Last Saturday nearly 90 people braved the cold to knock on doors trying to build support for District 208 $58.8 million bond referendum question that will be on the March 21 ballot.
The volunteers included community members, parents of RB students, close to 30 RB faculty members and between 15 and 20 current RB students, according to Bill McCloskey, the chairman of Citizens for RB, the group formed to advocate for a yes vote on the bond referendum.
Groups of two canvassers each went door to door to distribute a brochure advocating for passage of the referendum and also offered voters a DVD that showed the condition of RB and featured interviews with students and faculty. The turnout of canvassers was “more than we anticipated,” according to McCloskey.
“We hit all but 10 precincts [of the 38 precincts in the district],” said McCloskey.
RB softball coach and retired Brookfield police lieutenant, Dan Hull, canvassed in his hometown of 50 years.
“I didn’t have anyone say no,” said Hull. “They either said yes or that they were still deciding.”
Hull said that there have been a lot of young families who have moved to Brookfield recently and who were very concerned about schools for their children.
Brookfield voters are also faced with voting on a tax hike referendum from Brookfield-LaGraneg Park Elementary School District 95. But Hull said that he got a mostly favorable response from parents of elementary school students.
McCloskey teamed with RB Assistant Principal John Passarella and knocked on doors in LaGrange Park.
“I was very impressed by the senior citizen response in LaGrange Park,” said McCloskey. “They understood the issue. They value RB. Most had kids who graduated from RB in the ’70s. The response was very encouraging.”
RB Principal/Superintendent Jack Baldermann went door to door in his Riverside neighborhood and said that he was pleased with the response of his neighbors.
“It was overwhelmingly positive,” said Baldermann. “Of course, there were a few people who were opposed.”
Canvassing will continue each weekend until the vote.
The purpose of canvassing is the spread the message, distribute information and to identify supporters of the referendum.
McCloskey said that Citizens for RB projects that 4,000 to 5,000 yes votes would be enough to pass the referendum. That goal is based on an expected voter turnout of around 60 percent. The expected voter turnout was provided by a consultant affiliated with the district architect, Wight & Co.
Results from the canvassing were still being calculated Monday, and McCloskey said that he did not yet know how many supporters of the referendum were identified on Saturday, but said that he was very encouraged by the response the canvassers received.