Local Election

Early results: Voters OK McHenry District 156 referendum, defeat recreation center expansion

McHenry Township referendum is failing, according to early results

Superintendent Ryan McTague address the attendees during a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new incubator program at McHenry High School West Campus on Friday, Aug. 24, 2018.
Superintendent Ryan McTague address the attendees during a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new incubator program at McHenry High School West Campus on Friday, Aug. 24, 2018.

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McHenry area voters had mixed opinions on the referendums on the ballot Tuesday, early and unofficial results from the McHenry County Clerk's Office show.

McHenry District 156

Voters, according to unofficial results as of about 8:50 p.m. Tuesday, favor a $44 million ask by McHenry High School District 156.

The county has reported 95 percent of precincts for the question and 56.37 percent of voters – 4,874 votes – voted to approve the referendum with 43.63 percent – 3,773 votes – against it, according to early results.

McHenry High School District 156 plans to renovate McHenry West and turn McHenry East into a “freshman only” school.

Officials have said the proposal will allow more equity for students, particularly sophomores, juniors and seniors who currently commute from campus to campus to take advantage of specialty courses only offered at one school or the other.

One in five McHenry District 156 students travel between campuses for courses, district officials have said. McHenry East has 774 students and McHenry West has 1,452 students. Wonder Lake-based Harrison District 36 and McHenry District 15 both feed into District 156.

McHenry East is projected to fall below 700 students over the next three years and West Campus is expected to rise to almost 1,600 students in the same time period, based on district projections.

The proposal could be in place by the 2020-21 school year, district officials said.

A resident with a $200,000 home pays about $273 toward the district’s expiring bonds. If the referendum is approved, those payments would be replaced, and the same taxpayer would pay about $208 annually in property taxes to pay for the new building bonds, which would take 20 years to pay off, according to district documents.

City of McHenry

The city of McHenry also had a referendum on the ballot, which asked voters to allow the city to take out up to $30 million in bonds to expand the recreation center, which would include an indoor pool, and create a family aquatic center in the city.

Early results show voters may defeat the ask Tuesday.

The measure is failing as of 8:45 p.m. Tuesday with 96 percent of precincts reported.

Nearly 60.8 percent of voters – 2,937 votes – were against the proposal and 39.21 percent of voters – 1,894 people – were for it, according to early results.

Officials originally estimated that the cost to a homeowner with a $168,000 home would be about about $180 annually in property taxes for 20 years.

The existing multimillion-dollar Recreation Center opened in 2016 and was built with $4 million in funding the department had saved from developer donations over the years. It was designed with space allotted for an indoor pool addition and expansion.

McHenry Township

A McHenry Township referendum that aimed to abolish the road district looks to be headed to defeat Tuesday, unofficial results show.

The referendum asks voters whether the McHenry Township Road District should be abolished.

McHenry County has reported 95 percent of its precincts on the question with 7,072 voters against abolishment and 3,127 voters for it, according to early results.

McHenry Township would take on the district responsibilities and power if the referendum had been successful.

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