Unofficial election results show that the Oak Park and River Forest High School District 200 facilities referendum has failed.

According to the Cook County Clerk’s office, with all 45 precincts reporting, 118 more votes had been cast against the ballot measure than for it. Out of 34,178 ballots cast, 17,266 were ‘yes’ while 17,384 were ‘no.’ Records showed that 80 percent of registered voters weighed in on the measure.

Referendum supporters, who were huddled inside of Hamburger Mary’s, 155 S. Oak Park Ave., said that the race could still likely extend into Wednesday, when absentee ballots would finally be factored into the vote total.

Wayne Franklin, a referendum supporter and campaign volunteer, said that those absentee ballots might come from recent OPRF graduates, but he wasn’t entirely sure. In addition, he couldn’t tell whether or not they’d be enough to make up the gap.

Attempts to contact Monica Sheehan, who spearheaded the campaign against the referendum, were not successful.

The referendum, which the D200 school board approved unanimously in August, asked voters to pay for a $44.5 million, five-year facilities plan with no more than $25 million in referendum bonds. The remaining $20 million will come out of the district’s fund balance.

The plan would entail demolishing the village-owned, 300-space garage and constructing an estimated $21.4 million, 25-yard by 40-meter swimming pool, in addition to a roughly 240-space new parking garage, on the site of the old one. The high school would also expand performing arts and learning spaces, and renovate classroom space, on campus.

District 200 board members have noted in the past that if the referendum fails, the process of finding a suitable alternative to the high school’s existing 88-year-old swimming pools would start all over again. 

This article has been updated to correct for the difference in vote margin. Wednesday Journal regrets this error.

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