When the Batavia School Board makes decisions, it doesn’t care one bit what the people who must pay for their pet projects think. When 8,627* voters, by a margin of roughly 3-t0-1, tell the School Board “no” to borrowing $15 million in bonds for capital projects and saddling taxpayers with the cost, do you think they would listen? NO!
On Jan 12, the Board voted to seek $12 million in bonds for capital projects from the federal government through the state. Since there is some competition for the bonds, they may not get them. But why seek them when the voters said “no”?
Then on Jan 26, the Board by unanimous vote approved artificial turf for the football stadium. The turf includes crumb rubber infill, which has raised concerns because of a possible link to cancer (along with excessive heat, turf burns, environmental impact, concussions, knee injuries, etc.). The board believes that the thin layer of cork composite they will spread over the rubber is enough to safeguard the kids.
The Board would not consider a referendum to ask the taxpayers who must fund $600,000 of it initially (with hopes of reimbursement of $300k over the next 3-5 yrs), nor the parents whose children must play on it (they want to use it for P.E. classes), if they want the turf. Over 220 citizens signed a petition requesting a referendum. Many others wrote to the Board. But if 8,000+ citizens’ voices were ignored, why would a few hundred matter?
Oh, and this is just the start. The spending spree has just begun. After they put in the turf, they will want to upgrade the bleachers, pressbox, and lighting ($1.43 million), because they can’t have new turf in old surroundings. Wait and see……
Then there’s the taxpayer-funded preschool that they just approved (cost to taxpayers: over $30,000/yr) and the upcoming discussion of full-day kindergarten that seems to have strong support on the Board (cost to taxpayers: $680,000 1st year, $560,000 every year following).
Never mind there is no money for all this. Even the committee they put together to prioritize and recommend capital projects for the next 4 yrs on Jan 12 recommended AGAINST installing turf. But the Board had its mind made up. Let no one stand in their way. Taxpayers be damned.
*Kane County + Aurora Election Commission results