D155 Bleacher Plea Fails

The Crystal Lake Planning and Zoning Commission voted without dissent to deny Crystal Lake High School District 155 permission to keep its stadium bleachers at South High School’s football field.

The Crystal Lake City Council chambers were not packed.

The Crystal Lake City Council chambers were not packed.

With the Amberwood neighbors’ suit having been won at both the McHenry County Circuit Court and the 2nd Appellate Court, the school district’s only hope for victory lies with the Illinois Supreme Court, to which the School Board has appealed the case.

School Superintendent Johnnie Thomas led off the  presentation.

School Superintendent Johnnie Thomas led off the presentation.

After a two hour and fifteen minute presentation by the school district, public comment was allowed.

Neighbors made emotional appeals concerning the loss of quality of life and property values.

One told of a letter from Algonquin Township Assessor Bob Kunz saying that he would have to compare their homes to homes next to a gravel mining operation.

Booster Club officials and South High School’s football coach and others told of the increased safety and access for the handicapped.

Nevertheless, when the presentations were completed, Commissioner Dave Goss went down the check list prepared by city staff, concluding that most of the findings of fact that would required for approval of the special use permit and variation had not been met.

Current placement of South High School's bleachers.

Current placement of South High School’s bleachers.

FGM Architects’ Josh Czerniak that it would cost $4-5 million to move the bleachers from the west side of the football field to the east side.

Erecting the bleachers cost $1.1 million.

The Crystal Lake Planning and Zoning Commission listen to Dr. Johnnie Thomas.

The Crystal Lake Planning and Zoning Commission listen to Dr. Johnnie Thomas.

It was pointed out by a member of the commission that their job was zoning not finances.

Testimony revealed that the bleachers were put on the west side so that the sun would not be in the faces of home team fans.

Those wishing to testify were sworn in.  Neighbors can be seen in front.

Those wishing to testify were sworn in. Neighbors can be seen in front.

A neighbor pointed out that in late August the sun set at 7:30, about the same time that Varsity games started.

One mother pointed out that the Junior Varsity played their games before sunset.

Before a vote was taken, Chairman Tom Hayden tried to find a middle ground, but the school district decided to take a vote instead.

A view of the old bleachers.

A view of the old bleachers.

Not one vote favored leaving the bleachers where they are.

After the meeting two newly-elected high school board members were asked their take on the decision.

“I’m overwhelmed,” said Adam Guss.

“I’m learning,” running mate Amy Blazier commented.


D155 Bleacher Plea Fails — 21 Comments

  1. This is stupidity of the highest order.

    The whole fiasco reads as a poorly written joke script.

  2. That’s just it, Duncan.

    They never were ALLOWED.

    In all their arrogance they just did it and never even asked for forgiveness, they just said F*** Y**! to those affected.

    The ONLY thing this board is good at is spending other people’s money.

    It’s got to stop and this is as good a place as any.

    There is no clear win for either side since it’s all coming out of the same pocket.

    These “lifer” idiots on the board (check their length of “service” and you’ll know who I’m talking about) need to be shown for the goofs that they are.

    Maybe when the courts tell them to just “burn all the money that has been spent” the taxpayers will rise up and vote these idiots out of office.

  3. In addition to the cost to move the bleachers, add all the other taxpayer costs, that being legal fees by the school district, not to mention the more soft costs of school district and judicial court time spent on the case.

    All because the high school district chose not to more fully involve the village of Crystal Lake in the approval process for the bleachers.

    CHSD 155 can do a much better job with transparency.

    District 155 still does not audio and videotape its school board meetings and post them its website.

    Also, District 155 does not post on its website, the state mandated report listing the salary and benefits of those employees contributing to the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) pension fund whom have a total compensation package that exceeds $75,000 per year.

    The law requiring the posting of compensation packages of such employees is Public Act 97-0609 (5 ILCS 120/7.3), which was Senate Bill 1831 (SB 1831) in the 97th General Assembly.

    PA 97-0609 has two posting options for the compensation report.

