Lawyers and top officials from Riverside-Brookfield High School and the village of Brookfield will meet this week at a formal settlement conference in an attempt to resolve a lawsuit that the high school has filed against the village.
The meeting, which will be presided over by Cook County Judge Mary Mikva, will take place Thursday, Feb. 18 at the Richard J. Daley Center in Chicago.
Last year, RBHS District 208 filed a lawsuit against the village claiming the Brookfield Village Board acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner when it voted 6 to 1 to deny the high school’s request for variances and a special use permit to allow it to build a parking lot and new tennis courts on land it owns just north of Hollywood School.
On Jan. 12, District 208 filed a motion asking for Judge Mikva to schedule a formal settlement conference after informal discussions with the village didn’t lead anywhere.
“We’ve had some informal conversations, but this hopefully will move us forward,” said Nicki Bazer, the attorney representing District 208 in the case.
Representing RBHS at the conference will be Bazer, District 208 Superintendent Kevin Skinkis, District 208 school board President Mike Welch and school board member Ed Jepson. Representing the village of Brookfield will be Village Attorney Richard Ramello, Village President Kit Ketchmark and Brookfield Village Manager Keith Sbiral.
The conference is expected to be lengthy and could take all afternoon.
“This is not an easy, quick fix resolution, so I think we’ll be there for some time,” Bazer said.
Neither the high school nor the village would say what their opening offers would be. Ketchmark told the Landmark that during previous informal discussions the village did make an offer to settle the case.
“We have proposed a settlement,” Ketchmark said. “They had proposed their settlement, which was basically what they had asked for to begin with. I mean it wasn’t anything different than that. That’s the point we’re at. We’ve proposed something and we’ll see where we end up on Thursday.”
The details of the talks are expected to be kept private.
“Anything that we provide to each in settlement and economic conversations are confidential, and obviously that it is the way to get things resolved,” Bazer said.
In late October 2015, the village slapped a stop work order preventing RBHS from completing work on a long jump and triple jump pits and runways in the field just north of Hollywood School, saying that the high school did not secure the necessary permits for the work.
If those runways are not completed in the next month or two, RBHS will not be able to host any home track and field meets this season.
Since the old tennis courts have been torn up, the boys tennis teams will be forced to practice and play at an offsite location for a second consecutive year. Even if a settlement is reached soon, it is unlikely that new tennis courts could be built in time to be ready for the spring season.