Video adds to District 15 referendum controversy

 
 
Updated 9/30/2016 8:42 AM
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  • A group supporting construction of two new schools in Palatine Township Elementary District 15 has posted a video on its Facebook page showing needed maintenance in Gray M. Sanborn School in Palatine, which would be closed if the voters approve the proposal. Opponents questioned the origin of the photos.

      A group supporting construction of two new schools in Palatine Township Elementary District 15 has posted a video on its Facebook page showing needed maintenance in Gray M. Sanborn School in Palatine, which would be closed if the voters approve the proposal. Opponents questioned the origin of the photos. Erin Hegarty | Staff Photographer

A video released by supporters of Palatine Township Elementary District 15's proposal to build two new schools isn't sitting well with a group of parents and community members who oppose the plan.

The video, posted on the CCSD15 KIDS Facebook page Sunday night, shows photos of Sanborn Elementary. The school is in the district's oldest building and would be shuttered if voters in November approve a $130 million district proposal to build two new schools.

The CCSD15 KIDS group argues that a "no" vote on the proposal means keeping unfavorable conditions like rusted pipes and deteriorating wood at Sanborn.

"Our goal of the video was to allow people to get a glimpse of what some of the needed repairs are at Sanborn, just to bring it up to code," said Kelly Gallagher, the group's spokeswoman.

"There will most likely be additional videos highlighting our reasons for voting yes."

Opponents of the proposal questioned whether the photos were actually taken in Sanborn and how the photos were obtained.

"We asked for evidence of the repairs and were shown these photos but were never in the school ourselves," reads a Facebook post on the page of the group supporting the proposal.

District 15 Superintendent Scott Thompson confirmed the photos were taken by the district's architect during a life-safety review in 2013.

"I have sent the photos to anyone that has requested them," Thompson said.

Voting yes, the video argues, means being able to close Sanborn and construct two new, modern schools.

A spokeswoman for the group that opposes the proposal, Barb Kain, said including the photos without any context or description felt like a "scare tactic."

"It feels like an attempt to validate the need to close Sanborn," Kain said.

Kain said that while the video initially felt like a punch in the gut, she is relieved that it helped shed light on the number of repairs that need to be made, not just at Sanborn but across the district.

Representatives from both sides of the proposal will be at the Palatine Township Republican Organization meeting Saturday morning to discuss the referendum question. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at 765 N. Quentin Road.

The League of Women Voters will host a forum Tuesday night on District 15's referendum question at the Palatine Public Library, 700 N. Court. District 15 Superintendent Scott Thompson and Kain will give opening statements at 4 p.m. The speakers will then take questions from the audience.

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