How Prospect seniors might sway a referendum


A Prospect student registers to vote with a Cook County registrar for the March 20 referendum of District 57. The outcome of the referendum will determine if Lincoln Middle School, one of Prospect’s main feeder schools, will keep its art and music programs.

By Ayse Eldes, copy editor
Junior Mike Tuleo had played violin in 4th grade but quickly picked up the trumpet in 7th grade, when he watched Lincoln Middle School’s band director play the Flight of the Bumblebee. That was the moment that defined Tuleo’s passion for music and decision to pursue music in college.
“Band and music are such great things in people’s lives,” Tuleo siad. “I mean it changed my life, so a lot of people would miss out on the opportunity.”
According to Tuelo, most of the Prospect Marching Knights is made up of Lincoln graduates, which is why Tuelo and his mom took to social media to bring awareness to the upcoming District 57 referendum. Because of looming budget cuts in District 57, Lincoln Middle School and other district schools face the possibility of losing their arts and music programs if the March 20 referendum does not pass. These cuts would affect the success of Prospect’s music program, according to Tuleo.
On Feb. 7 and Feb. 8, a deputy registrar from the Cook County Clerk’s office was at Prospect to register voters during lunch periods. All students who will be 18 years old by the November Senate elections are eligible to vote in March. Online registration ends on March 4, but students who want to donate, volunteer or get involved can do so with the Citizens Committee for Education located in Mt. Prospect.  
According to the President of the Citizens Committee for Education John Krupa, if additional funding to the district through property taxes is approved in March, it will be only enough to sustain the buildings’ maintenance as is. District 57 Superintendent Dr. Elaine Aumiller presented the financial situation of the district in a public informational meeting.
Even with proposed increase in property taxes, District 57 School Board President Joe Sonnefeldt points to flaws in the general school funding system that need change. Sonnefeldt, who will be on the March 20 ballot for Illinois State Senate, wants to lessen dependence on property taxes and make changes in Tax Incremental Financing, or TIF, districts that reallocate school funding.
“I think what a lot of people don’t understand about public education in Illinois every district is unique and has its unique challenges,” Sonnefeldt said.  
The Prospector will continue coverage on the District 57 referendum developments. Check out the upcoming March edition of the Prospector for more information.