It is time for the members of the District 211 school board to openly share with the community their views on recent developments.

I sent each member of the school board the following email this morning with my questions. You may have your own. I’ve included their email addresses at the end so you can easily email them.

Dear members of the District 211 school board:

According to Chad Brooks of the Daily Herald, the main focus of candidates for the District 211 school board in the upcoming school board election is the need to improve communications.

On my weblog about District 211, I have been reporting the story about the controversial contract between District 211 and the Illinois Energy Consortium.

Parents, teachers and taxpayers in District 211 have a growing list of questions about this. I invite each of you to respond to the following questions. This will help promote the better communication that we all desire.

Question 1:

In an article in last week’s Pioneer Local by Mario Bartoletti, superintendent Roger Thornton is quoted as saying that “the selection process [for electricity provider] used by the district was as open as those in other districts. ‘We did three requests for proposal,‘ he said. ‘Our Board of Education is the one that took the final action in public session.'”

However, board member Bill Lloyd has now publicly disagreed with Mr. Thornton. Mr. Lloyd wrote on March 25, “The district did not bid in any way for its electricity or natural gas purchase. I have been the Board of Education representative to attend all sealed bid openings as per board policy. Bids were never sent out under the board’s policy on bidding procedure. As for another form of bidding that would have requested proposals without the requirement that they be sealed, this also did not occur.”

Who is telling the straight story: Mr. Lloyd or Mr. Thornton?

Question 2:

As a board member, do you feel, in retrospect, that you were given adequate information by Roger Thornton before agreeing to the contract with the Illinois Energy Consortium?

Question 3:

Last week, District 211 lobbying firm Ed-Red sent out an e-newsletter congratulating District 211 administrative employee Steve East for spending two days in Springfield lobbying on behalf of HB 261. HB 261 is a bill that would exempt school districts from having to seek competitive bids for utility contracts.

District 211 board president Debra Strauss is also on the board of Ed-Red.

District 211 employees have taken other actions to support HB 261, as described by Bill Lloyd:

“After [Suzanne Bassi] introduced this bill, she was called to the district offices of D211 and met with the superintendent among others. After this meeting she promptly tabled her bill and signed on as a co-sponsor of House Bill 261. You see, District 211 is actively supporting HB 261, the bill that removes bidding requirements. Without explicit board approval, district personnel have been working to get this bill passed in the legislature even including testifying in front of the committee working on this bill.”

Since you as a board did not approve this lobbying activity on the part of District 211 administrative personnel, who did? I wrote to Steve East last week to ask him who ordered him to do this. He has not responded.

Your board president Debra Strauss has also not responded to my inquiries on this.

Question 4:

Have any of you attempted to learn who made the decision to order Mr. East to make these trips?

Question 5:

Were you present at the meeting in District 211 offices with Suzanne Bassi, after which she switched from being an opponent to being a supporter of HB 261?

Question 6:

Do you support HB 261?

Question 7:

If you do support HB 261, what reasons can you provide for supporting it?

Thank you for your time and your commitment to open, honest sharing with your constituents.

Here are the email addresses of the District 211 school board members:

Debra Strauss.

Martha Swierczewski.

Charles Fritz, Jr.

Lynn Davis.

Robert LeFevre.

Anna Klimkowicz.

Bill Lloyd.

I’d like to find out if any of the non-incumbent candidates for the upcoming school board election support or oppose HB 261, but I still am finding it impossible to locate any contact information for them.

If any of my readers know how to get in touch with any of the non-incumbent candidates, please email me.

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