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2024 Proposal FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions For A Possible Bond Referendum

Why is Park Ridge Niles School District 64 considering placing a bond referendum on the November 2024 ballot?
District 64 seeks to address its highest-priority capital facility needs, with a special focus on health, safety, and security upgrades, mechanical and infrastructure improvements, and improvements to instructional and student support spaces.

What is a bond measure?
A bond measure is a method of borrowing school districts use to pay for larger capital investments, similar to the way people take out mortgages to purchase their homes. Proceeds of a bond measure are often used for school renovations and additions.

When was the last time voters in District 64 approved a bond referendum?
It has been 27 years since district voters approved a bond referendum for capital improvements. The 1997 voter-approved bond measure funded the construction of Emerson Middle School. Link to school building timeline and referenda.

Have other school districts in the area been successful in obtaining voter approval of a bond referendum?
Yes. Many of our peer districts and other districts in our area have passed bond referenda for school building upgrades, including Maine 207, Elmhurst 205, Glenview 34, Palatine 15, Arlington Heights 25, Winnetka 36, and Northbrook-Glenview 30.

How old are District 64’s school buildings?
The District’s schools range in age from 26 to 96 years old. Three were built in 1928 and three were constructed in the 1950s, as noted in the following list:
  • Field Elementary School (1928)
  • Lincoln Middle School (1928)
  • Roosevelt Elementary School (1928)
  • Carpenter Elementary School (1950)
  • Washington Elementary School (1953)
  • Franklin Elementary School (1956)
  • Emerson Middle School (1998)
Has the District properly maintained its facilities?
The District allocates approximately $8.3 million annually toward the operation and maintenance of its seven school buildings. About $2.5 million of the District’s yearly budget is also earmarked for larger capital improvement projects. While these funds play a critical role in helping protect and improve our school buildings, they are not sufficient to address the major capital facility needs that have been identified.

Can existing reserves be used to address improvements at the District’s seven schools?
District 64 has already allocated a significant amount of its reserves to capital facility improvements in recent years. For example, $38 million was invested in renovations needed for full-day kindergarten, programming that will soon be mandated by the State. The District also seeks to maintain a base level of reserves for ongoing operations, and emergency needs, as well as to protect its credit rating, which has a direct impact on borrowing costs.

What size bond referendum is District 64 considering placing on this fall’s ballot and how would the funds be allocated across project types?
The District seeks the community’s input on a $98.36 million bond measure, of which approximately 30% will go toward health, safety, and security upgrades, 32% toward mechanical and infrastructure improvements, 27% towards classroom improvements and 11% towards building additions. 

Would it cost more to address the proposed facility improvements if the District waits?
Yes. The cost becomes significantly higher each year the District waits.  For example, if the District waited for five years and construction inflation was 4%, the cost would increase by more than $21 million.

Which District 64 school has the greatest facility needs?
Lincoln Middle School has the most facility challenges by far, including outdated plumbing, HVAC, roofing, lighting, interior doors, and flooring. There is asbestos throughout the building, at 96 years old, and the instructional spaces, commons areas, and student support spaces are woefully outdated. 

Why not replace Lincoln Middle School?
Not only would it be much more expensive to replace Lincoln Middle School than to renovate it, but there is strong community support to protect and preserve the historic school. Many current residents have moved back to the District so their children can attend this iconic school. It is also much more sustainable to renovate the middle school. The carbon footprint impact of constructing a new school is significantly higher than renovating the existing school.

What facility needs have been identified at Emerson Middle School?
While the challenges are not to the same extent as those faced at Lincoln Middle School, Emerson has many facility needs, including outdated HVAC, roofing, plumbing, electrical and lighting, interior doors, and fencing. The science labs are also outdated, and the band, choir, and orchestra rooms are undersized. Additionally, the gym entrance has foundation issues, and the special education spaces are overcrowded and poorly configured. 

What are the highest-priority facility needs at District 64’s five elementary schools?
Like the two middle schools, there are a variety of pressing facility challenges at each of the elementary schools. Four of the schools have outdated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems and two of the schools have foundation issues. All of the elementary schools have aging roofing, plumbing, and electrical systems; dated, inefficient lighting; outdated interior doors and frames; and asbestos abatement needs. 

