Friday, November 11, 2005

Dist. 15 opens its books

Bravo to Palatine District 15 for opening its books to the public. This great article appeared in the November 11, 2005 addtion of the Daily Herald .

Dist. 15 opens its books

By Nadia Malik

Board agrees to put district documents online and in libraries
In an effort to increase its transparency, the Palatine Township Elementary District 15 board agreed Wednesday to place several documents on its Web site.

Teacher salary schedules, the packets the board receives before meetings and a full budget will all be available to the public without having to file a request through the Freedom of Information Act.

The documents will also be available at the Rolling Meadows, Palatine and Barrington public libraries, which all sit in the district’s jurisdiction.

“That allows anybody who doesn’t have a computer … to go into the libraries and examine documents,” board President Scott Boucher said.

The board also recently decided to start taping its meetings, which have been playing on public access television in Hoffman Estates, Palatine and Rolling Meadows. A schedule of the air dates is available on the district’s Web site.

These same tapes will also be placed in all three libraries.

Many of the documents that will be made public played an integral role in the tax-rate increase request the district had on the ballot in February and the board elections in April.

Some residents, for example, took issue with the raises the teachers have received in their past negotiations with the district.

Board vice president Tim Millar asked that an explanation of the teacher salary schedule also be placed on the Web site, since the document is hard to read and caused some questions during the elections.

School improvement plans for each of the district’s 20 buildings and the collective bargaining agreements for all three of the unions the district deals with will also appear both on the Web and in the libraries.

Millar originally brought up the issue at the October board meeting, and Boucher had questioned some parts of the proposal at the time.

On Wednesday, he said that after exploring the issue - including searching other school board Web sites to see what kinds of documents appeared on their site - he felt comfortable with the idea.

“I was making sure that this was talked about before we did it,” he said.

The below message comes directly from the Illinois State Board of Education website.

“Since budget time is once again on the minds of school business administrators, this is a reminder that if your school district has a website, in accordance with Section 17-1.2 and Section 34-43a of the School Code, you are required to post your budget on your school district’s website. To assist you in meeting this requirement, follow the steps below to convert the ISBE 50-36 Budget Form to a .pdf that can easily be posted to your website. This form can be located on the ISBE website.”

If your school district has a website remind them to put the budget online.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

School board dines on taxpayers' dime

The article below appeared in the November 10th addition of the Northwest Herald. There is no reason why this school board could not interview candidates on school premises. This is a good note to remember when they ask District residents to vote "yes" for a tax increase in March 2006.

Those interested in investigating your school districts should do FOIA requests for the school board's budget. School boards often go to conferences and sometimes spend thousands of taxpayer dollars on meals and alcohol at these conferences.

School board dines on taxpayers' dime

McHENRY – Using consultants' advice, District 12 likely will spend about $1,500 this week on meals at Dunnhills for seven school board members, Business Manager Pat Bingman, and three superintendent candidates.

The board scheduled interviews Tuesday, Wednesday and today at the restaurant, 1501 S. Route 31, McHenry, where most entrees cost between $10 and $25. The group ate dinner before each closed-session interview in the restaurant's meeting room. Tuesday's bill, which included some appetizers and desserts, but no alcohol, came to $490.72, Bingman said.

Consultants from the Illinois Association of School Boards suggested taking the candidates to dinner in an informal setting, board President Tom Liston said.

The association presented six candidates, which were interviewed in a six-hour special board meeting last month, he said.

"Beyond seeing these people in a very regimented setting, we get to see them in a social setting," Liston said. "He's going to be an individual who is going to be very public; his public persona is very important to our choice."

The meals at Dunnhills are paid out of the board of education expense budget in the district's education fund, Bingman said. The $307,400 expense fund covers $170,000 in worker's compensation premiums, as well as legal fees, copies, background checks for new employees, property appraisal, postage, and legal publications in the newspaper.

The expense fund also covers the Illinois Association of School Board's $7,500 fee.

Kathy Ignoffo, a parent and athletic booster club president, said she was glad the school board members were interviewing candidates in a laid-back atmosphere.

"Do I like that it's $500 a night?" she said. "No, but I don't know how else they can do that."

The board members will discuss its impressions and, they hope to reach a consensus at a closed-session meeting Tuesday, Liston said.

"Hopefully, we'll be contacting people after our next meeting," he said. "We would announce only after they accept after they've had time to talk with their own constituency."

Board members want to select a candidate to replace Superintendent Rob Gough this semester so Gough can train his replacement.

Gough plans to retire in summer 2006 after serving 28 years as a district administrator, the last 18 as superintendent.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Educating the public about referenda.

One of the keys to fighting referenda is educating the public a good way to do this is to write Letters to the Editor. This great example appeared online November 9th in the Daily Herald.

District 87 board doesn’t listen well
I hope the students of District 87 are better listeners than their administrators. After having experienced two failed referendums within a year, both aimed at raising our taxes, you’d think they’d get the message. Well, based on newspaper accounts, it appears the school board needs to work on their listening skills. The voters have communicated our frustration with a public school system that has an insatiable thirst for additional money while failing to improve the quality of education for our children.

It’s indisputable that year after year the cost of public education has gone up faster than the rate of inflation, while nationally, standardized test scores, along with other objective measures of success, have faced declines.

In an increasingly competitive world, we should demand that our children be given the tools they need to succeed. The current system has proven that it can’t meet this objective; no matter how much money we pour into it.

What’s required is fundamental reform. Merit-based pay for teachers to attract and retain the best and brightest, and more stringent graduation requirements are among the many changes necessary. In the absence of real reform, and therefore a continued decline in the quality of public education, parents should be given the option of sending their children to those schools which are delivering a quality education, and not be penalized financially.

One definition of insanity is to continue doing what you’ve always done and expect a different result. Let’s stop the insanity. To the District 87 board of education, I say, “no reform, no more money.”

Steven Keate


Monday, November 07, 2005

K-12 Brainwashing

Recently we came across a new NEWS source that you may want to add to your daily reading list called Education News.Org
. We found a link to the below article at in

K-12 Brainwashing
By Ari Kaufman | November 4, 2005
It is no longer a secret that many public and private universities are populated by professors who use their classrooms to recruit students to their political agendas. But while the politicization of the universities is now common knowledge, an even more distressing instance of this abuse is to be found in the nation’s K-12 schools.

I have that on good authority. I have been a teacher in Los Angeles-area elementary and middle schools and have witnessed first hand how students who are younger and more impressionable are being regularly indoctrinated by leftwing teachers. Having worked in a number of different school districts over the past five years, from the well-to-do Palisades to the hardscrabble Watts neighborhood, I can further attest that cases of indoctrination occur far more often than many would believe possible. For the complete article go to .