Bloomingdale homes school boundary swap denied

Two subdivisions totaling 25 houses in Bloomingdale will remain within the boundaries of Glenbard High School District 87 and Marquardt Elementary District 15, even though residents sought to detach.

A committee of 10 residents who live in the Chateaus of Medinah and Vittoria Brooke Estates, located west of Medinah Road and north of Army Trail Road, argued the boundary change would foster a sense of community by allowing their children to attend Lake Park High School District 108 and Bloomingdale Elementary District 13.

About a quarter of the total subdivision is within the boundaries of those districts.

But the 2nd District Illinois Appellate Court ruled last week the residents didn't have sufficient evidence to support the detachment, saying their petition demonstrated “personal desires” to associate with the new school districts.

The 3-0 ruling by appellate court Justices Michael J. Burke, John J. Bowman and Mary Seminara-Schostok overturns a 5-2 decision by the DuPage County Regional Board of School Trustees in July 2009 that granted the detachment.

In court filings, the petitioners argued the detachment and annexation would help maintain neighborhood cohesiveness and allow their children to attend school with others down the block.

One of the residents, Vince Saviano, said when they bought their homes they were told they all would attend the same elementary and high school district. But he says the developer never followed through.

“It wasn't their problem anymore and it became our problem,” Saviano said. “We have the same (homeowners) association, garbage day, the same police and fire — everything is the same but the school districts.”

In a written opinion, Burke said residents needed to demonstrate their neighborhood is somehow tied to the other school districts through either social, religious or commercial activities such as Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, sports, or community-sponsored programs. To the contrary, Burke wrote that the subdivisions are aligned with districts 15 and 87, and noted in particular that Marquardt has close ties with Bloomingdale Park District.

District 87 and 15 officials said granting the detachment would undermine goals to increase diversity and adversely affect their finances.

Burke cited statistics showing the white population of District 15 is less than 27 percent while in District 13 it is more than 75 percent. And since two-thirds of those living in the area in question are white, “detaching the territory would have the effect of allowing affluent Caucasian homeowners to change school boundaries so their children would attend less integrated school districts.”

In a Glenbard news release, Superintendent Mike Meissen said, “We believe it is important that our schools reflect the diversity of our communities.”

Saviano refuted the statistics in the appellate court decision, saying the neighborhood has more minorities than whites.

School officials said Glenbard stood to lose about $100,000 a year and Marquardt would lose about $200,000. The judge wrote that the budget impact would be less than 2 percent.

The average value of homes in the area ranges from $724,440 to $881,000, while the average value of homes in one part of District 15 is $180,000 and in another part is $200,000, according to the court filing.

Burke also ruled that the petitioners failed to present sufficient evidence that the educational welfare of students would be improved by detachment, or that transportation of students would improve.

The appellate court's decision comes just weeks after a DuPage County circuit court judge reversed a decision by the regional school board that would have allowed residents in the Timber Trails/Merry Lane neighborhood in Oak Brook to detach from Salt Creek Elementary District 48 and DuPage High School District 88, and annex into Butler Elementary District 53 and Hinsdale High School District 86.

Judge stops school district swap

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