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Woodstock School District 200 holds off on lawsuit over Lakewood TIF

WOODSTOCK – The Woodstock Community School District 200 Board again held off on deciding whether to sue the village of Lakewood over a tax increment financing district during a special meeting Wednesday.

“Negotiations are ongoing about the Lakewood TIF,” board President Camille Goodwin said. “We need more information.”

District representatives recently met with village officials to begin conversations about issues surrounding the TIF, part of which falls within District 200 boundaries.

Goodwin declined to comment when asked what specific information the district was looking for, but said they were seeking the information from the village.

A potential lawsuit first appeared on the school board's agenda in December, when members opted to table the item until after discussions with the village.

A handful of residents have shown up to recent meetings to voice support for litigation, saying the TIF will put more burden on the backs of District 200 taxpayers.

The TIF, which is centered on the intersection of Routes 47 and 176, was approved by village officials in January 2015.

The purpose is largely to extend water and sewer utilities to the area, the Northwest Herald has previously reported.

At issue from the school district’s standpoint is the possibility of residential development and its effect on the district.

District 200 Superintendent Mike Moan has said the fear is that such development could lead to more students the district would have to serve, without the corresponding revenue with which to serve them.

However, Lakewood Village President Erin Smith has repeatedly said the TIF contemplates mainly commercial development and potentially affordable housing for seniors or special-needs adults.

The school district is looking for assurance that development in the TIF area won’t have negative financial effects on the district, Moan has said.

According to district documents, school officials wanted to file a complaint based on findings that called into question whether certain parcels within the TIF district satisfy requirements laid out in state law.

There was nothing formal to react to during the first meeting with the school district, Smith said Thursday, but she described the recent meeting as “friendly.”

She added the plan is to meet again after the holidays.

School district officials have said they have a year from the date the Lakewood Village Board took action to file a suit, which was Jan. 27, 2015.

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