statements like this????? You want a new Facilities Comm.? Then post your name on this blog and YOU CAN BE THE NEW FACILITIES CHAIRPERSON!!!!! Come on ....get some skin in the game and not just a bunch of untrue words! And, where do you get the idea, once again, that the property at 55th and County Line would EVER BE AVAILABLE?????

By the way, I have worked with Yvonne Mayer and Jill Quoinnes for years and have great respect for them and, I believe, them for me. We don't always agree on everything, BUT we do have respect for each others opinions and agree to disagree in a very respectful manner. I do not believe that, unlike many of the people who post on this blog, Yvonne or Jill ever deliberately post untrue statements. They are people who make every attempt to do research and provide fact based information. I applaud both Jill and Yvonne for their dedication and the efforts they have put forth for D181. Both these women are good role models for D181 community members who just want to make incorrect, exaggerated statements that are misleading. Do you really think that people are just going to believe your untrue statements???? Really?

Also, what is an appraisal of the current HMS property going to do for you????? If you think you are going to sell this property, where are you going to PUT HMS???? As a previous history teacher, I'll give you a little D181 history. D181 once owned the property in Willowbrook where the Rogers Farm housing development currently exists. This property was sold when the D181 community would not support moving the Hinsdale Jr. High south of 55th Street. This piece of property would have provided more than sufficient space for a junior high at that time, but the community wanted to keep the junior high in central, downtown Hinsdale and, therefore, the "new" Hinsdale Junior High was built. I guess we can all have our own opinions as to if this decision back in the '70's was a good idea. Just as we can have our own opinions as to if a new HMS is now necessary. Just a reminder, to put this decision off is only going to cost you more later. Oh, but you, 2:24 pm can find that out since you definitely want to volunteer to chair the next Facilities Comm.! Have at it!

Anonymous said...

3:27...FYI, when renovation reaches 60% of the cost of a new building, no architect will waste their time putting together a renovation plan. All three architects that submitted new HMS plans stated that their research showed that a renovation of the current HMS reached 60% of a new building immediately and the renovation didn't come close to achieving a 21st century structure. Too bad so many people are only choosing to get engaged in this whole HMS situation now and haven't paid attention when ALL THIS INFORMATION WAS ORIGINALLY PROVIDED TO YOU!!! And, you wonder why the Facilties Comm. is FRUSTRATED??? We have spent 21/2 years of our time on this stuff!!!!! And, you just decide to pay attention now?????
I'm finished providing you with information that has been available for you previously. I can't tell you how disappointing it is to have been involved in D181 activities for almost 30 years and see the current disengagement of the current D181 community.

Anonymous said...

12:02pm - please stop behaving as if you are the only one who has some skin in the game. There are many of us here who spend countless hours volunteering in D181, not just you and the rest of the Facilities Committee. And we can question as parents and taxpayers in this community!

Anonymous said...

Was the proposed renovation 60 percent of 48 mil or 60 percent of 65 mil? When the price tag shot up to 65-73 mil was the renovation option revisited and was that differential recalculated? How can the facility committee justify $404 per square foot when it so far above the national average? Why was the price of Hubble adjusted to 2017 dollars using $58 mil (shouldn't it have been size adjusted to account for 30,000 fewer square feet? At the very least the $8 mil land purchase should of been highlighted and subtracted). Can the facility member who has been posting please answer these questions. Can she answer these questions in a civil calm matter without all caps and excessive punctuation (it feels like she is shouting at posters through the keyboard).

Ann Mueller said...

