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Petition to stop Palatine Dist. 15 loan under review
By Kimberly Pohl | Daily Herald Staff

Sisters Kate Vanek, left, and Emma Vanek hold more than 800 pages of petitions that will force the $27 million bond sale approved by Palatine Township Elementary District 15 to referendum in November. Their mother Mary Vanek waits to deliver them.

 

Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

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Published: 4/14/2010 12:02 AM

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The Palatine Township Elementary District 15 board of education tonight will discuss how to proceed now that enough voters have objected to its $27 million bond sale to send the matter to referendum in November.

Meanwhile, proponents of the district's borrowing measure are meeting to review all 7,508 signatures to make sure the petition is valid.

One organizer is attorney Matt Flamm, the Democratic candidate for the 54th House District seat. He and other volunteers planned to meet Tuesday at the Palatine/Wheeling Township Democrats Office in Arlington Heights to comb over names. They'll meet again tonight.

"I'm not suggesting they're not valid, but I am suggesting they should be counted," Flamm said. "There are no official checks of these petitions, so someone should do it."

Flamm said he doesn't intend to politicize the petition review, though he did say there are more Democrats than Republicans involved in the process.

He personally believes the school board made a rational decision to issue the bonds, citing the opportunity to take advantage of Build America Bonds, or loans for capital projects in which the federal government rebates 35 percent of the interest.

His group will have to prove nearly 1,200 signatures should be nullified to negate the petition, since only about 6,300 registered voters living in District 15 needed to sign.

School board attorney Heather Brickman, a partner at Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn, said people have until Monday, April 19, to file an objection to the petition according to state statute. The board would then convene an electoral board to hear the objection and render a decision on whether the petition remains valid.

Should the petition withstand a challenge, Brickman said, the board can abandon the current plan and start over with a completely different type of bond issue. District 15 would have to retain bond counsel to recommend under what conditions such an offering was possible, she said.

"No one would want to minimize or evade the will of the petition signers," Brickman said. "They'd want to do something that would comply with the spirit of the statute."