Davidsmeyer Says New School Bonds Bill Provision Takes Power From Local Residents on Building Referendums

By Benjamin Cox on June 3, 2024 at 9:18am

State Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer says the state is doing too much with bonds.

Voting along party lines, the Illinois House early last Wednesday morning authorized the state to issue an additional $3.6 billion in state bonds, including $2 billion in general obligation bonds, and another $1 billion in Build Illinois bonds.

Also included in the bill, beginning on September 1st, no referendum shall be required to build or purchase a building for school classrooms or instructional purposes if, prior to the building or purchase of the building, the board determines, by resolution, that the building or purchase will result in an increase in prekindergarten or kindergarten classroom space in the district.

Davidsmeyer says that provision takes power out of the hands of local taxpayers: “You are taking people away from the opportunity to have a discussion on the needs of the school district, on the needs of the local community. I would urge everyone – if you look at these referendums, you would be surprised at how many pass – very few and the majority that do not pass. I think it is incumbent on the local school board and the local community to sell it to their community on why it’s needed and not just pass it and force it upon their constituents. I would urge everyone to think twice about this. The amount that we are increasing the bond limit, the use of borrowed funds – 30-year borrowed funds for today’s operating cash as well as going from a referendum, asking the people what they want, to non-referendum and not caring what the people want.”

The bill passed 72-38 early last Wednesday morning along party lines along with the state’s budget.