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Expansion Plan For Special-Needs School Stirs Controversy in Bloomingdale

Mike Parker Mike Parker
Mike Parker has been a general assignment reporter for CBS 2 Chicago...
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(CBS) – A center that serves children with developmental disabilities such as autism wants to expand in the western suburbs, but some neighbors are saying, “Not in my backyard.”

The Marklund Day School on Prairie Avenue in Bloomingdale is state-certified and specializes in teaching youngsters with autism and profound disabilities. The school asked village trustees for permission to build a 12,000-square-foot annex so that they can increase enrolment from 31 to 66 students.

CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports the village board approved the plan 4-1 over the objections of some neighbors.

Some parents brought pictures of their kids who are currently enrolled at the school.

But there were voices of dissent from residents who live on the same street. They say they fear increased bus traffic.

The president and CEO of the school, Gil Fonger, wondered if prejudice against his students was at work.

“It’s hard to look at it and not think that,” he says.