I wholeheartedly believe you have every right to question anything in a respectful, fact inquiring manner. I assume you are a taxpayer who is committed to educational excellence However, I object to people not "wasting their time" to be informed along the way & then not getting the facts straight & criticizing everything hard working, dedicated, knowledgable people do for them. If people are so over extended ($) that they can't afford to support our children's education, well, that's really too bad. I've been told this is true. But, D181 & 86 have always been known for providing excellent educations for their students. I grew up in this area & specifically moved to D181 & 86 to educate my children. It makes me so sad to see from posts on this blog that people's priorities these days are not educational excellence. Maybe people could take one less vacation or buy one less designer purse & invest in the community's children's' education. Yes, the two districts must be held fiscally accountable. I know about that because I negotiated three D181 teachers' contracts. All this takes dedicated community members willing to volunteer their time & talents. I wonder where these people are going to come from in the future. There is a BOE election around the corner. Everyone who reads this blog, start thinking about volunteering to run for the two school boards. Also, people are needed to serve on the Hinsdale Village Caucus to interview potential candidates. But, you'd have to be totally knowledgable about the school district to know if candidates were providing correct answers & THAT TAKES TIME & EFFORT!!!!!

Anonymous said...

11:19, this is 3/2 2;24 pm. Suggest you calm down and go back and reread my post.

Let me correct you with FACTS. Your beloved superintendent has publicly stated the HMS roof does not leak, the mold has been abated, and the school is safe. I am just relying on what he has told us. Despite the faux rush from the administration and BOE and facilities committee, we have the time to get this done right. Stop providing us with false choices and false crises. If this gets teed up again in November or next spring, children attending HMS will be safe, dry and warm, albeit a little crowded. Actually, according to Dr. White, each 4 classroom portable module costs $2100 per month, so let's pop another portable out there if we need to. The $25K annual cost is a rounding error to this district.

I don't know who started the now disproven rumor that the portables cost $500 thousand a year, but it was not one the bloggers.

The next pass we take at this thing will start with a plan and a budget, and believe me the cost will be LOWER than $65 million. If we decide to build a new school, it will be appropriately sized and aggressively bid. We will not have a 20% cost increase the week before deciding to go to referendum.

I never suggested that we put the school at 55th and County Line. The bloggers just want public acknowledgment that all options have been seriously considered. If all options have been considered, why didn't we spend 10 grand on an appraisal so we see what the current land is worth?

I am glad you mentioned that you mentioned history. The world, the state of Illinois, and DuPage County have changed drastically in the past 30 years, especially the last 10 years. I feel like the pro referendum crowd is stuck in a 1985 time warp where we can spend and tax our way out of things. What maybe was not feasible 5, 10, or 30 years ago needs to be reexamined. In the business world, assumptions are constantly challenged, pencils are constantly sharpened, and we no longer have the luxury of same old same old.

Some of us may in fact volunteer to be on the next facilities committee. I am not sure Dr. White or the current board majority will want hard nosed, clear eyed, tough minded taxpayers on this committee. The proposal we come back with may look a lot like some of the ideas you see on this blog: renovation of the current HMS, two smaller schools, a new school with fit and finish substantially similar to CHMS, a new school designed for 800 to 850 children, and not 1000, etc. etc. Call me a screaming liberal, but I actually like the idea of an auditorium that the entire district can use. I think we ought to be able to get this all done for under $40 million and elsewhere on this site, you can find the numbers to back that up.

It also looks like the Village of Hinsdale will kick in for a parking deck, which honestly should have been discussed 2 years ago, but what the heck.

I appreciate your service on the facilities committee, but please grant us the the grace that we can disagree without lying and distorting the facts.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, 2:14pm!!

Anonymous said...

As I suggested, not only should you "hard nosed, clear eyed, tough minded taxpayers" volunteer to be on the next Fac. Comm., be sure to run for the school board, too. You can have all the grace you want and disagree, too. But, just be sure I see your name (which I haven't seen yet posted on this blog) on the list of people volunteering for the committees, BOE and other necessary services for D181.

So, if you pursue "two smaller schools,"where are you going to put the second one? And, remember there is a additional cost to adding another middle school in an additional administration. By the way, CHMS is 17 years old and educational standards and preferences have changed. So, to build a new school or two in a couple of years "with fit and finish substantially similar to CHMS" would be out of date and inappropriate. Do you really think we didn't think of these ideas and review their possibilities?I just hope when you are in charge of "the new HMS or two new middle schools" that people wait until the 11th hour and second guess everything you have done, too.

