Where was I? Oh yes, the other big topic of the meeting which produced its own Daily Herald story on Saturday was the permission given to the Village of Round Lake for its Streets of Summer festival. Before I dive in let me say this, I’m a resident of the Village of Round Lake, I fully support the village in having this event and, had proper procedure been followed I’m sure I would have approved the use, with some caveats. The issue is not the event, the issue is established procedure on use of district grounds and facilities, a procedure established by District Policy and Administrative Practices, it was ignored.
A bit over a week ago I received my village newsletter and saw that the Village of Round Lake was going to have Streets of Summer at Magee Middle School. This came as quite a surprise because this had never even been mentioned to me let alone brought to me in a board meeting for review or approval. I called the board president, Ann Welk, she hadn’t heard about it either. District administration was then called, and as discussed at our regular board meeting, Dr. Elenbogen, our Chief Educational Officer, Walter Korpan our Chief Financial Officer and Jerri Ryan our District Legal Counsel knew nothing of permission given to have this event.
• no written request to use school grounds was on file
• no proof of insurance was on file
• our own insurance carrier was not contacted to see if this would pose an issue
• no personnel were in place to monitor our grounds during the event
• no provisions were agreed to with the village as to the sale, possession or consumption of alcohol on school district grounds
Now aware of it our administrative team beneath Mr. Stonewall sprung into action and performed all of these above actions at the last minute. All of these things should have been done well in advance of the event.
Why do we have these procedures, first of all, because this is district property owned by the people of the district and that’s all of the villages we encompass. Secondly, it’s to protect the district from lawsuits. What if a drunken brawl had broken out resulting in injuries? An amusement ride accident happened resulting in a death? Amusement employees without any supervision or direction from the district causing damage to school building or grounds without our knowledge since we had no one there to monitor our grounds? All of these are a distinct possibility and why procedures are there to be followed and not brushed aside.
No one has more appreciation for what the Village of Round Lake has done for RLAS than I do, but that doesn’t mean we don’t do our due diligence in ensuring the district is protected from any liability at events such as this. Further, the School Board should have a say as to whether it sees beer gardens or amusement rides as proper use of district property. We’re not talking about a bird-watchers club wanting to use a room, we’re talking about a massive operation that we had zero knowledge of until I found out about it in the village newsletter.
That, ladies and gentleman, is just plain scary. As far as Mr. Stonewall’s comments in the article questioning why the board would be concerned about the use of school grounds since we are the residents of the district and the people elected and/or appointed to represent them and these are their grounds we are talking about, I find that even more scary.