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Group Has Enough Signatures for Advisory Referendum on Lights at Memorial Field

Our Field, Our Town wants voters to express an opinion on installing lights at Glenbard West's Memorial Field, but village trustees could decide the matter before a planned vote next March.

Would you vote "yes" or "no" on installing lights at Memorial Field?

It looks like every resident in Glen Ellyn will get the chance to cast a vote. On Wednesday, Oct. 26, members of Our Field, Our Town presented Glen Ellyn village officials with enough petition signatures to get the issue put on the March 20 primary ballot as an advisory referendum.

"This issue is so important to the village, and to the citizens of the village, that the referendum would be an ideal way to reflect that," said Joe Wark, former village president.

Though the vote might show where residents stand, it won't necessarily affect the decision. The village board wouldn't be bound by the results.

Some are hoping village officials will hold off on the school district's request until after the March 20 referendum.

However, Village President Mark Pfefferman said waiting that long sets the wrong precedent. Pfefferman said postponing decisions for referendums would cause contentious issues to drag on for years.  

"We have to deliver better service than that to our constituents," Pfefferman said.

If the project is approved, Mary Ozog, Glenbard High School District 87 school board member, said she hopes school board officials will wait to approve bids until after the outcome of the referendum. 

“I think it’s important to listen to what the will of the community is,” said Ozog.

Here's what's expected to happen next:

Tomorrow the plan commission will continue to listen to residents' concerns during a public hearing at the at 7:30 p.m. When that process is complete, the plan commission will make a recommendation to the village board.

Village trustees could then vote on the matter at an upcoming meeting, unless they decide to delay a decision to await the March 20 referendum. If the village board votes favorably, the Glenbard High School District 87 School Board will be in a position to proceed. 

Ramona November 03, 2011 at 11:44 PM
Cecilia, how do I know that is real name. There are no checks here to be sure that the name given is truly correct . So, what the heck do you care what my last name is anyway? Also, if you bothered to read, " I have heard similar things happen with the Lakers and the basketball teams". I stated I was not familiar with those leagues. I know only about the stuff that my kids have done and what other parents have told me regarding the leagues. Try reading what is actually posted.
Steve Seaney November 03, 2011 at 11:47 PM
Jeff, I remember 2004. I personally thought it was a good year. It's true that Glen Ellyn has invested in GBW of the past few years. One of the primary reasons we came to Glen Ellyn was the strength of the community to support the schools. Over the past few weeks we've heard a lot of presentations benchmarking GBW with other schools. Correct me if I missed something, but I don't recall anyone providing evidence that our investment at GBW is excessive relative to other schools in the area. If anything, the investments made over the past few years have simply put the back in the position to compete with comparable schools in the area. When we purchased our home 15+ years ago, I build a model indicating there was a strong correlation behind school district support, school district rankings, and home values (I wish I still had the analysis). The fact that we have had to add a modern gymnasium and field over the past few years are not a sign of 'entitlement', they are a sign we have not historically maintained our facilities so that they are competitive with comparable academic institutions. The facilities at GBW will not be 'lavish entitlements' compared to other schools; they will simply be 'par' with the comparable (and ultimately competing) schools in the ares. Steve
J November 04, 2011 at 12:30 AM
Steve, the entitlement issue, for me, is more about the turf field and the deception and GG BS. The gym, not a problem. The school building needs to be kept up. If GG(in my mind I'm not aware of the differences between who were GG and who are boosters) wouldn't have pulled their BS and left us all on the hook for another 6-7-800,000 plus a whole new field which might be needed sooner than we were told because of expanded usage, I might feel different. But, McClain has shown not to be trustworthy with my money and those who were and are behind it don't appear to be the least bit concerned with costs. That is where I use the word 'entitled'. It reminds me of the fight for the Platform Tennis 'Hut'. We should as a community, finance a project for the benefit of a few? The simple answer is NO.
Norman November 08, 2011 at 10:57 PM
Personally, I would rather see my kids home at night, having family dinners and doing their homework rather than out on memorial field under the lights. The kids that are going to come out of all that sports with scholarships (if that's what parents are after) have got to be a minority than kids that will excel due to their academic advancement. That is where our kids future's are. Higher test scores, more disciplined study habits, not just getting thru the classes but real learning. We have very good teachers and very good classes at West. Successful transfer to college, a successful college experience and education is what I have emphasized with my kids. I want them to eventually get jobs, Im not worried about whether they will play great softball in the park after work in their 20's, 30's etc.
Ramona November 09, 2011 at 02:02 AM
Have you sent a kid to college? Colleges don't want a straight A student, they are looking for well rounded kids who have been exposed to art, music and sports. It is the sport, the instrument or the art portfolio that catches a recruiter's eye. If you tell your kids to concentrate only on grades, good luck with that! If you want dinner with your kids, don't sign the permission form and don't pay the fees and your kids will be home. I want my kids to try everything, it is a big world! Who knows where their passion may lie!?!?!?
Barbara Reber November 09, 2011 at 03:14 PM
Ramona Romano, I don't know where you're sending your kids to college, but I can tell you that the better schools most definitely want students with all A's AND in AP classes. If they have some other talents, that's a plus, but the good grades come FIRST.
Barbara Reber November 09, 2011 at 03:17 PM
Norman--no last name? I totally agree. However, no need to worry about your offspring playing softball in the park after work. To keep our new plastic fields safe, our playing fields our now fenced and locked to everyone but the chosen few.
Norman November 09, 2011 at 04:27 PM
I totally agree Barbara. Yes I have a kid in college. Extremely well rounded. Encouraging our kids to study hard and excel in school will mean they will have more choices for colleges. Mediocre grades - is mediocre, regardless of how many activities they are involved in. I don't feel that extra playing time at night at memorial out weighs the long term benefits for the individual child. My kid was always involved in sports but it was secondary to their academics, music, volunteering, If a parent feels that there child needs to be involved, how about we emphasize the extra time instead of being at Memorial playing sports under lights that our kids should be at Bridge Communities or Pads or some other volunteering. This is the time for Glen Ellyn to refocus our priorities.
J. Burket November 09, 2011 at 05:21 PM
So, to verify, those who do not play sports, participate in extracurricular activities or volunteer time will do much better in the college selection game than those who do? It's all about the grades?
Barbara Reber November 09, 2011 at 05:59 PM
Hi Jim-- Not at all what I meant. Just that the grades come first. Extracurriculars make a difference, of course, but I don't know of anyone who got into a great school with wonderful extracurriculars but bad grades. Unfortunately, universities look at the quality of the high school, too. So while we fret over lights and let our academics slide, we're actually harming ALL our kids because good schools are more likely to take a kid with straight A's from a top 50 school than they are to take that same A student from a school that is not known for academics. When my daughter applied to Duke, the admissions director told us that she almost didn't get in because GW wasn't on their "good schools list."
Ramona November 09, 2011 at 10:18 PM
Well, of course AP and Honors classes are important, but every school has their choice of straight A students, you need more. Participating in sports proves that a student can do something as vigirous as a sport AND take those tough classes.
