Oak Park's D97 approves agreement with village concerning new headquarters

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By Terry Dean

Staff reporter

The District 97 Board of Education Dec. 16 approved its intergovernmental agreement with the Village of Oak Park concerning swapping Madison Street properties in order for the district to build its new headquarters at 260 Madison St. The vote was 5-0, with members Peter Traczyk and Amy Felton absent. The village approved the IGA on Dec. 8. The school board last week also approved a 40-year lease agreement with the village to relocate its maintenance operations to the village's Public Works building. The district will lease space for one-dollar over the 40-year period; the village will cover the costs of the relocation. 

D97 will rent roughly 7,600 square-feet of space in the building, including 385 square-feet of second-level office space, according to the lease agreement. D97 will also have access to about 37,000-square feet of common space at Public Works, located at 201 S. Blvd.

As part of the agreement, D97 will put its current warehouse at 541 Madison St. on the market. 

The relocation is expected to be completed by the end of 2017 or upon the sale of the warehouse, whichever comes first, according to the agreement.  

The village will cover the costs of the relocation, according to the agreement. The remaining bit of work for the village and D97 is to amend the Madison Street TIF next month. 

Both the village and D97 boards expect to take action on the TIF to allow $6.3 million from it to go toward building the new headquarters.

The school district's architect, STR Partners, will oversee the project. The firm has held two public meetings in the last month with stakeholders, including school PTOs and officials from other Oak Park taxing bodies, to get ideas about the building's design. 

A public meeting for entire community is scheduled for February. 

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Posted: December 24th, 2014 2:32 PM

ha ha OP and Unfortunately; that's the holiday spirit.


Posted: December 24th, 2014 2:03 PM

@ unfor. Yes, this board is ineffective which is likely why people are leaving. The best hope we have given this deal is done, is someone joins who has little tolerance for deal making and has laser like focus on performance and people development.


Posted: December 24th, 2014 1:37 PM

@Jim'e' - Your cont'd syconphantic role in the "company town" of OP is duly noted. Further, no surprise, you didn't address the "Why?" of the $6.3M of ed money spent on a new Admin bldg. @OP - I agree that most of the individuals involved are generally "well intentioned" but, like you, I focus on results and not on rhetoric. Spending $6.3M of TIF money (aka, our taxes!) and solely moving the Admin few just one mile.....and this benefits VOP in what way? Yeah, that's what I thought.


Posted: December 24th, 2014 9:14 AM

Thank you D97 and VOP. Great deal and use of TIF $; no referendum $ being spent. BTW, OP and Unfortunately, shame on you if you didn't take out nominating petitions. happy holidays!!!!


Posted: December 24th, 2014 6:57 AM

Still waiting for list of impactful accomplishments - results this board completely. Fast Forward - Fail, Roberts, Referendum - fair, school performance same/below when they started, minority gap is huge by middle school, customer happiness. No one has listed because it does exist - this is a about results not efforts.


Posted: December 24th, 2014 6:41 AM

What is desperately missing is the rationale regarding how this a) ties to a strategy b) ties to student performance/enhancements c) is fiscally sound (I.e. we can afford it ). Perhaps what frustrates all of us is all of this is separate activies with no cohesive/underlying strategy.

Ken C. from Oak Park  

Posted: December 24th, 2014 12:25 AM

Really getting tired of these deals.


Posted: December 23rd, 2014 10:04 PM

To become an exceptional board (along with strategy/performance), the board would need almost a complete reversal of the tone and tenor of their communication /positions. Few decision have strong support of customers, absence of cohesive strategy, middlish performance.


Posted: December 23rd, 2014 9:57 PM

unfortunately. - interesting but I really believe the Board is well intentioned. Managing OP is complex given the diversity, urban flavor and rich history of strong performance. As with all of us, they bring their skill - it is not well suited for this role and as a result, they become more defensive/ locked in position. Until they signal they get changes are required - expect more "we got this" to mask the actual insecurity/cover real issues..


Posted: December 23rd, 2014 9:44 PM

@OP. Nice analysis, but I'll add a few things: they are the epitome of "do-gooder" little Napoleans. They LOVE having the power to "make change" and since the only board member in OP not subject to "group think" is Sharon Patchak-Layman......no one questions what any one else proposes and so they typically end up with the "all of the above" solution. I also believe that Roberts plays these people like drums. Sadly, VOP Board is similar and so $6.3M of non-Monopoly money is moronically spent.


Posted: December 23rd, 2014 9:44 PM

What we can expect is a series of deals - new building, ref, contracts etc. with little to do with improving the core product and address people development, operational excellence or innovation. is is na´ve to think things will change. Best predictor for future performance is past performance. We can only hope that anyone crazy enough to join has really done something - run something and is not just a deal guy/girl.


Posted: December 23rd, 2014 9:33 PM

While I don't know any of the members, my sense from their actions and my experience on numerous boards is this group has few people who have actually run and organization/leadership role and are more adept at deal making. The issue is operationally, OP97 needs improvement - and the Board does not understand what they don't understand - it is beyond the scope of their capabilities...


Posted: December 23rd, 2014 9:30 PM

This transaction will occur and is a forgone conclusion. The deeper question is why the push? A mentioned earlier, poor performing CEO and Board (Roberts) often swing for the fences to make up for poor attempts (Fast forward, minority gap) - They take risks that are counter to interests of the very group they swear to protect. called agency theory.

Think, hard, first  

Posted: December 23rd, 2014 8:32 PM

sure there will be one or two "unique" places you will go to every once in a while... and then there will be ghetto lounges that destroy whole districts and you will never be able to close. Think wig shops but worse, crap bars. go check out the pool hall at leonas on a saturday night and you will know what I mean.


Posted: December 23rd, 2014 8:26 PM

D97 needs a new superintendent and a new board, however, it does not need a new building. How do we make this not happen? Vote of now confidence for both roberts and board?

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: December 23rd, 2014 5:24 PM

Unfortunately - 100% correct. And they can threaten program cuts all they want - I will NEVER vote yes on a referendum for D97 or D200. There is more than enough money that has to be spent in order to cry poor for a referendum. That is how government funding works. Ask for a dollar, spend that dollar, and ask for two dollars because one wasn't enough, spend the two and then ask for three because two wasn't enough. Spend the money in the classroom and you may get "YES" votes.


Posted: December 23rd, 2014 2:38 PM

$6.3 M for a building that they have NEVER sought to justify. They'll follow this with a referendum where they plead poverty. The community is then caught between a rock and a hard place - vote down the spendthrifts and their referendum or vote yes because they'll throw every scare tactic (music and art will be eliminated!) at you if you don't. $6.3M will pay for a lot of things - even for D97. This decision is deplorable - and the VOP Board has equal blame. Shameful - and for what reason?

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