Also, D181 had been approaching the V of H and discussing parking solutions for decades...way before your suggestion of 2 years ago. Glad you see sense in an auditorium. Gosh, you must be in the school building business if you are so sure "all can be done for under $40 million" and you are willing to offer your services for free and cut D181 a huge deal. I'll believe it when I see it.

And, I have not ever lied or distorted facts. I don't play those games. I have absolutely no control over what Dr. White says about HMS's roof and the cost of portables. I've never said a word about the portables' s cost. And, Dr. White is not my "beloved superintendent." Dr. White is the entire D181's superintendent and, again, when you sit on the BOE, you can do something about that, too. Good luck there, as well.

And, I'm sure if 10 grand had been spent on an appraisal of the current HMS, people would have been screaming on this blog about what a waste it was to spend that money. But, that will be your wise decision in the future. Good luck with it!!!

Well, I also hope the parents and to-be-parents of D181 students gather their energies and enthusiasm to jump in and take over on all the D181 work that needs to be done. Because, people like me who have been volunteering for decades with children long out of the system are going to enjoy sitting back and watching what happens. My prediction is that you will actually develop an appreciation for what we did in the past and maybe even ask for our advice.

Ann Mueller said...

To answer 12:54's question about when renovation reaches 60% of new...was it of the $45 or $60 million.

After both functional and academic analysis of HMS, the previous D181 architect of record, Healy Bender, presented the Fac. Comm. with their recommendation for possible renovation and addition and new design for HMS. At that time, HB's figures came to $65 million for a new building and they too totally recommended against renovation and addition. They at first stated maybe the "skin" of HMS could be saved, but later returned a "no" on that, too. The slab the building sits on is the only thing HB thought might be salvageable.

The cost estimates for "original, competition designs" by the three architects ranges were less then $65 million and all three architects strongly opposed renovation and addition because of the "over 60%" rule of thumb that the renovation/addition figures violated.

No more caps..no more excessive punctuation...only a civil calm manner. Also, no more time spent on my end. I'm in Florida and don't have all my Fac. Comm. materials here to reference to answer your other questions. I'm on vacation and I'm not going to waste any more of my time on this.

Yvonne Mayer said...

Please post the following as a free-standing post. Thank you.

Today, Hinsdale's local newspaper, The Hinsdalean, ran a story endorsing the upcoming $65 million referendum for a new Hinsdale Middle School and urging voters to vote yes. The Vote Yes For HMS pro-referendum group promptly applauded this article and proclaimed their love for the editorial's comment that "Decisions must be based on current conditions rather than fears over future scenarios." Pam Lannom, the Hinsdalean's editor, who does NOT live in D181 and therefore won't be contributing her tax dollars to either a new school or any aspect of D181's offerings, made this ludicrous suggestion as a response to concerns citizens, such as myself, have made that the referendum should have been vetted in the broader context of possible legislative proposals. These proposals include shifting millions in pension liabilities to individual school districts, freezing property taxes (and therefore the District's revenue stream) or cutting Special education funding (funding which the district will then need to assume under Federal and State mandates). So the following is a comment I posted to the Vote Yes Facebook page's glee over Pam's article: "I completely disagree. Pam Lannom has never served on the D181 and her statement is simply irresponsible. Her failure and YOURS to recognize that the BOE and the Administration need to be planning for the "rainy day" scenario which will come to the State of Illinois and trickle down rapidly to "rich" districts like ours is disappointing. Change is coming and revenues will decline in D181's coffers and the end result will be cutting programs, teachers or asking D181 voters to approve tax increases above the tax cap in order to raise needed funds to maintain existing programs and teacher levels. The needs of one school -- which are real -- should have been discussed in the broader context of the "what if's" that most intelligent Illinois residents realize are going to happen, in one form or another. At the end of the day, voters will decide the future of HMS and most likely, down the road, the future of maintaining what goes on in D181's classrooms. Too bad that the Administration refused to have even ONE SINGLE discussion about the district's future with the BOE (or with the community, for that matter, in the form of a Town Hall Meeting) before rushing to referendum. That's my opinion as a former board member who already had to cut $5 million from the D181 budget less than 8 years ago. We were lucky then, because no teachers had to be fired, but the hopes of better foreign language offerings, smaller class sizes and full day kindergarten were all scrapped. There isn't "fluff" in the budget anymore, so if things need to be cut in the future, our children will lose out -- in ALL buildings."
I will sadly, be voting NO on the upcoming referendum, and if it fails, hope that all parties will return to the drawing board to bring a more fiscally responsible proposal back to the taxpayers that also will protect the existing programs and teacher levels in D181 at ALL schools. No doubt, some D181 taxpayers who support the referendum will attack me (as I've already been attacked on the Vote Yes Page), but as a former elected BOE member in D181, I stand by my concerns over the process, price tag and future financial health of the district.

