APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT
Nos. 2-87-1047, 2-87-1083 cons.
528 N.E.2d 1344, 174 Ill. App. 3d 872, 124 Ill. Dec. 236 1988.IL.1475
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon. John S. Teschner, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE REINHARD delivered the opinion of the court. DUNN and INGLIS, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE REINHARD
Plaintiffs, Karen Kerwin and the Board of Education of Lemont Township High School District No. 210 (Lemont 210), sought administrative review in the circuit court of Du Page County of a decision of defendant, Ted Sanders, the Illinois State Superintendent of Education (State Superintendent), approving the petition for consolidation of the Bromberek School District No. 65 (Bromberek 65), and the Cass Center School District No. 66 (Cass 66). Plaintiff, Bromberek 65, filed a separate complaint for administrative review of the State Superintendent's approval of the consolidation petition. Following consolidation of both cases in the trial court, the trial court denied plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and affirmed the decision of the State Superintendent. Following separate appeals by Kerwin and Lemont 210, and Bromberek 65, this court consolidated both appeals for purposes of oral argument and decision.
The issues raised on appeal are whether the 1985 School District Reorganization Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 122, par. 1502-1 et seq.) (Reorganization Act) deprives the regional and State superintendents of their authority to consider consolidation petitions pursuant to section 11B-3 of the Illinois School Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 122, par. 11B-3); whether the Bromberek 65-Cass 66 consolidation petition could be properly considered pursuant to article 11B where the petition to consolidate Bromberek 65 and Lemont 113 was filed first and remained undefeated; whether the decision of the State Superintendent approving the consolidation of Bromberek 65 and Cass 66 is against the manifest weight of the evidence; and whether the regional superintendent's refusal to allow Lemont 210 to appear and present evidence rendered the proceedings invalid.
On December 4, 1985, a petition was filed, pursuant to section 11B-3 of the Illinois School Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 122, par. 11B-3), with Richard Martwick, regional superintendent of schools of Cook County, requesting approval to combine Bromberek 65, located in Du Page County, and Lemont School District No. 113 (Lemont 113), located in Cook County. Martwick approved the consolidation on April 22, 1986, and, on May 22, 1986, the State Superintendent approved the consolidation. Following the State Superintendent's approval of the petition, Bromberek 65 and Cass 66 filed separate complaints for administrative review in the circuit court of Cook County. (See Board of Education v. Sanders (1987), 161 Ill. App. 3d 723, 727, 515 N.E.2d 280.) The Cass 66 complaint was dismissed for lack of standing, which dismissal was affirmed on appeal. (Sanders, 161 Ill. App. 3d at 728-31, 515 N.E.2d at 283-85.) The Bromberek 65 complaint resulted in an affirmance by the circuit court of the State Superintendent's approval of the consolidation petition and is currently on appeal in the Appellate Court for the First District.
On February 10, 1986, the petition in this case, to combine Bromberek 65 and Cass 66, both located in Du Page County, was filed with the Du Page County superintendent of schools pursuant to section 11B-3 of the Illinois School Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 122, par. 11B-3), which was dismissed on May 13, 1986. The regional superintendent, following the filing of a second petition, approved the consolidation on June 30, 1986. On July 30, 1986, the State Superintendent approved the petition to consolidate Cass 66 and Bromberek 65. As a result of the State Superintendent's approval of the Bromberek 65-Cass 66 petition, two competing consolidation petitions are pending, both of which could result in the consolidation of Bromberek 65 with another school district.
On August 28, 1986, Karen Kerwin, a resident of Bromberek 65, and the Board of Education of Lemont 210 filed a complaint for administrative review of the State Superintendent's decision in the circuit court of Du Page County. The complaint named the State Superintendent, Cass 66, and Bromberek 65 as defendants. Bromberek 65 also filed a complaint for administrative review in the circuit court of Du Page County naming as defendants the State Superintendent, Lemont 113, and Cass 66. On November 25, 1986, pursuant to the motion of Kerwin and Lemont 210, the two cases were consolidated in the circuit court. On October 19, 1987, the circuit court entered an order denying plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and affirming the decision of the State Superintendent.
We address first the issue of whether the Reorganization Act deprives the regional and State superintendents of their authority to consider petitions pursuant to article 11B. Plaintiff, Bromberek 65, contends that the Reorganization Act repealed article 11B. Specifically, it argues that the Reorganization Act provides a comprehensive and uniform method by which school district consolidations may be accomplished and that the legislature intended it to supersede article 11B.
The Reorganization Act, enacted in 1985, was designed "to provide the framework for an effective and orderly reorganization of the existing school districts of this State through the retention of certain districts and the combination or reorganization of other districts." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 122, par. 1502-1.) To accomplish this purpose, the Reorganization Act creates regional reorganization committees to conduct public hearings, consider whether reorganization is appropriate, and develop a reorganization plan. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 122, pars. 1502-3, 1502-4.) Upon approval of a reorganization plan by a State reorganization committee, the plan is submitted to the voters in each of the affected school districts. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 122, par. 1502-7.) A majority of the voters in each district must then approve the plan. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 122, par. 1502-7.) The reorganization plan, if approved by the ...