Oak Brook Village Board OKs Sports Core referendum
This is an aerial view showing the most likely location for the building of a new school by Butler Elementary District 53 on the Sports Core property owned by the village of Oak Brook. | Rendering courtesy of Butler Elementary District 53
Updated: March 18, 2013 1:16AM
OAK BROOK — Oak Brook voters will have a vote on an April 9 advisory referendum to sell up to 8.5 acres of Sports Core property to Butler Elementary District 53.
District 53 is interested in purchasing the property to build a new school. The village is required by the deed for the Sports Core property to get voter approval for any such sale.
After about two hours of discussion on the issue Tuesday, the Village Board voted 3-1 to put the referendum on the ballot.
“We’re pleased with the vote tonight,” said District 53 Board President Alan Hanzlik.
Hanzlik’s sales pitch to the Village Board was voters should be allowed to weigh in on a possible new school.
“The referendum allows the next steps to be pursued to determine if this makes sense for the community and school,” he said.
Former Village President Karen Bushy has been very outspoken against building a new school on Sports Core property and spoke against the referendum.
“It’s an insult to the residents to ask them to vote on something before they have all of the needed information,” she said.
Trustee Gerald Wolin cast the lone vote against the referendum.
“This is the most divisive issue I’ve addressed,” he said. “The intent of the school district was to do some good, but we have two warring factions.”
Wolin said he believes there should be a referendum.
Trustees Mike Manzo, Asif Yusuf and Mark Moy voted in favor of placing the referendum on the ballot.
Trustee Elaine Zannis recused herself from voting because of a personal conflict on the issue. As a real estate broker, she believes her business would benefit from the building of a new school.
Trustee Stelios Aktipis decided to vote “present” after hearing sufficient support was in place to put the referendum on the ballot.
Manzo said the issue at this time was not about making a decision on whether a new school should be built.
“This is a referendum on letting the residents of Oak Brook vote,” he said. “All this referendum does is allow us to sell property to the school district. That doesn’t mean a deal will be reached.”
Two referendums would need to be approved to make a new school on Sports Core property a reality.
Along with the village referendum for sale of property, another referendum, only for voters living within District 53 boundaries, would seek approval for the sale of $15 million in bonds to help fund the building of a new school.