DARIEN -- On the same night the Delavan-Darien School District passed a multi-million dollar referendum to boost its depleted teaching staff, Darien residents voted to explore leaving the district.
Darien residents made one thing clear Tuesday, they were not happy the district closed their only school. Now, a committee will be formed to see if leaving the district is in their best interest.
Darien resident Pat Fiegel isn’t afraid to admit she voted against Delavan-Darien’s $2.8 million school referendum on Tuesday and for Darien to explore creating its own school district.
“We’ve got this big, empty building sitting there and why?” Fiegel said.
After a failed referendum in the spring followed by a major bookkeeping error, the district decided to close Darien Elementary and cut nearly 40 teacher positions. Tuesday night’s passed referendum brings back 18 of those teacher jobs, but makes no mention of reopening Darien Elementary.
“I think they think we don’t count," Fiegel said. "That’s the way I felt, was Darien doesn’t count."
Darien put a questionnaire on their ballots, asking voters if they want the village to create a community group to determine if ending their school district partnership with Delavan is in their best interest. 64-percent of voters said yes.
“We want them as part of our district, we need them,” said Delavan-Darien School Board President Dr. Jeff Scherer.
Sherer admits he's concerned about Darien possibly leaving.
"We were hit with circumstances and we had to make a decision quickly and that’s just what happened,” Sherer said.
Despite Darien’s small population of 1,600, Fiegel believes they’d be better off with their own schools.
“They did before I don’t know why they couldn’t do it again,” she said.
The Darien village president said the community group will be formed by the end of the month. Eventually, Darien residents will vote on whether to split from Delavan.