    1. “Within 6 business days after an employer participating in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund approves a budget, that employer must post on its website the total compensation package for each employee having a total compensation package that exceeds $75,000 per year.”

    2. “If an employer maintains a website, it may choose to post a physical copy of this information at the principal office of the employer in lieu of posting the information directly on the website; however, the employer must post directions on the website on how to access that information.”

    District 155 chose the less transparent option #2.

    Here is how District 155 addresses the issue on their website:

    “The data of P.A. 97-0609 is posted in District 155’s Human Resources Office and may be viewed in the office.”
    http://www.d155.org > Finance and Operations > Compensation Reports

    Here is more information about PA 97-0609 for those that want to research the issue further:
    http://www.ilga.gov > Public Acts > Public Acts/Leg. From Previous General Assemblies > Please select a General Assembly: 97 (2011 – 2012) > Go > Public Acts: Listing > Public Acts 097-0601 Thru 097-0700 > Public Act 097-0609 – SB 1831 – PEN CD-CHICAGO TEACHERS-SALARY

    So another lack of transparency by the CHSD 155 board, that being, not posting on its website the report detailing the compensation packages of employees who both contribute to the IMRF pension fund and whose compensation package is over $75,000.

    The effective date of the applicable section referenced above of PA 97-0609 was January 1, 2012.

    The CHSD 155 Board should require CHSD 155 for transparency reasons to post on its website the IMRF $75K+ Compensation Report for years 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015, and all future years.

  4. Duncan has an opinion on everything and rarely has a clue as to what he is talking about.

  5. The disrespect and the spending of the peoples money will continue until more and more people get involved and protest.

    The taxpayers should rise up and vote these idiots out of office.

    The people will not forget.

  6. It’s time for the district and its arrogant leaders to give it a rest.

    They need to do what’s right and not what they want.

    These home owners did nothing to you.

    Get out of their lives.

    If it was up to me I would take all the legal fees out of the pockets of the turkeys who thought it was right to do this to people.

    They would immediately lose their jobs and the board members who were involved would be thrown out of office with their names splattered all over the papers.

  7. $4 million to move the bleachers?

    Just buy the houses and rent them out of tear them down.

  8. Kinda misses the point Jason, but it might be an option, I doubt it.

    I’m not happy to know as a District #155 taxpayer I’ll get to help pay for this fiasco.

    CL South football is not worth it to me.

    Maybe the booster club or the A.D. would like to pick up this hefty tab

  9. The Booster Club President said they raised $30,000 per year.

  10. Who are these people dealing with?

    Four to five million!!

    Our high school district must be made of morons.

    Did any of you thieves figure out yet that it would be so much cheaper to rip down what you have and just put up new one million dollars bleachers on the East side?

    Like I said, it’s all a complete joke.

  11. I wonder what the scrap metal value of the monstrosity is.

    I assume it would be enough for someone to come in and tear them down at no expense to the district.

    Tear the darn thing down, then put a few tennis courts along that area, if the space is really needed.

  12. Are the D 155 lawyers going to be held accountable for this disaster?

    Did the new superintendent bring them with?

    Upon whose recommendation were these lawyers retained?

    Should they be sued for malpractice to recover damages or just fired?

  13. This sort of nonsense will not end until such time as the elected officials and public employees are held accountable, personally, for their actions.

    If we go out and violate the law, it is us who has to answer for the offense, pay the fine or do the time…

    There are instances where there is a knowing violation of the laws or regulations by individuals or in concert by a board.

    What are the elements of the criminal charge of official misconduct?

    I always thought that it was doing an illegal act or an act not permitted?

    Seems to me that if these officials had some skin in the game and had to defend themselves and, if unsuccessful, pay the consequences they might pay a bit more attention to the law.

    How would a 155 administrator feel about losing his job due to a conviction and his pension to boot?

    Hang one dead owl on the barn door and watch the others vanish!

  14. This district has gone downhill since Thomas has been hired.

    He and Wagner need to go.

  15. The District 155 spokesmen clearly still think they followed the law.

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