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District 303 says no to sharing traffic light cost

Published: Thursday, May 16, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles School District 303 board this week rejected an intergovernmental agreement with the city regarding the shared cost of a traffic signal and other intersection improvements at St. Charles North High School.

The agreement first was proposed to the Business Services Committee last month. Under that draft, the school district and city of St. Charles would have split the costs of installing a traffic signal and extended right-turn lane work on Red Gate Road near the high school. The district’s contribution was not to exceed $250,000.

Board member Jim Gaffney, who has been at odds with the city on other issues, and member Nick Manheim voiced their dissent. Superintendent Don Schlomann agreed to go back to the city for further discussion.

Schlomann returned to the school board with a different plan that affected an agreement created when the school district sold the Little Woods School property to the city. In that agreement, he said, the city offered to provide school resource officers for eight years without charge.

Monday, the school board had the option of reducing that contract to six years and paying the city for years seven and eight – the equivalent to about $230,000, Schlomann said, explaining the board was concerned about paying cash now for the intersection improvements.

The board, however, still said no, and the eight-year agreement remains in place, Schlomann said.

Only two board members – Corinne Pierog and Kathy Hewell – supported the agreement, while Manheim, Judith McConnell, Ed McNally and Gaffney – who has said the city made the mistake of not installing the traffic light when it built Red Gate Bridge – did not. President Steve Spurling was absent.

The bridge opened in December and is east of the school.

The intersection at Red Gate Road and North’s entrance has been made into a four-way stop. Schlomann said it has been helpful, but it is difficult to get a good flow of traffic, especially when buses are exiting the school parking lot at once.

The St. Charles City Council approved the intergovernmental agreement April 1. With the school district’s rejection, Public Works Director Mark Koenen said the issue likely will appear on an upcoming committee agenda.

“At this point and time, I believe I’m going to have to solicit guidance from the City Council about how we will proceed with this,” he said.

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