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Petition to put District 15 bond sale on ballot questioned
By Kimberly Pohl | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 4/20/2010 12:01 AM

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A petition that would force a referendum on a $27 million District 15 school bond issue contains about 1,800 questionable signatures, two Palatine residents said Monday.

They've filed a challenge to the petition, which if upheld by a review panel, would allow the school board to proceed with the bond issue immediately without taking it to referendum.

Opponents of the loan approved by the Palatine Township Elementary District 15 school board thought they had plenty of signatures. They collected 7,500 signatures, about 1,200 more than the 6,339 they needed. The number required is 10 percent of registered voters in District 15.

"A lot of detail has to be followed in the way you present and execute a petition," election attorney James Nally said. "We just want to make sure everything was presented correctly and complies with the law."

Nally was hired by Susan MacDonald and Theodore Grabbe, who support the school board's decision to issue $10 million in working cash bonds as part of the financing plan. They issued a statement that the petition may not have been presented in a fair manner to signers.

"We are concerned that electioneering and misrepresentation by some will have a negative impact on the quality of education in our excellent school district," their news release said.

According to election law, Nally said, the next step is to convene an electoral board made up of board President Gerald Chapman, Secretary June Becker and the longest-serving board member. That would be Tim Millar, one of the three board members who voted against the $27 million bond issue.

The proceedings are usually conducted within five days of the filing of an objection, Nally said. The electoral board will render a decision as to whether the petition remains valid.

Of the 1,800 signatures identified as questionable, Nally said some are from people who aren't registered voters, while others are photocopied when law requires they be original signatures.