AMBOY – The school district referendum asking for a $15.8 million upgrade to Amboy High School and a new home for the junior high failed by a slim margin Tuesday.
The referendum, which asked voters to approve a property tax increase to issue bonds to fund the project, failed 716 to 769, or 48.22 percent to 51.78 percent, according to unofficial election results.
Taxpayers would have paid an extra 86 cents per $100 of equalized assessed value, an additional $235 annually for a $100,000 home.
The project was meant to be the answer to the question of what to do about the nearly century old Amboy Junior High School at 140 S. Appleton Ave. that’s in need of improvements.
Nichole Stenzel, co-chairwoman for the 272 Kids (Knowledge, Infrastructure, Development, Students) Committee formed to educate the community on the referendum, said it was a great turnout with a fairly split vote, and they want to know what to do differently next time if the school board decides to pursue the referendum again in November.
“The fact is that Amboy has a 96-year-old building, and the people of the district are going to need to figure out what to do with the building,” Stenzel said.
The project proposed to add about 54,000 square feet onto the high school at 11 E. Hawley St., and included a new gym, front entrance, art room and media center library as well as a two-story addition for the new junior high school, with its own cafeteria, administration office and about 20 classrooms separate from the high school.