CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. (CBS) — Some children in Crystal Lake learned a tough lesson this week that hard work and plans can sometimes go awry.

WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports the students at Bernotas Middle School spent 2 ½ years raising $18,000 for a new 6-foot high electronic school sign that would flash messages about upcoming events and programs.

But when the school’s parent teacher organization took their request for a sign to the Crystal Lake City Council this week, members voted it down 4-3. Opponents said the project was inappropriate for a residential neighborhood, and would be a nuisance to neighbors.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

Crystal Lake School District 47 Supt. Don Mendoza said the kids are disappointed.

“In the end, you know, we’ve got to follow the process, that’s government, and you follow the process, and you have to live with whatever the outcome is,” he said. “We went through the process, and sometimes you win some, you lose some. In this case, the city ruled based upon their vote, and so at this time, we’re going to have to go back to the drawing board.”

Mendoza, whose own daughter is a student at Bernotas and who himself contributed to the fund, said he’s disappointed with the city’s decision, but he can’t criticize them.

“It’s a tough call. The sign is in a residential neighborhood, and we want to be good stewards, and good neighbors with our taxpayers,” Mendoza said.

He said the money the students raised won’t go to waste. They’ll figure out how to erect another sign that will meet with the city’s approval.

“We definitely need a sign. I mean, we need to be able to put something out there that keeps our families informed,” Mendoza said. “All of our other schools have them, and so I think at this point’ we’ll have to figure out how to use the funds. The funds aren’t going to go to waste, that’s definitely for sure, but we’ll have to have a discussion about where we go from here.”

Watch & Listen LIVE