Three Governmental Entities Now Involved in District 155 Bleacher Controversy

The date stamp on this photo of the old South High School bleachers is Sept. 22, 2006.

The date stamp on this photo of the old South High School bleachers is Sept. 22, 2006.

Wednesday morning was the time set for consideration of a Temporary Restraining Order on District 155’s football field brought by Amberwood Drive property owners, including Jean and McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi.  Bianchi is not suing in his official capacity.

This is the August 8, 2013, view.

This is the August 8, 2013, view.

The question concerns the completion of the grandstand, which is much higher than the old bleachers.

The case first went before Judge Michael Chmiel.

Then it was shunted to Judge Michael Caldwell.

Both recused themselves.

It ended up in front of Associate Judge Thomas Meyer who set it for a Friday hearing.

Judge Meyer said that he didn’t see much difference between the stadium seating being 95% completed and 100% completed.

Before the hearing, High School District 155 got the City of Crystal Lake and Leslie Schermerhorn, the Regional Superintendent of Education.  Bianchi would normally handle that office’s legal affairs, but that seems unlikely considering the State’s Attorney’s involvement.


Three Governmental Entities Now Involved in District 155 Bleacher Controversy — 14 Comments

  1. The CHSD 155 Board and Superintendent really blew it on this one.
    Let’s say CHSD 155 did follow the letter of the law to the T.
    They still should have sent a letter to residents informing them what was being proposed.
    This type of process happens all the time in public school districts.
    Meaning decisions are made at school board meetings and the school district doesn’t do enough to inform residents what’s happening.
    The problem is especially bad in Illinois because Illinois politics are frequently nasty and convoluted there is nothing more political than a public school district.
    State laws should be changed regarding ROE authority to authorize public school capital projects without village involvement.
    And if CHSD 155 doesn’t video and audio tape Board meetings and post them on their website, school board policy should be changed to implement video and audio taping of Board meetings.
    Many school districts video and audio tape board meetings and post them on their website.
    Taxpayers are getting ripped off when board meetings are not taped and indefinitely archived.
    Who has time to go to a 1, 2, or 3 hour Board meeting on a weeknight?
    The public should have the ability to read a school board agenda then fast forward the tape to the item of interest.
    Here’s yet another example of how poorly the press covers public school board meetings.
    Why didn’t the press print an article about tall bleachers being proposed at CHSD 155 replacing much shorter bleachers?
    Presumably because they didn’t attend the minimum two board meetings where the item was discussed.
    First the item has to be approved.
    The item cannot be approved at the meeting at which it is proposed.
    So there would have been a second meeting at minimum at which the item was approved.
    And if there’s not tape, who’s to say what was and was not discussed at those board meetings?
    Now if CHSD 155 had bothered to put out a press release about new taller bleachers being proposed, the press would have printed that.
    Much of what you read in most newspapers about school districts is simply copied from press releases or maybe the newspaper calls the district about the issue to ask additional questions.
    The press typically doesn’t attend each and every school board meeting.
    What is else is CHSD 155 not telling residents that they really should know?
    It would be a little easier to discover with indefinitely archived video and audio taped board meetings.

  2. Ummmmm, maybe this question has not been asked:

    Who owns the property?

    This still is America, isn’t it?

  3. Skeptic,

    Come on….”Who owns the property?
    This still is America, isn’t it?”

    Owning a piece of property doesn’t give you the right to do anything you please on the property. Didn’t you ever hear of building and zoning ordinances?

  4. Entities typically need village zoning approval for construction projects and school districts should be no different.

  5. Why wouldn’t the district want the city involved in the building & planning of this stadium? Why are they just relying on the subcontractor to ok the structure? What if the contractor made a mistake & these bleachers can’t hold 3800 people? I wouldn’t want to sit on these bleachers without the city’s engineering dept. approving them.

  6. The decision of CHSD 155 administration to not involve the neighbors in the tall bleacher approval process is one example of why some teachers want a union.

    School district administration and management can make some really dumb decisions if there are inadequate checks and balances.

    Even though most those in administration and management were previously teachers.

    There are all kinds of reasons as to why the district might not want to get the city involved in the tall bleacher project.

    I just looked at CHSD 155 Board Minutes to determine what was said about bleachers.
    Guess what.
    The Adobe pdf documents are not searchable!
    Red flag.
    If the CHSD chose to be transparent, the Adobe pdf documents would be searchable.
    Meaning for instance one could click the “find button” and type “bleacher” to search on bleacher.
    Some school districts have searchable board minutes, some do not.
    If one is creating an Adobe document, it’s easy to make the document searchable.
    So if CHSD 155 is creating non searchable board minutes, is it because CHSD does not want the public to search the board minutes?
    CHSD receives an F for searchable board minutes.
    The Superintendent has a PHd and the district doesn’t even have searchable board minutes?
    All those high paid administrators and employees with benefits typically 20% better than the private sector, yet no searchable board minutes.
    All those tax dollars, yet no searchable board minutes.
    All those elected school board members representing the public, yet no searchable board minutes.
    How about the minutes the school board and administration receives in their board packet before the board meetings, are those copies searchable?

  7. Anybody, Skeptic included, who says that they would be OK with this monstrosity going up in their back yard with no work from the district; anybody who says they would be fine with that is the worst kind of liar.

  8. If this was done illegally, which seems to be the case here,
    and in my backyard, as in the pictures,
    I would use a farm tractor and chains and pull this monstrosity
    down in the middle of the night.
    This is hubris on steroids.

    As homeowners and taxpayers who reside inside School District #155, I am appalled at the example you are setting for our students. I don’t believe anyone would argue that new stadium seating was needed. We do, however, question the size, placement, flooding issues and safety of the new stands.
    We do question how you could spend $1.2 million without having the project checked out by the city. The city asked you for your plans, they asked you to work with them. And… you said “NO”! You don’t believe that you have to follow the rules. It appears that you are following the same “bullying tactics” that you teach our children not to use with their peers. Your actions of non compliance speak louder than words!

  10. Paul,

    Most often, I agree with you. But, property ownership is crucial to a free society. The people who live right next to the High School know there are benefits and negatives. This is a negative.

    I’d be upset too. But property rights should trump the local people being upset. Can the High School determine what the neighbors then do to their lawns? What trees they decide to place in their lawn? When does this end?

    Freedom requires bravery. The NIMBY argument is a wussy argument

  11. setbacks and Hieght restrictions are there to protect the folks that were there before ….same with stormwater obligations… If these folks don’t get their due process then why should any of us expect it? Stupidity is not bravery

  12. You can look at all of the photos of these new bleachers you want but until you actually go look at them for yourself you don’t get the real picture of how large they actually are.

    Had these been on the other side of the field the new bleachers would never have been a problem at all.

  13. So what are people REALLY upset about, because there seem to be a few different items. Too big? No courtesy notice? Drainage? Too close to property line? Ordinances? Cost? Age? ADA? Seems like lots of points, but no unified central reason.

    “If they had been on the other side…” tells me your central problem is about size. But to others, size isn’t everything.

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