Ramona November 09, 2011 at 10:22 PM
Why should the kids be volunteering? Who are you to determine when my kids or the rest of the team should be on the field?
J. Burket November 09, 2011 at 10:56 PM
I do find it interesting that people just try to shove every kid into the same pair of shoes. As if there (sic) choice of extracurriculars, sports, jobs, family life, study times and habits should be the same for all. What is good for one is good for all. While I have kids involved in lacrosse, they are far from supercharged athletes . . . but I will say there (sic) involvement in team sports has been nothing but a benefit. I never amounted to much athletically, but I would never say anything but good things about the comamraderie that you gain and the lessons you learn. I certainly hope that I have taught, and will continue to teach, more than just the game of lacrosse to the millions of kids in Glen Ellyn who have had the great pleasure to play for me throughout the years.
Steve Seaney November 09, 2011 at 11:01 PM
Norm, I am am alumni recruiter for two of the most competitive and prestigious universities in the state. I was also a lead engineering recruiter for a very large (Fortune 35) company based in central Illinois. I agree with you completely that grades, test scores, and class standing are very important, but they tend to set a 'floor' that the applicants must attain. Once the students hit the academic criteria, the schools and employers I have experience with look very closely at extra curricular and outside leadership experience. Although I was not athletic when I was high school, I do not draw any difference between a gymnast, thespian, or student council leader. Our training is to look for someone who has good time management skills, is a demonstrated leader, etc. My instructions are to consider a center on the football team in the same regards as the captain of the chess club (even when hiring an engineer). It's a little sad that universities and companies tend to 'underplay' part time job experience. Working in the college book store or flipping burgers is really not valued. I have personally been able to support hardship cases 'hurdle the academic floor', but it is extremely difficult if they do not have strong non-academic experience. It's true the at the academic requirements set the bar, but once you are past the floor, the outside experience is massively important. Steve
Steve Seaney November 09, 2011 at 11:10 PM
Hello, Do you have any data that indicates the athletes are not maintaining their grades. I'm struggling with the stereotyping of athletes. I have not seen any data indicating a statistically significant correlation between low grades and athletics. On my son's Eagles team, almost 1/3 of the players were in honors math. It may have been an anomaly, but I really don't follow your logic. Steve
Ramona November 10, 2011 at 01:05 PM
I went on a recent field trip with an AP class at West, almost 1/2 the boys were on the Varsity football team, along with a number of girls tennis players and other athletes. Hmm...how can jocks be in an AP course??
Bill November 10, 2011 at 03:26 PM
How come there are no school facilites for hockey players and figure skaters?
Ramona November 11, 2011 at 02:51 PM
From your fingertips to God's eyes! Woudn't that be great!?!?!? By the way the hockey club does play at Center Ice, a few blocks from Spaulding, where the boys' fresh/soph lacrosse plays. Club meaning the parents' pick up the tab. It is also joint team of the Glenbard system.
Jim Kelly November 16, 2011 at 06:29 PM
Wow... Can we get any farther off the point. We are now all the way into judging our parenting skills and whether or not sports are good or bad for college entry. Lets get back to it... Lights at Memorial Field or not. Simple enough. 1) If the lights are going to be paid for from some budget other than Glen Ellyn taxpayers and/or District 87 funds (see GBW website - Facts about Memorial Field and please read carefully) then there should be no further discussion about the cost of the project. Each of us may have our own opinions about the wisdom of spending "x" dollars on lights...but if you aren't spending the money... how much does you opinion matter on the $ side of the issue. If some wealthy person wants to spend way too many dollars on a piece of artwork that looks like total crap in your mind who are you to tell them otherwise. 2) When that ugly art is going to be put in middle of the yard for everyone to see.. now you have a reason to speak up. So here we have something to talk about.
Jim Kelly November 16, 2011 at 06:31 PM
3) For the most part those most directly affected by these lights live/own homes directly adjacent to Memorial Field. In my opinion these people are the people who have the most to say about this situation. Those of us that do not live within direct view of these lights have virtually nothing to be so passionate about. That said lets consider a couple of items even for those who live within viewing range: a) For the greatest % of you that live in this range, you bought your home knowing full well that their was a high school within blocks of your home. Don't kid yourself or any of us that you didn't know that there are issues dealing with students, and all the activities wrapped up in a high school when you bought your home. Ok all those of you who bought your house before GBW was built stand up! You might have a real beef! b) But you say, I am not standing and I still have a beef, "When I bought my home, GBW didn't have lights and therefore there was a limited # of events that took place after dark." Good Point!, But alas a very weak one. First, there have always been evening events. Orchestra concerts, Basketball games, Back to school nights, seminars, the list goes on. Strike one. Secondly, not only did you buy a house near a high school you bought a house next to the train tracks. Oops... Those puppies run all night long. They have lights and horns, and clanging crossing gates, engines that roar...
Jim Kelly November 16, 2011 at 06:43 PM
Heck I live 4 blocks from the tracks (in that sit down and shutup zone of town... by my own comments above) and I hear them every night. Strike 2. Lastly, there are already lights on the tennis courts at this same location. Strike 3. So if we need to consider one more thing cause you don't like those points... How many nights a year are these lights really going to be on? The school doesn't have night programs during the summer. The field is not going to be used when there is 3 feet of snow on it. Maybe we are back to a bunch of crazy parents who will pay a large amount of money for a useless piece of art stuck in the middle of the yard so that are kids will go play sports, never come home for dinner and be too stupid to go to college. Personally, I think we are a bunch of caring parents that want the best for our boys and girls. We want to work within the community to find a solution that really works. Why don't both sides get serious, put away the petty bickering, and do something positive and proper for your high school and the community, with a proper set of rules and guidelines.
