Thursday, August 13, 2015

ILL-inois: Construction companies pushed building of two unneeded schools

Lincoln-Way Central
Marching Band in 2012
Lincoln-Way High School District 210 is on the state's financial watch list. The problem goes back to 2005 when voters in the Will County Illinois district voted to double the number of high schools from two to four.

Much of the impetus was based on population projections that enrollment in far southwestern Chicago district would double from 5,000 to 10,000. But ten years later only 7,000 students attend Lincoln-Way schools. Now the district will likely close one of its high schools.

Now comes the sleaze part.

From the Chicago Tribune:
State campaign records show the referendum push was largely backed by construction-related companies, the Tribune reported in 2006.

Newly released records show two companies involved with pushing the ballot initiative — Henry Bros. Co. of Hickory Hills and Dahlquist and Lutzow Architects — made more than $41 million combined as part of the referendum.

Henry Bros. made nearly $30 million, while Dahlquist and Lutzow made nearly $12 million, according to the district.
An official from each firm, the Tribune reports, was involved with the research on the school-doubling early in the process.

There is another angle to this story. The Illinois economic doldrums brought upon by massive unfunded public employee pension obligations means will see more unfulfilled population growth bombs go off.

In five years there will be significantly fewer students at LW high schools.

No comments: