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-PottiesIn 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 GameIn 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.
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