Officials in Medinah Elementary District 11 vowed more than a year ago to keep schools open as much as possible during the 39th annual Ryder Cup golf tournament next week, but they ultimately chose to cancel classes Sept. 27-28.
Officials said they notified parents months ago that the district would have a none-attendance day Thursday, which does not need to be made up at the end of the year. On Friday, the district will have no classes and will hold a teacher's institute off-site at Marquardt Elementary District 15 in Glendale Heights.
They said keeping Medinah Intermediate School open would be a major challenge because the two-lane Medinah Road where it's located will be completely closed during the tournament that runs Sept. 25-30.
District officials also have been working with their busing service to ensure students get to school on time with road closures Monday through Wednesday.
"The only families directly affected are those that live on Medinah Road and by the area that's closed, which is about five families" Superintendent Joseph Bailey said. "For everyone else, we're saying get to the bus stop five minutes early."
While school is closed, District 11 is teaming with Medinah Park District to rent out parking spaces for the tournament. Bailey said Bloomingdale-based Ground Effects Maintenance will staff the lots and spaces will rent for $40 to $45 a day, "depending on what the market is bearing."
Proceeds will benefit programs run by both organizations.
Bailey said he's happy the school grounds will be supervised, rather than roped off and possibly filled with tournament revelers.
"The reality is this is good for the district, because it's going to be a madhouse," Bailey said. "We could put up posts on our lots to try to keep people out, or we could manage it and work out a relationship where we would allow parking and control it."
District 11 isn't the only agency altering its schedule for the Ryder Cup. Nearby Lake Park High School will close for the entire week because its east campus is right across from the country club. Last April, officials also agreed to allow the PGA of America to use Lake Park's Roselle campuses during the tournament that is expected to attract 45,000 people a day.
But like District 11, Lake Park's closure won't require students to attend extra school days at the end of the year, because they still will meet the required 176 days of classroom instruction.
PGA of America also provided Lake Park with $160,000 to help offset costs to close the school. The high school also received 20 tickets to the Ryder Cup, which the district will sell to generate more revenue.
In exchange, the PGA donated roughly $240,000 to help secure volunteers for staffing at the tournament, including help with concessions and parking. Its agreement with Lake Park will use parent and student groups to provide 475 volunteers daily and, in turn, make financial donations to the groups.
District 11 didn't receive similar perks because its grounds are farther north. But Bailey said the disruption is a way of life for Medinah students and families regardless, and most people are accustomed.
"If you're in Medinah and you get upset about Medinah hosting PGA or whatever, you probably need to find somewhere else to live," Bailey said. "Plus, if Medinah Country Club didn't do these kinds of things, it would hurt property values.
"From a bureaucratic standpoint, we're just going to hold our breath and hope we get through it," he said. "From a personal standpoint, it's very exciting, it's a once-in-a-lifetime chance for Medinah families, even if they are not going, just to be involved with all the hoopla."
• Read more coverage of the Ryder Cup at dailyherald.com/sports/pro/rydercup.