District 67 superintendent gets specific on referendum projects
Schools Superintendent Jamie Reilly stands outside Golf Middle School where tile was used on the building and will need to be replaced after it was learned that the tile does not do well in the Midwest weather. | Michelle LaVigne~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 5, 2012 7:00AM
MORTON GROVE — Whenever students are gone for a few days, like during spring break, they come back to Golf Middle School to find rust in the drinking water — enough that it settles to the bottom of a glass.
And in a science lab at the school the teacher has to make a choice: Run a noisy ventilator that provides the only air circulation in the room or make sure students can hear what’s going on in class.
Plumbing and ventilation are among the problems at Golf and Hynes elementary schools that will be fixed if voters approve a bond-sale referendum in November.
The district is asking voters to approve the sale of bonds totaling just less than $8 million to finance a series of building repairs and improvements, and construction of a new gym at Hynes. The gym is needed in order for the district to meet state requirements that students have physical education every day.
Rather than asking for an increase in the maximum tax rate as the district did in March, a new proposal asks voters to allow the district to increase the levy by 16.3 percent, or 13.3 percent more than allowed by the Cook County tax cap.
The measure would increase revenue for the district by the same $1.14 million that the tax-rate increase would have.
The votes in November follow the failure of both a tax-increase referendum and bond-sale measure in March. The district has since modified both proposals before placing them on the ballot again.
Superintendent Jamie Reilly, on a tour of Golf school last week, pointed out some of the problems that will be corrected if the bond sale is approved. They include everything from repairs to crumbling concrete in the foundation to new boilers replacing units installed in 1961 that are well past their normal useful lifespan.
Among the most critical of the planned improvements is the installation of fire-suppression sprinkler systems at both Golf and Hynes. There have been many incidents outside District 67 in which having those has made the difference between saving a life or not, Reilly said.
Many of the improvements related to classroom problems, from leaking windows that cause water to pool and actually get under the floor in some below-ground-level classrooms to leaking windows and a loud ventilation fan in the Golf gym.
“We have had some rainstorms where water came in horizontally into the classrooms,” Reilly said.
The gym, Reilly noted, does not have air conditioning and the only ventilation comes from the fan. But it’s too loud to use often during class.
“When you run that fan it’s so loud you can’t instruct the kids,” she said.
The walls in the gym, as well in some other areas of the school, are stained from water that leaks through the windows. In the gym those will be replaced and in some other areas of the school they will be caulked to prevent the mess.
The district does not plan to spend the money to remove decorative tiles on the exterior walls at Golf, but tuck-pointing is planned to help repair leaks around them.
Paved areas, now broken and with holes and loose chunks of blacktop, will be resurfaced. Reilly said pieces of the pavement end up in the grass where students can be injured.
“It’s definitely a safety issue,” she said. “It definitely needs to be done.”
Reilly, holding up a glass of water that has been standing for a while, noted the rust that had settled to the bottom of the glass. She said rust always ends up in the water when school is closed for a few days and the pipes are standing.
To remedy that, the work planned includes replacing the plumbing at Golf, she said.
Some of the other improvements planned at Golf include: the installation of new lockers in the gym locker room to replace some put in when the school was built; and installation of new ventilation systems on the roof to replace ones now inside the building.
At Hynes, in addition to construction of the new gym, the work includes heating, cooling and ventilation improvements, as well as new boilers.