Lawsuit filed against District 200 over plans to build early childhood learning center
Wheaton resident Jan Shaw filed a lawsuit against the Wheaton-Warrenville School District 200 on Aug. 6 over plans to construct a new learning center after the idea previously failed twice in a voter referendum.
A longtime critic of the school district, Shaw accuses the school of an attempting to evade voter approval by accessing a “loophole” in Illinois law that allows the district to build a new Jefferson pre-K building.
“The district does not model character when it breaks its word to the voters and looks for legal loopholes rather than creating community consensus,” Shaw said.
Voters rejected an initiative for a new preschool building in 2013, and then rejected the referendum again four years later.
In August 2018, the school district moved forward with plans to construct a new Jefferson pre-K building. Final approval is expected at an Aug. 15 board meeting with an anticipated groundbreaking ceremony immediately after, Shaw said.
The District 200 School Board adopted a resolution authorizing a “lease agreement” for the purpose of constructing the pre-K facility, now renamed Early Childhood Center in March, Shaw said.
Illinois law allows a school district to build without a public vote if private money is used, Shaw said. Residents can contribute money for the building but the district manages it. After 20 years, the district can buy the building for a dollar from the people who donated.
The law was intended to be used in leasing existing buildings not constructing new ones, Shaw said.