I am more than a little shocked at the contents of an email forwarded to me by a reader.

The newsletter was sent out by an outfit I’ve never heard of before, Ed-Red. Evidently, this is a “private” group that is supported by dues from member school districts. That’s your money, in other words. What do they do with this money? From their website, it appears that mostly what they do is hire lobbyists.

The newsletter that was forwarded to me is the edition from March 19. Here’s the part that shocks me:

HB 261 (Eddy, R-Hudsonville) is a companion bill to SB 48…which increases the limit for districts to competitively bid contracts. Thanks again to Kevin Nohelty from CCSD #15 and Steve East from Township HS #211 for trekking to Springfield twice to offer testimony in support of the legislation.

Steve East is an administrative employee of District 211.

Do you think the parents of District 211 are underwriting Mr. East’s generous salary so that he can lobby in Springfield? Perhaps he lobbied on two days that he took as vacation days or personal days. I”ll email him to find out.

If Mr. East is lobbying on the taxpayer’s dime, that needs to stop, and the members of the school board need to be held accountable to ensure that such behavior doesn’t continue.

Regardless of whether Mr. East’s little trips to Springfield were paid for by the taxpayer, the organization that sent out this email bragging about his trips is sponsored by the taxpayer.

And the bill they’re both in favor of? HB 261 changes Illinois law so that the law requiring school districts to obtain competitive bids for services and contracts is suspended for:

…contracts for utilities and related services when the cost is less than that offered by a local distribution company.

Hm. Utilities. Isn’t District 211 currently being sued because it entered into a no-bid contract for electricity with the Illinois Energy Consortium?

Why, yes.

How convenient and interesting that an employee of District 211 is heading down to Springfield to try to get the law changed so that school districts would be allowed to enter into utility contracts without getting a competitive bid as long as the electricity provider it contracts with charges less than “a local distribution company”.

Why does anyone support this bill?

If you’re of a generally conservative disposition, as I am, you’ll be even more sickened to see that the two sponsors of HB 261 are Republicans: Roger Eddy and Suzanne Bassi.

According to his Wikipedia entry, Roger Eddy used to be a public school superintendent.

Suzanne Bassi represents Palatine. Check out her healthy list of corporate and union donors.

The state’s website for representatives doesn’t provide email addresses for representatives. (Pretty dark ages.) Suzanne Bassi’s campaign website does provide an email address for her. I’m writing. I hope you will, too.

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