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School District 300 Head Offers Alternative To Keep Sears In Illinois

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The headquarters of Sears Holding Corporation rises above the trees on the company's corporate campus in Hoffman Estates. (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The headquarters of Sears Holding Corporation rises above the trees on the company’s corporate campus in Hoffman Estates. (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) – A northwest suburban school superintendent is trying to keep Sears headquarters in his district with a more evenhanded approach than hundreds of protestors who don’t care if Sears stays or goes.

Michael Bregy, superintendent of Carpentersville-based School District 300, countered chants of “NO WAY E-D-A” with a proposal to maintain the Hoffman Estates EDA – or economic development area – for Sears only.

The 800-acre plot also hosts retail outlets, which also get tax breaks.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports

“This is the only proposal that’s out there right now and it’s a considerable move for our school district to be the first ones to give a proposal,” Bregy said.

The initial proposal to renew the EDA would require 4,000 jobs in the area be maintained, according to Bregy. The district wants 4,000 jobs maintained at Sears alone. Also, should Sears move out of state, the district wants the tax breaks in the area to expire immediately.

Bregy said that’s proof that he, unlike some District 300 protestors, want to keep Sears where it is by forcing them to maintain a large workforce.

“We’re asking them to specifically change the language so we know that they’re actually Sears jobs that are staying, and not just jobs from other places that happen to be on the EDA property, like Cabela’s or the hotel,” Bregy said.

He also wants the district, state and the city of Hoffman Estates to contribute $2 million annually toward keeping Sears in Illinois – in exchange for Sears’ request for $125 million in incentives.

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