Joliet Public Schools Seeks $99.5M Referendum for Building Upgrades

After many months of discussions and presentations at school board meetings that began last summer, the Joliet Public Schools District 86 Board of School Inspectors approved a resolution at their January 11 meeting to submit a proposition to place a $99,500,000 bond referendum on the April 4, 2023, ballot.

The debt issuance that Joliet Public Schools District 86 is considering requires voter approval. The following question will be on the April 4, 2023 ballot. A referendum question needs 50% approval, plus one additional “yes” vote to be successful:

Shall the Board of School Inspectors of Joliet School District Number 86, Will County, Illinois, alter, repair and equip existing school buildings, including but not limited to improving safety and security, replacing roofs, plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems, renovating science labs, classrooms and other instructional spaces, installing certain Americans with Disabilities Act compliance measures and updating technology infrastructure; build and equip two school buildings to replace the Hufford Junior High School and Gompers Junior High School Buildings; build and equip an addition to the Jefferson Elementary School Building; improve sites; and issue bonds of said School District to the amount of $99,500,000 for the purpose of paying the costs thereof?

If approved, most of the money will be used to replace two junior high schools — Gompers Junior High (originally built in 1958) and Hufford Junior High School (built in 1956). In addition, four classrooms and a multipurpose room will be added at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School.

Remaining funds will be used for restroom renovations, security upgrades, and the technology infrastructure will be addressed at all schools throughout the school district. The average age of Joliet District 86’s schools is 68 years.

“The impact of these investments will provide high-quality, innovative, and equitable learning spaces for students, teachers, and families across our district,” said Erick Deshaun Dorris, President of the Joliet Public Schools District 86 Board of School Inspectors in a press release.

“Thankfully, we are able to borrow these funds without increasing the debt service tax rate.”

Additional facility improvement planning information and comprehensive details about the proposal, including a tax estimator tool, is posted on the school district’s website at

Joliet Public Schools District 86 is the third largest elementary school district in Illinois, with a student enrollment of approximately 9,620 and 1,669 employees.



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