In final push, teachers union donates big to “Yes” effort in Hinsdale's $166 million referendum
The local teachers union has entered the battle over Hinsdale D86’s $166 million referendum in a big way, donating about $30,000 to the “Yes” side in the days before Tuesday's election.
Records with the State Board of Elections show that on Oct. 30, the Hinsdale High School Teachers Association, an affiliate of the Illinois Education Association, made donations of $15,400, $11,197 and $3,403 to Vote Yes for D86.
Burr Ridge resident, Zach Mottl, chairman of the grass roots effort to defeat the referendum, Do Better D86, called the donations “incestuous.”
“It’s unfortunate the teachers union and the district are using our own tax dollars against us in a desperate attempt to block the will of the people,” Mottl told West Cook News. “This is what tyranny looks like in a democracy.”
Mottl added that he was confident the voters would defeat the district’s referendum, “regardless of how dirty they play.”
In April 2017, a $76 million Hinsdale D86 referendum went down by a three-to-one margin. Of 87 precincts in DuPage and Cook counties, the referendum passed in only 17 precincts, according to the Chicago Tribune. All but one of those precincts were in Hinsdale or Oak Brook.
The fight over the referendum has inflamed emotions on both sides, with the district insisting its two high schools, Central and South, need the funds for repairs and upgrades.
Do Better D86 supporters say that district should rectify years of unequal treatment of the two high schools – Central has the better class and student activity offerings, opponents of the referendum say – before coming to the voters for more money.
Recently, a leader of the Vote Yes for D86 was allegedly caught stealing yard signs put up by Do Better D86. Also a man identified as Michael Ascher of Clarendon Hills, husband of another Vote Yes for D86 leader, Polly Clutts Ascher, was caught removing a sign urging voters to defeat the referendum.
In an email, Ascher wrote to West Cook News that the sign was placed "illegally on public property in violation of 10 ILCS 5/29-14.1 at the intersection of the Route 83 off ramp and Ogden Avenue."
"I picked up the sign and placed it flat on the ground to be retrieved by the sign owners who had illegally placed it there," Ascher said.
With interest, the $166 million referendum would cost taxpayers nearly a quarter of a billion dollars.