Anonymous said...

A.M., do yourself and the rest if us a favor and enjoy your vacation. I am not saying this in a snarky way, I just feel you are too worked up. Many of us, including me, have been. Your refusal to admit that perhaps, you and your committee could have done a better, more transparent job is a major turn off. You come across as being full of yourself and your opinions. I don't think that this is how you are, but this is how you appear to the rest of us. You will not convince anyone else to volunteer by yelling at everyone and insulting them. But I get the feeling that you really don't want anyone else to volunteer. I don't know you, but from your posts, you seem like a bt of a control freak. For example, I am offended by your recommendations that we should cut back on buying designer purses and vacations so we can instead, spend our money on a school that is twice as expensive as other new schools going up. That does not sound civil or respectful. We don't overspend our money. We realize that our children will not live in a world where pensions and social security are a given. We teach our children to spend wisely and donate to charities. That is why we do not think its a good idea to spend more than we need to on a perfect school. No disrespect to your years of service, but you have no idea how any of us serve others. And guess what, we do not need to tell you because it is not pertinent. We all are capable of analyzing the facts and information and making a decision - but we need more facts. $10,000 for an appraisal seems to be a bit excessive. Is that price a fact, or is it an exaggeration? If it really is a fact, why wasn't it presented to the committee in the notes? Why wasn't any discussion held about the decision that the cost of an appraisal for HMS was not worth it? I find it hard to understand why a walking track was approved, but an appraisal was not. The lack of humility and arrogance are major turn offs. Experience is important, but no one on the committee is a commercial builder or remodeler. Not even Clarin. No one there is a land developer. Just because residents in the 70s (45 years ago) didn't want to put HMS south of 55th THEN (when Ilinois was not bankrupt) does not mean that people would reject the idea now. Most school districts regretted selling off their land (Elmhurst did the same thing).
Parents are disappointed with the failure of the facilities committee to tell us how much land is needed for a school. I would appreciate someone in the facitlities committee finally answering this for us. I would like the square footage necessary for one large 850 student school, AND , two 500 student schools, so CHMS could benefit too I case they become overcrowded. I have done the research and read everything available about this, but this information does not exist. Yet time after time, A.M. repeatedly shouts at us "YOU DON'T LISTEN!" Or "ALL OF THIS INFORMATION WAS PROVIDED TO YOU!" It was not. Dr. White stated that the 55th and County Line property was $20 million, but then you screamed at us, "THAT PROPERTY IS NOT FIR SALE!" What is the truth? Why does the Yes for HMS Facebook group claim that "that property was too expensive" If it wasn't even for sale, and we never actually made an offer, then why would anyone have the nerve to make that claim? I think its time for the current Facilties members to start admitting that they were not as transparent as they could have been, and that the process was rushed. I am angry that a thoughtfully planned out renovation or new build has been delayed yet again. But, since we learn for our mistakes, I am hopeful that he next referendum will pass. However, if no one on the Facilities Comittee thinks they did anything wrong, that only the rest of us are wrong, it will be a long time before anything gets resolved.

