Voters approve Amboy school referendum


AMBOY — Second time is the charm for the Amboy schools.

Voters took the polls on Tuesday and voted to approve the $15.8 million bond to build a new Amboy Junior High as an extension onto the current Amboy High School.

The referendum was approved by an unofficial vote of 1,089 yes vote to 983 no votes.

Amboy Superintendent Joshua Nichols said, “I’m very excited - that lasted a few minutes and then I realized now I have a lot of work to do.

“Amboy always supports their schools and they demonstrated that again today. What people are willing to do for for students really impressed me. I really appreciate it.”

Nichols added that these results couldn’t have happened without the support of 272 Kids.

“We couldn’t have done this without the help of parent/community group 272 KIDS,” Nichols said. “This time I think people were more willing and open to take the tours and understand the issues. Even people who had voted no in March and people who were on the fence were willing to listen.

“I think we really focused on the messaging and 272 KIDS really helped with that. We worked to provide as much information as possible and tried to be consistent.” 

More voters turned out for this election than the first time around in March. In March the referendum was defeated with 773 voting no to 717 voting yes.

“I think we had a very good turn out this time, a lot of people came out to vote,” Nichols said.

Now that the referendum has passed, what are the next steps the school will take?

“Next steps - We are working with CTS (construction managers) but we’ll have to get a new architect firm. Then we’ll have to sell the bonds and create focus groups to help design what will actually be built. We have a concept but not the actual blueprint,” Nichols said. “CTS estimated it will take about two years to finish the building. We should be able to break ground next spring. The good thing is, we’ll be able to work year round because it will be a separate building.”

Nichols says this new extension was the best decision in the long run.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for us and I really appreciate the community’s support. I understand the sentiment toward the old building but it comes down to dollars and cents. This was the best decision in the long run,” Nichols said.  “The old junior high was a very good building and it has served the community for many years. It’s done it’s job and served us well. I hope the new building will do as well.

“I really appreciate 272 KIDS and the community. People sacrificed a lot for this. I’m very glad people supported the kids in this school district.”

Also on the ballot on Tuesday were the slate of state of Illinois officials.

Democratic candidate JB Pritzker was elected as Illinois’ new Governor defeating incumbent Bruce Rauner. Democrat Kwame Raoul defeated Republican Erika Harold for the position of Illinois Attorney General. Incumbent Democrat Susana Mendoza defeated Republican former state Rep. Darlene Senger to hold the position of Illinois Comptroller.

For a seat in the US Congress 16th District, Republican incumbent Adam Kinzinger defeated his Democratic opponent Sara Dady.

At the Illinois State House, incumbent Republican Tom Demmer was leading the polls with 53 of 199 precincts reporting as of press time.