School Bus Fleet Relocated for CL South Home Game; Local Leaders Offer to Serve as Mediators

Former District 155 school board members offer to step in and work toward a resolution regarding the Crystal Lake South High School bleacher battle.

Due to a rainout on Friday night, the first football games with the new bleachers at Crystal Lake South High School were held Saturday, Aug. 31. Photo taken during 2nd quarter of varsity game.
Due to a rainout on Friday night, the first football games with the new bleachers at Crystal Lake South High School were held Saturday, Aug. 31. Photo taken during 2nd quarter of varsity game.

Former District 155 School Board members have offered to serve as mediators in an effort to find a resolution to the bleacher dispute at Crystal Lake South High School.

Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley said he and current District 155 School Board President Ted Wagner received letters this past Friday from former school board members Patricia Philpot, Robert Boncosky and local attorney Jim Bishop.

In the letter, the group offered to meet with city and school leaders to serve as mediators in hopes of finding a resolution to the ongoing legal battle over the new $1.18 million football stadium at Crystal Lake South High School. 

"My first reaction was, of course, we'd be willing to listen," Shepley said.

"But, my second reaction was that we can't have a discussion without having the neighbors involved. We (the city) don't have a lawsuit against the district, the neighbors do. We were brought into this (lawsuit) by the school district, and if there's going to be a discussion, the neighbors have to be there."

Attorneys for the city, District 155, the neighbors and McHenry County Regional Superintendent of Schools Leslie Schermerhorn are scheduled to appear in court again at 2 p.m. today, Thursday, Sept. 5.

Purple Port-o-Potties

In the meantime, Shepley told fellow city council members on Tuesday night that, so far, no one from District 155 or Crystal Lake South High School has taken responsibility for placing five purple port-o-potties under the new home bleachers this past Friday morning, just hours before the Gators' first home football games were scheduled to start.

The portable toilets were placed in full view of the neighbors' backyards - the same neighbors who have filed a lawsuit against District 155, charging school officials failed to follow the city's zoning application and approval process to construct the massive-sized structure that stands 51 feet tall, is triple the width of the previous stands and lies 41 feet from their property lines.

"It seems like no one's taking responsibility for who put those port-o-potties there," Shepley said. "During some conversations with school officials, the discussion seems to be, 'Let's all agree, (the port-o-potties) don't look good there.'"

District 155 has not yet replied to a Patch inquiry asking whether the portable toilets will remain under the bleachers, be relocated, or removed after each game. 

The Gators' home football games against Marian Central Catholic High School were cancelled Friday night due to severe storms in the area. Makeup games were held Saturday afternoon, and the crowd of spectators filled about one-third of the new home bleachers.

The football stadium constructed this past summer can hold upwards of 3,900 people. Lawyers for the homeowners said Crystal Lake South High School needs 680 additional parking spaces to accommodate such a sizable structure. 

School Buses Relocated for Game

In the meantime, on the other side of town, Mayor Shepley said he was disappointed to awaken Saturday morning to see District 155-47 Joint Transportation Department had moved its fleet of school buses from the headquarters at Crystal Lake South High School, 1200 S. McHenry Ave., to provide additional parking spaces for potential spectators of the Gators' games.

"We woke up Saturday morning to a new school bus parking lot at Crystal Lake Central High School," Shepley said. "Buses were parked on the front lawn, near the Little League fields, and along the side of the school." 

Shepley said he was concerned additional tax dollars were used to pay bus drivers to spend Friday evening moving school buses to provide the additional parking spaces at South, which were not needed on Saturday, he said.

"That (bus) parking lot was empty Saturday," Shepley said. "I don't think there was a car in it."

"One of the school bus drivers said the plan was to move the school buses for every South home game," Shepley said. "I don't know what they're going to do when South has a home game and Central has a home game. Are they going to move all the school buses to Prairie Ridge?"

District 155 has not yet responded to a Patch inquiry as to whether the buses will be moved for every South home game. 

Related Stories:

Just Delivered: 5 Port-O-Potties Unders Crystal Lake South Bleachers

CL South Bleachers Inspected; Court Proceedings Continue

Bleachers: District 155 May Challenge City's Zoning Code if Forced to Follow Process

Petition Supports City in Bleachers Dispute

CL South Fans May Get to Use Bleachers- For Now; Legal Battle Continues

District 155 Extends Court Battle to Include City of Crystal Lake, Regional Superintendent

CL South Neighbors File Lawsuit Against District 155; Football Season in Flux

District 155 Installs Massive New Bleachers at CL South High School Without City Approval

'Battle of the Bleachers' Continues Between District 155 and City of Crystal Lake 

CL Mayor Asks District 155 to Stop Work on Bleachers and Obtain Zoning Approval

Stop Work Order from City to District 155 for CL South Bleachers
Roger Brock September 05, 2013 at 09:18 AM
Whoever is responsible for this mess at Dist. 155 should be fired and then they should go through the proper City departments to obtain legal building permits etc. This is getting ridiculous.
John Jacob September 05, 2013 at 09:59 PM
Is there a legal issue with the portable toilets or is it just about the look and smell that can be observed from the neighbor's yard? I don't think it is illegal for the school to put port-o-potties on their own property.
Concerned Citizen September 06, 2013 at 05:32 PM
What I cannot understand is where the money came from to begin with. Spending $1.18 million dollars on bleachers. I am a taxpayer of this town and this is not how I want our tax dollars spent. So when the new tax bills come out and our taxes go up again, I am going to fight like heck to have them lowered. I am also going to keep copies of all this ridiculous spending and ask the darn city to go to the schools for my tax bill. People all over this town are having to cut back on everything and D155 decides, after raising school fees, that they can go on a spending spree. Come next fall, how about cutting salaries, school fees and our taxes!
Concerned Citizen September 10, 2013 at 10:21 AM
Who made the decision to move the school buses and how much money was spent for the employees to move these buses. I am appalled by the incompetence of the head of D155. They should be fired and should have to return their salary to pay for this entire mess! To spend our money analyzing how these bleachers affect property values is ridiculous. You can look at any pictures, for free, and see that no one in their right mind would ever buy those homes, or is it the next goal of D155 to buy those homes for dirt cheap and put in their needed 680 parking spots, without a permit?


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