J November 16, 2011 at 11:25 PM
Jim-you say read 'carefully'-if you have been paying attention at all, the district lied about the amount of private donations on the turf field. We all got stuck for hundreds of thousands more than we were told it would be. Until the money for the lights, the ongoing cost of electrical and ANYTHING else related is CASH ON HAND, the cost issue isn't a done deal.
Jim Kelly November 16, 2011 at 11:47 PM
Mr. Cooper: As I said, each side really needs to clean up and do the right thing for the community and the school.. I personally don't consider lying about where the money is coming from as operating cleanly. Secondly, I am unaware of whatever mess was caused in 2004 having not been a resident here at that time. What I am saying is that if the lights are going to be paid in full by outside fund raising then there shouldn't be any debate of the $. If District 87 or the village is paying for the lighting then the $ discussion is a valid one.
J November 17, 2011 at 01:29 AM
As I said, they aren't going to be paid in full by outside fund raising. No matter what the district may try to insinuate. Fool me once, shame on you district 87. Fool me twice? Not as long as those financial Houdinis, Meissen and McClain are around. Don't believe a word they say. Or any former GG leaders. I know they're around.
Barbara Reber November 17, 2011 at 03:07 PM
Mr. Kelly-- Since you haven't lived in GE very long, you might want to sit up and listen to those who have seen this movie before and are pretty confident of who pays the price at the end.
Jim Kelly November 17, 2011 at 03:26 PM
Ms. Reber: Thank you for your advise. What I said was if the funding was obtained elsewhere then the $ shouldn't be an issue, but if that is not the case then it should be an issue discussed. I was happy to have Mr. Cooper's direct point, and he clearly has stated what is at least one issue is for him. The $. Again, if the money is going to come out of his and "everyone's" pocket it is a valid point of discussion for the lighting project. Unfortunately, i feel that a lot of people in these postings have gotten way off the point and I was simply trying to bring the discussion back to some real issues to be discussed and worked out. There are all these postings about whether kids should be home for dinner and debating whether sports are good or not for college entry... Again not really pertinent to the issue of lights (yes or no) especially if the funding is not coming from a "everyone's" pocket. All that being said, my opinion is that even if the money is coming out of my pocket, and my neighbor's pocket I back the spending of these $ for this type of project. I see the project as worthwhile and a wise investment for the community and the school without a signficant downside. If asked to vote I would agree to put my wallet behind it. Others may choose to disagree with me, and that is certainly their right to do so. The pros and cons of this and any project should be examined and discussed. I am just hoping people can stay on point.
Ramona November 18, 2011 at 02:52 PM
Jim, these side issues are important because OTOF has made safety, dinner times and college readiness as reasons not to have the lights. Let there be light!
Al D'Ambrosio January 03, 2012 at 02:11 AM
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Al D'Ambrosio January 03, 2012 at 02:33 AM
To sum up the PRO-lights arguments on this thread: 1) it's "progress" 2) don't you dare try to stop the "progress" I'm forcing down your throat, it's unpatriotic, & a futile waste of time & taxpayer money (but the lights are not a waste of money) 3) don't wait, do it now, so it can't be undone & we ram through the next "progress" initiative as quickly as possible 4) cost doesn't matter, cuz' it'll be great; & besides, someone else is magically paying for it, really 5) sports = good; therefore, we need lights Wow, I don't buy any of that. I love sports, played some in HS and lots outside of HS with friends, all my life. And I agree that you learn about life by being involved in team sports. But never in my life did I think, "hey, this is all due to having lights on my field". Because I didn't. I still learned teamwork, dealing with conflict and defeat, and how to work hard to achieve success. The idea that we need lights in order to realize the benefits of sports defies the empirical evidence of the past 2,000 years of humanity. And don't call me names for exercising my right to voice my opinion. I am not attacking your right to voice yours. The district works for us, they don't rule over us. They are obligated to hear from me & other concerned residents, & to follow our wishes. Have we forgotten that?
Al D'Ambrosio January 03, 2012 at 02:47 AM
I have little faith in the promises that this won't cost much, given the experience at Ackerman Park, the Library, Stacy's Corner, & the never ending red ink the district seems to put us through. Did you notice the recently proposed tax increases? Do you really think it has nothing to do with all of the above, including the lights? How about we use the $300K (or $1million+) to avoid tax increases for ALL residents? The benefits of the lights will be miniscule, and only for a very tiny portion of Glen Ellyn. What about the rest of us who have to pay for it and don't want it? Not fair. The way the principal and other supporters speak, you'd think GW has zero sports participation. But GW has the highest participation in the district... despite having no lights! I attended the hearings and couldn't help but feel that small army of suited bureaucrats (who are being paid tons of money -- by us, to be used against us) couldn't care less about the people of GE. They just wanted to do some big project so they could claim some kind of credit for implementing something big. Either that, or they are just so blindly obsessed with athletics that they'll do anything to boost it. I love sports. But since moving here, I can't help but feel that this town is a bit obsessed with sports and I wish we would focus more on math and science so our children can compete economically when they become adults. The US won't lead the world because we spent the most time playing sports.

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