Planners up fines for late campaign signs

By Nina Gougis

The DeKalb Plan Commission discussed planned locations of new school sites in the DeKalb school district Wednesday and increased the fine for allowing campaign signs to linger after an election.

The community development staff and the District 428 school board worked together to estimate projected enrollment growth in schools and determine how many new schools will be needed, City Planner Ray Keller said.

Based on these estimates, there may be as many as four elementary schools and two middle schools placed on the comprehensive plan update in anticipation of future development.

Commissioner Nolan Davis was concerned with how much money each new school will be allocated and whether district schools will be of equal quality.

MeriAnn Besonen, assistant superintendent of business and finance, said the amount of money allocated to each school will be proportional to the number of students who go there.

In addition, each school will have similar mixtures of old and new teachers. That way, students throughout the district can receive a well-rounded education, Besonen said.

“It is not good politics to have one good school and one bad school in the same district,” Besonen said. “[The school board] would not allow that to happen.”

The community development staff plans to have a public hearing on the plan in late November or early December, Keller said.

The commission voted 3-1 to increase fines for the use of political signs on lawns past the designated date and allow the use of larger signs on lawns. The maximum sign requirement increased from 8 to 16 square-feet per lot.

The fine for political signs that are not removed within 10 days after the election will increase from a single $100 fee to a $50 fee plus the cost of removal.

Davis, who proposed to increase the fines, said the changes should not be made until after the November presidential election.

The commission will hold its next meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 27 in the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St.