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Regional BOE grants Lake Forest subdivision petition to switch high schools

The Lake County Regional Board of Education unanimously granted permission for the Willow Lake Farms subdivision in Lake Forest to switch from the Libertyville to Lake Forest high school district.

The decision will be effective retroactive to July 1, the start of the fiscal year, according to Jim Bakk, attorney for the developer and homeowners who filed the petition.

With the decision, the 21.6-acre, 53-lot subdivision located east of the Tri-State Tollway and north of Route 60 is considered to fall within the boundaries for Lake Forest Elementary School District 67 and Lake Forest High School District 115. Residents in the subdivision who graduate from Deer Path Middle School will attend Lake Forest High School with their classmates, not District 128.

Getting the subdivision into the local high school district was “the whole purpose of our petition,” Bakk said Tuesday.

Libertyville High School District 128 did not fight the request, he added.

At Monday’s hearing, “they stipulated that our proofs…met the requirements of the statute,” Bakk said.

Prior to the regional board’s review, Regional Superintendent of Schools Roycealee Wood said the petition met the necessary criteria: It was filed 45 days in advance and the area in question is contiguous to the school district homeowners wanted to join. The annexation also did not exceed more than 5 percent of the equalized assessed valuation of the Libertyville High School district and was not more than 5 percent of the land area of that high school district.

The regional board in 1996 annexed the 53-lot subdivision to Lake Forest Elementary School District 67. At that time, the Rondout Elementary School District 72 wanted to annex the area.

A three-signature petition to switch was filed in March with the Regional Education Board to consider the high school district annexation. At the time, only two of the lots contained homes and two registered voters and the developer, Red Seal Homes of Northbrook, signed the petition.

The Lake Forest City Council’s approval of the subdivision in March prompted the petition filing, according to Bakk, who represented the developer and homeowners.

Lake Forest High School supported the annexation and District 115 Deputy Superintendent of Finance & Operations Allen Albus was prepared to testify at the hearing on Monday, but the testimony was not necessary, Bakk said.

Albus said last week the annexation would increase the District 115 property values as the subdivision gets built out.

Wood said the board’s goal is “do what’s in the best interest of the children.”

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