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Our View: Let taxpayers win instead of lawyers

Published: Thursday, June 12, 2014 11:03 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, June 13, 2014 12:34 p.m. CDT

The Illinois 2nd District Appellate Court will eventually weigh in on the battle between the city of Crystal Lake and School District 155 over the expansion of the Crystal Lake South football bleachers last year. But it seems progress is being made anyway.

Regardless of what the law eventually might state, school districts and municipalities serve the same constituents and need to work together as much as possible.

It appears that with the hindsight over the controversy of the $1.8 million bleacher expansion that riled neighbors and Crystal Lake officials who were never asked to approve any plans, School District 155 officials have learned a lesson.

They’re working closely with Cary village officials and hope to communicate clearly with neighbors about the $8.5 million expansion of the Cary-Grove High School auditorium.

Perhaps the appellate courts will find that school districts are not subject to the zoning laws of the municipality in which its buildings exist or perhaps, as McHenry County Judge Michael Chmiel has ruled, they are subject to those ordinances.

Regardless of the law, these entities need to be able to work together in the best interest of students, residents and taxpayers. For whatever reason, that seems to be harder than it sounds, particularly in Crystal Lake that has had decades of history of feuding with the park district that shares similar borders.

When bodies that collect taxes from the same households fight, they might believe they are fighting for principles or legal precedents. But they’re also using taxpayer money to pay lawyers on both sides. They’re getting hit from two sides.

Guess who wins those fights?

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