Anonymous said...

7:01, I agree, there have been a lot of comments that come off as arrogant. Regarding giving up designer purses for the education of our kids, I have to agree with both you and Mrs. Mueller. I agree, if the new school is $400 per square foot compared to a national average of around $200-230 per square foot, that's excessive. We don't need a Taj Mahal. Yet I find it hypocritical to see all the high end houses, cars, vacations, yet an auditorium is too much of a "Taj Mahal" feature? People say we need to focus on academics. But how much of District 86's extra-curricular's excellence had its start because the students started in middle school? As we know, many colleges look for more than academics. I don't hear anybody saying that Hinsdale Central's plan for a new pool is too much a "Taj Mahal" feature. Plus, how many of our students look forward to school only for things like Applied Tech, or the musical, or other non-core class? How much would their academics suffer if we got rid of these?

Also, perhaps the district should look at building a third middle school, and have all three be around 500 students. That way, it would be easier to have parity. If/when one school needs to be renovated or rebuilt, they could use the other two as models.

When Illinois' finances are in better shape, the district's curriculum is in better shape, and when the district does a well-thout out plan for a new or renovated school, I'll support it. Now is not the time.

Ann Mueller said...

I will add one more comment about the property at 55th Street and County Line. Actually, it is former BOE member, Mike Woerner, who should respond to the questions about this property because he was the BOE member tasked with the job of, first of all, finding out who to talk with in Cook County when the word got around that the TB Sanitarium property was going to be for sale. That in itself was a challenge! Mike finally found someone on the Cook County Board that put him in contact with someone else to discuss the property. I will email Mike and ask him to provide the details of what transpired, but the short version is that Cook County had absolutely no intention of selling that property to a DuPage County school district. The attitude was, first of all, there were way deeper pockets out there and why would Cook County do anything for any DuPage County entity. I'm not saying this is right or fair. I'm just telling you that is the way it was. I hope Mike will provide the details.

I have been told by retired builders in the area that now that the developer at 55th and County Line has put the infrastructure in, and also has additional supporters ($), that he (they) will hold out for the V of H to change its mind and allow "empty-nester housing" to be considered for the development, which was, of course the original proposal that the V of H turned down.This process has already begun with the V of H meeting held recently to hear from residents on the topic. Bottom line, the property at 55th and County Line would have been excellent for a new middle school, but it will never happen. It is really too bad.

Ann Mueller said...

March 3, 7:01pm, First of all, I sincerely apologize if I have come off as insulting, arrogant and lacking humility. I am pretty sure if you talk with Yvonne Mayer she will tell you that I am not any of these things, including not being a control freak or full of myself. I am a former teacher who values children's education and have experienced D181 at its best and my daughters are products of the best of D181. My girls did experience D181 challenges, such as extreme overcrowding at both elementary and middle school sites. When I saw decisions in D181 being made based on space and overcrowding and not based on best educational practice, I ran for the D181 BOE. Things were eventually turned around, but it took time. Things in D181 have been on the decline in several areas for over eight years. Again, things can be turned around with the help and support of the community.

I think Yvonne Mayer would also tell you that I am very knowledgable about the potential pension issues that D181 may face, as well as other financial challenges that the district may face. I have been a trustee of a private college in Illinois for 15 years and am also aware of the challenges that our higher educational institutions are facing in Illinois. It makes me terribly sad to see our state's educational systems so financially stressed and the impact it has on our children's educational future.