How did the District identify its capital facility needs?
The identification and prioritization of capital facility needs was accomplished through the continuation of a master facilities planning process.  This included a comprehensive audit of District 64’s facilities by architects and engineers; input from District leadership, staff, teachers, and community members; and other community engagement efforts.

Proposed Improvements

What health, safety, and security upgrades would be addressed with the proposed bond referendum?
The referendum would fund heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) upgrades at six schools, including improved air quality, replacement of aging interior doors and frames, new exterior fencing and railings, and asbestos abatement. 

What mechanical and infrastructure improvements are part of the bond proposal?
Bond proceeds would go toward improvements to foundations, roofing, gutters, plumbing, electrical, and lighting.

Which existing instructional spaces would be updated with bond proceeds?
The plan calls for upgrades to science labs as well as band, choir, and orchestra rooms at both middle schools.

What new construction projects are part of the bond proposal?
A portion of the bond proceeds would go toward an addition to Lincoln Middle School, which would include a cafeteria/commons area, kitchen, and serving area. Additions to accommodate special education programming and student support services are also planned for both Field Elementary School and Franklin Elementary School.

How would bond proceeds be divided between the middle and elementary schools?
Approximately 56% of the funds would go toward improvements to the two middle schools and 44% toward the five elementary schools.

Anticipated Benefits

What are the benefits of the proposed bond referendum?
There are many anticipated benefits, including:
  • Protecting academic excellence
  • Creating healthier, safer, and more secure schools
  • Investing in long-term solutions rather than funding costly and disruptive temporary fixes
  • Extending the useful life of existing facilities
  • Enhancing ADA-accessibility
  • Ensuring each District 64 student has access to a quality learning environment
  • Improving energy efficiency, saving taxpayer dollars
  • Attracting and retaining quality teachers
  • Protecting property values

By how much would the District’s utility expenses be reduced with the proposed districtwide improvements?
The District estimates that it could save more than $300,000 annually with updated HVAC systems, new LED lighting, and the replacement of failing plumbing.   
In addition to rising construction costs, why else are the proposed facility improvements urgent?
There is nothing more important than keeping students and staff healthy, safe, and secure, which the proposed improvements would help do. In addition, the condition, size, and/or configuration of classrooms, science labs, performing arts spaces, student support spaces, and teacher collaboration spaces are negatively impacting programming, student support, and the ability to attract and retain quality teachers. Furthermore, emergency repairs can be expensive and extremely disruptive to day-to-day programming.

What is the construction timeline, and how would programming disruption be minimized?
If voters approve the proposed bond referendum, construction would begin as soon as the Summer of 2025. It is estimated that all of the improvements could be completed within two years. Similar to the approach successfully used by Maine High School District 207, much of the work would be addressed during the summer months as well as during after-school hours.  

Funding Proposal/Taxes

What is the estimated tax impact of the proposed referendum?
The following is a breakdown of the estimated annual tax impact of the proposed 20-year, $98.36 million bond measure by home value as determined by the County Assessor:
Fair Market Value Tax Impact
$350,000 $331
$500,000 $488
$750,000 $749

2024 Proposal Tax Calculator

District 64 has created a tax calculator as a convenient way to estimate the impact the proposed bond referendum would have on your taxes. Enter the “Fair Market Value” found on your most recent Cook County property tax bill. Then indicate with Yes or No the various exemptions for which you as a Cook County homeowner may qualify. The calculator is intended to estimate the increase in the bond portion of the District 64 tax bill only. Does not include property taxes paid to other governments (e.g. city, park district, county, etc.). 

Opportunities To Provide Feedback

How can district residents provide input on the funding proposal?
  • Tuesday, April 9th - 7 pm - Lincoln Middle School 
  • Saturday, April 27th - 9:30 am - Lincoln Middle School
  • Wednesday, May 8th - 7 pm - Lincoln Middle School

Additional questions and feedback can be sent to, and you can find more information at

Together We Discover, Learn, Grow & Care

At D64, our mission is to foster opportunities for discovery, engagement, and growth for all students. We accomplish this by nurturing interdependence, appreciation of differences, and care for self and others.

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