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ELECTION 2013: New school not in Butler District 53's future

OAK BROOK — District 53's wish wasn't granted Tuesday, as residents voted against the construction of a new school on the Sports Core property.

Both referenda failed, the first of which sought approval for the village to sell 8.5 acres of land from the Sports Core to District 53. That referendum failed with 2,113 "no" votes to 665 "yes."

The second referendum question asked residents to approve financing a $15 million bond for constructing a new school, which also failed — 1,234 "yes" to 469 "no."

"We knew it would be an uphill battle," said Alan Hanzlik, District 53 school board president. "We felt though that educating people would show this would be the right solution."

The decision to build a new school came after a life safety report revealed it would cost less to build a new school and maintain it than to keep the district's two older buildings, Butler and Brook Forest.

Hanzlik said there were several pieces of misinformation that were given to residents, one of which concerned how much land the district was asking for, but had no regrets in the district's goal to get approval from residents and the village.

"What we are grateful for is that we ran an honest campaign," Hanzlik said.

During a roundtable discussion in late February, some Oak Brook village trustee candidates supported the idea of constructing a new school, including Mark Moy, who was elected on Tuesday.

"I think a new school would be good for Oak Brook," Moy said during that discussion. "It will improve our image, it will improve our revenues, it will improve our property value and all other good things will come."

When asked during the February roundtable what a plan B would be if the referenda failed, Hanzlik said he didn't have one and was confident this was the right decision.

On Tuesday, Hanzlik reiterated that the board did not have a back-up plan and would review other options moving forward.

Vote totals are unofficial until certified.

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