However, two and a half years ago when I heard that Dr. Schuster was forming a D181 Facilities Comm. and I realized no one in the administration had any knowledge of how 8 of the 9 D181 buildings had been renovated, added on to or newly built, I volunteered to be on this committee and dragged former BOE member, Mike Woerner, on the committee, too. I knew that as part of budget cuts (that Yvonne referenced) the position of D181Buildings and Grounds Supervisor had been deleted from the D181 budget when Sue Kamuda retired. This left all of the building in D181, the greatest assets in the district....besides our students and teachers, of course, with no professional to supervise them. In my opinion, that was a huge mistake and the budget should have been addressed differently. Anyway, at this time the Facilities Comm. was charged with coming up with a 10 Year Facilities Plan. In order to do that, all the D181 buildings' adequacy had to be professionally assessed both functionally and educationally. This was carried out by Wight and Co. and Ted Rozeboom. It was determined that the only horribly inadequate building existing in D181, both from functional and educational standpoints, was HMS. All the reports are available for you to read. I think this history is important to know. It is this process that brought the Fac. Comm. to recommend that the community address the issue of HMS.

I speak for myself in saying the Fac. Comm. tried to do its very best in all its efforts. There was absolutely no intention or effort to do anything but properly serve the D181 students and community. However, I will also say nothing is perfect. Would I change some of the ways things were done ...sure. However, I will say that the process was absolutely good enough. Dealing with the situation of a change of administration (Schuster to White) is not ideal. But, it was managed. Mike and I had served on either the referendum committees or the BOE when all the other buildings were previously addressed and this current process was actually much more thorough and transparent than the previous processes. I can tell you we did our best under the circumstances. And, I know all too well after many years of service in the D181 community (and I know Yvonne will agree with this, too,) you can not please everyone!

Yvonne Mayer said...

In the interest of full disclosure, let me begin by saying that before writing this comment, I called my good friend Ann Mueller to ask her permission to respond. She gave me the green light, so here goes. First, I want to applaud Ann for all of the work she has done in the past for D181's children, as a PTO volunteer, parent, BOE member, Facilities Committee member and Interview team vetting the Assistant Superintendent Candidates that are currently being considered. I have nothing but the highest respect for Ann and know that she has and aways will mean well and has only the best intentions for our district's children.

I know how hard she and others on the Facilities Committee (including Mike Woerner) have worked to come up with a Masters Facility plan and also know that Ann volunteered to serve on this committee because of the inadequate knowledge base in the Central office, not just regarding facilities history (but pretty much everything else that is required to run the district on a daily basis). For this I thank her.

Having said that, and I discussed all of this with Ann, as with any referendum, talking points have gotten quite heated. People who have invested their time, energy and resources on both sides of the debate (and I include myself in this), believe that their position -- YES or NO -- on the referendum is the correct one and everyone else should fall in line. Well, clearly, that is not going to happen. While there is a NEUTRAL zone in the HMS referendum debate -- specifically, I believe most people agree that major work is needed on the building and no one is going to deny children a suitable school to attend -- people who are unwilling to vote yes on the current question are being attacked as anti-education, anti- children, anti- D181, anti-community. I'm not saying Ann has done this, but others have and it really has to stop now, because that type of discourse is destructive, when what is needed right now is constructive discourse.

As I told my friend Ann this morning, I cannot vote yes on this referendum question. The beauty of this process is that it is democratic and the majority of voters who bother to show up at the polls on March 15 will make a decision. At the end of the day, each of us is responsible for voting our conscience and each of us only has ONE vote to cast. If people don't bother showing up to vote, then they have absolutely NO right to complain about the outcome. If people do vote and are on the losing side, then they need to accept the result and move forward. If the referendum is approved, this will mean moving forward to build a new school and I personally hope that the administration will be able to stay on task, on schedule and on (or below) budget to open a new school in 2019 as has been promised. If the referendum is not approved, this will mean moving forward immediately to determine what work needs to be done NOW on HMS and when the district should go to referendum with a new proposal. Hopefully if that happens, the BOE and administration will work together to make a fiscally responsible decision that has been vetted in the broader context of the "what if's" that many people refuse to acknowledge or discuss regarding the district's future finances. I for one will volunteer to serve on a future committee (as I have in the past) but doubt the current administration will pick me. I encourage everyone out there to also volunteer.

On March 16, whatever the outcome, we all need to continue to live together in this community and get along and work for what is best for ALL D181's children. Please join me in committing to work together.