Friday, November 7, 2008

Fourth try, but Ridgewood's referendum doesn't pass

Will Supporters Keep Marching On?

With 21 of the 22 Norridge and Harwood Heights precincts reporting Tuesday night, things did not look good for supporters of a referendum for Ridgewood High School District 234.
The unofficial results from the Cook County Clerk's Office showed that 55.83 percent, or 3,311 voters responded "No" to a question asking for their permission to raise the limiting rate on their property taxes for a year. A little more than 44.17 percent, or 2,620 voters were willing to go along with it.
The measure would have amounted to a property tax increase equivalent to roughly $20 a month for the owner of a single-family home.
Representatives of the school district discussed the results Tuesday night at Vince's Italian Restaurant, 4747 N. Harlem Ave., in Harwood Heights. They didn't have much to celebrate. As Republican presidential candidate John McCain giving his concession speech in the background shortly after 10 p.m., school board Secretary Maria Palmieri-Smith talked about the results in the District 234 race.
"It doesn't look like we won. But we got the message out. We got huge excitement with the kids in the community, with the parade.... At least we got the message out."
Jojo Hajduk, a parent and a major booster of the referendum said she isn't ready to give up, even after four tries and four failures.
"We need to go again and get the message out again," she said. "I think there are a lot of people out there who go for education first and a lot of them live in Norridge and Harwood Heights. It starts right in their own community, right there on their own block.
"In order for them to succeed, their schools need the funding. Even if they need to get rid of one pizza a month -- it's $20 a month -- they need to do it. I already made cutbacks. Our children -- my daughter is a sophomore -- are the future."
Paul Draniczarek, school board president, said he isn't sure what the next move would be.
"We need to see what the (official) results were, then we need to sit back and evaluate it and see what our next step is going to be. There are a lot of possible things to look at. There are elections in the spring.
"We had hoped we would have been able to reinstate some things, but its going to be pretty hard to do that. Now we'll have to look at whether we'll have to cut back on some more stuff."

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