APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JAMES
C. MURRAY, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE RIZZI DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
A petition to detach certain property from School District No. 67, Cook County, Illinois, and to attach that property to School District No. 34, Cook County, Illinois, was allowed by the Regional Board of School Trustees of Cook County (Board). A complaint for administrative review was filed, and the circuit court affirmed the decision of the Regional Board. We affirm in part and reverse in part with directions.
The petition for detachment was signed by more than two-thirds of the registered voters in the detachment area. The detachment area includes the entire Village of Golf and that part of the Village of Glenview north of Golf Road and east of Waukegan Road, which is known as Golf Acres. The petitioners from the detachment area reside in School District No. 67, and the children in the area attend school in Morton Grove. The petitioners wish to be included instead in School District No. 34 so that the children are able to attend school in Glenview.
The entire detachment area is within the Glenview Park District, and the programs of the Glenview Park District are supported in part by real estate taxes levied on property in the detachment area. The Glenview Park District coordinates its programs very closely with District 34 and uses the facilities of District 34. The park district conducts sports programs at District 34 schools, but the students from District 67 do not normally engage in them because they begin immediately after school. A detachment area resident testified that the children from the area sometimes choose not to participate in park district programs because they feel like outsiders. This resident finds it very frustrating that her children's friends come from schools south of Golf Road and their activities take place north of Golf Road.
An after-school program of sports activities, including intramural sports, is provided for District 67 students. No special bus is provided for the Glenview or Golf Acres students at the conclusion of these activities.
The Board of Commissioners of the Glenview Park District adopted a resolution supporting the detachment petition. In the resolution, the Board noted that for many years the park district has provided an exchange of services agreement pursuant to which the park district provided recreational programs in school districts having schools within the park district. District 67 has no schools within the park district.
The boundaries of the area served by the Glenview Public Library are the same as the boundaries of the Village of Glenview. The Village of Golf is not included in the library district, but the residents of Golf may use the library if they pay a nonresident fee. Taxes of all residents of Glenview support the library.
The Glenview Public Library stocks books in accordance with the curriculum of District 34. The children's librarian works closely with District 34's coordinators. Each year the library invites teachers from District 34 to meet with its staff and see its collection of books. The library distributes a list of available services and facilities throughout the District 34 schools.
A resident of the detachment area testified that announcements regarding registration for the Glenview Little League, which serves Golf and Glenview, are not sent to District 67 students living in Golf or Golf Acres. Notices are circulated to the District 34 students. He also testified that students in the detachment area would join Boy Scouts or Cub Scouts in Glenview; the Morton Grove Boy Scout Council does not include Golf or Golf Acres. The Rotary Club of Glenview and the Jaycees and Kiwanis organizations in Glenview include Golf in their territory.
Another detachment area resident testified that the preschool children in the area attend a preschool which follows District 34's school calendar. Therefore, her children in the District 67 schools have a different vacation schedule than her child in preschool. She also pointed out that the detachment area preschool children attend a different elementary school than their preschool classmates outside the detachment area. Another detachment area resident who lives in Golf stated that her telephone book does not contain the number for the elementary school attended by the detachment area students.
The students in the detachment area must cross Golf Road in order to reach the District 67 schools in Morton Grove. Testimony regarding accident rates on Golf Road indicates that the intersection of Golf and Waukegan has a higher accident rate than any other intersection in the area. The bus route proposed if the detachment petition is granted would avoid the intersection of Golf and Waukegan. Golf Road would be avoided entirely. The District 34 schools are farther from the detachment area than the District 67 schools.
The Board of District 67 has voted to close one of the schools in the district in September of 1981. One member of the District 67 board testified that the decision to close this school would result in initial overcrowding in the remaining elementary school. He stated that the overcrowding could be alleviated to some extent if the detachment area students would be withdrawn. The superintendent of the schools in District 67 testified that no overcrowding would result.
Dr. Frank Vogel testified as petitioners' education expert. In his opinion, District 34 has a "full, thorough, and comprehensive program." Both districts cover the same material as most districts in Cook County. The proposed detachment would not affect the ability of either district to meet State recognition standards. Dr. Vogel concluded that there would be no negative implications from an educational standpoint for students to transfer from District 67 to District 34. He also stated that he saw no detriment to District 67, and that there might be some positive results for District 67 if the detachment petition is granted.
On rebuttal, Dr. Vogel testified that District 67 could safely reduce its staff and consolidate its programs without lowering the quality of the educational program. He suggested that the consolidation could improve the quality in some areas. He also stated that there would be a negative impact on the detachment area students if the petition is denied. He explained that one must look at the whole child concept and be concerned with activities outside of school, such as park district programs and library programs. He stated that allowing the petition would eliminate the problem of children who are excluded from the normal activities in their community because their school is not located within the community.
Dr. William Hazzard testified as an education expert for District 67. He stated that the schools of District 67 and District 34 are fundamentally comparable. There are no significant differences in the programs, facilities or staff qualifications. He testified that there would not be a demonstrable educational benefit to the detachment area children and that there would be a detriment to the District 67 students if the petition is granted.
Dr. Hazzard also testified that there would be a detriment to the detachment area students in the transition between elementary school and high school. In his opinion, if the petition is granted, there would be a problem since the detachment area students would be attending a ...