THE BOARD OF EDUCATION, KEWANEE SCHOOL DISTRICT 229, Plaintiff-Appellee,
THE REGIONAL BOARD OF SCHOOL TRUSTEES, BUREAU, HENRY AND STARK COUNTIES; ANGIE ZARVELL, Regional Superintendent of Schools; JEREMY S. HELTON, KATIE MARIE HELTON, CHAD J. JOOS, JOANNA R. JOOS, CAROL S. KERSEY, KEVIN W. ROSE, LAURA M. ROSE, CONNIE SUE STETSON, MARK J. STETSON and MICHAEL J. STETSON, in Their Capacities as Attorneys-in-Fact; CONNIE SUE STETSON, Individually; LAURA M. ROSE, Individually; STEVEN ENDRESS, Superintendent of Bureau Valley School District 340; and THE BUREAU VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT 340, Defendants Connie Sue Stetson and Laura M. Rose, Defendants-Appellants.
from the Circuit Court of the 14th Judicial Circuit, Henry
County, Illinois. Circuit No. 16-MR-73 The Honorable Terence
M. Patton, Judge, presiding.
Attorneys for Appellant: Jacob J. Frost, of Spring Valley,
Attorneys for Appellee: Allen Wall, Caitlyn R. Culbertson,
and Scott E. Nemanich, of Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins, Ltd.,
of Chicago, for appellee.
JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Presiding Justice Schmidt and Justice Lytton concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 Defendants Jeremy S. Helton, Katie Marie Helton, Chad J.
Joos, Joanna R. Joos, Carol S. Kersey, Kevin W. Rose, Laura
M. Rose, Connie Sue Stetson, Mark J. Stetson, and Michael J.
Stetson (collectively, the petitioner defendants) filed a
petition to detach 2010 acres of Kewanee Community Unit
School District 229's (District 229) boundary and annex
it to Bureau Valley Community Unit School District 340
(District 340). In October 2015, a hearing on the petition
was held, and defendant, the Regional Board of School
Trustees, Bureau, Henry and Stark Counties (Board), issued a
denial of the petition. Defendants Connie and Laura
(collectively, the individual defendants) submitted a
petition for rehearing and placed a notice of public hearing
in the local newspaper. In December 2015, the Board granted
the petition for rehearing. In January 2016, a rehearing was
held, and District 229 filed a motion to dismiss, claiming
that the Board lacked jurisdiction to review the petition for
rehearing, which the Board denied. Ultimately, the Board
granted the detachment petition despite District 229's
objections. In March 2016, District 229 filed a complaint for
administrative review. The trial court found that it could
not review the Board's decision on the petition for
rehearing because it failed to keep a record of the
proceedings in accordance with the Administrative Review Law
(735 ILCS 5/3-101 et seq. (West 2016)) and reversed
the Board's grant of the petition for detachment. The
individual defendants filed a motion for vacation or
modification of judgment, which the trial court denied. The
individual defendants appealed, and we affirm.
3 The petitioner defendants and two other individuals filed a
petition for school district boundary change to detach 2010
acres of land from District 229 and annex it to District 340.
All 12 individuals were registered voters and residents in
District 229. In compliance with statutory requirement, the
petition identified a "committee of " of the 12
individuals to act for the petitioners. Before a hearing on
the petition occurred, two of the petitioner defendants moved
outside of District 229.
4 In October 2015, a hearing was held, which Connie, Michael,
Laura, and Carol attended. The Board voted to deny the
petition for detachment.
5 Before the Board issued its written decision, the
individual defendants submitted a petition for rehearing. In
November 2015, the Board issued a written order denying this
initial petition for rehearing.
6 Subsequently, the individual defendants submitted a second
petition for rehearing, alleging that (1) counsel had
rendered ineffective assistance, (2) the Board's denial
of the detachment petition based on the individual
defendants' failure to provide notice to property owners
was error because notice was not statutorily required, and
(3) the individual defendants were not statutorily required
to obtain signatures from all owners in the territory
proposed to be detached. A notice of public hearing on the
request for rehearing was published in the newspaper. The
"NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
Notice is hereby given that the Regional Board of School
Trustees for Bureau, Henry, and Stark Counties will conduct a
public meeting on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 commencing at
1:00 p.m. The purpose of the meeting is to consider a request
for a rehearing. The meeting will be held at Regional Office
of Education, 107 S. State Street, Atkinson, Illinois."
229 claims that its superintendent, Dr. Chris Sullens, did
not receive notice of the public hearing until he discovered
the notice in the newspaper three days before the scheduled
public meeting date.
7 In December 2015, a hearing on whether to grant the second
petition and schedule a new detachment hearing was held.
Minutes were taken at the hearing, which showed that Connie
had testified in support of a rehearing, that District 229
testified in opposition to rehearing, and that the Board had
voted to grant the rehearing.
8 In January 2016, a new hearing on detachment was convened.
District 229 challenged the Board's jurisdiction to
engage in the new hearing claiming there was no evidence that
the individual defendants had requested rehearing within the
time period prescribed in section 7-6(n) of the School Code
(105 ILCS 5/7-6(n) (West 2016)). After the Board denied that
motion to dismiss, District 229 raised oral objections,
alleging that ...