April 2007


The IASBO, or Illinois Association of School Business Officials is one of three sponsors of the controversial Illinois Energy Consortium.

On May 16-18, the IASBO has planned a lovely gathering for itself–for the “school business officials”, superintendents and highly-paid administrators who handle our school finances.

You can golf at one of two exclusive golf resorts followed by delicious and expensive meals.

You can wander through an exhibit hall full of exhibitors looking for business from your school district.

The highlights certainly sound terrific.

Kind of price-y. I’m guessing that most attendees get those fees reimbursed by their school district. (That means you pay for it.)

Wow! Check out the housing options. I don’t know whether I’d prefer the Hotel Pere Marquette or the Mark Twain Hotel. They both sound fab!

Hard to decide whether I’d want to cruise on The Spirit of Peoria or spend that evening at The Par-A-Dice Casino.

(If I’m already gambling with the money of the taxpayers of my district through no-bid utility contracts, maybe I’d go with that delightful sounding cruise.)

Truly, I can’t decide between golf courses. Should I pick Weaver Ridge?

What is perhaps Illinois’ most spectacular Championship golf course is set in rolling hills and forested valleys…unrivaled anywhere in Central Illinois, planned for gracious living and challenging golf for players of all ages and abilities.

or Coyote Creek?

Our course displays nature in all of its glory with numerous lakes and creeks, which feature stone bridges, as well as the serenity of flowing waterfalls.

The Cresthill School District has a new blog focusing on it. Welcome and happy writing!

Lennie at Education Matters has posted Part I and Part II of his first-person account of Michael Medved’s Chicago appearance from Monday.

Great stuff.

There’s more information at Keeping An Eye on the Illinois Energy Consortium website. Which reminds me, I got a note the other day saying that the final hearing in the case of Tarsitano v. District 211 will be held on June 6, so mark that date on your calendar!

 And most importantly, I am wearing a new dress for spring 🙂

Gerald Chapman, recently elected to the District 15 school board, used to be the superintendent at District 211.

A reader wrote this morning with the following question:

“Does anyone know if Gerald Chapman’s firm (he is treasurer) was involved in recruiting his successor at D211? The name of his firm is Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, Ltd. Their website says “Founded in 1987, HYA is the nation’s largest executive search firm serving public school districts.”

Is it true that Gerald Chapman works there? (Update: Yes.)

Did HYA get paid to recruit a D211 superintendent? Anyone know?

Dora Wolf, a District 211 school board member from 1997-2001, found this blog yesterday and left a comment on this post from March 27.

Those of you who just read the newest posts wouldn’t have seen it so I am taking the liberty of re-posting it here on the front page. It concerns no-bid contracts. (I have made minor adjustments to punctuation for ease of reading.)

As a member of District 211 board 97-01 I encountered a reluctance by the district to put all its work out to bid. In fact, when the lab addition to Fremd HS was planned only one plan was put forth to the board and this was within weeks before the work was to start.

When another member of the board–Mary Wrobleski–and I made a motion to receive more than one “bid” the president of the board (Ms. Swezerski) dismissed the motion on the very next meeting by saying that it was an illegal motion.

Here is the twisted logic that they used to do that:

They said the attorney opined that if the district has a satisfactory relationship for professional services ie legal, architect, contractor that the law does not require that the item be put out to bid and therefore the law says that the particular project not be bid to more than the contractor that the district had used for the past 20 years.

Since they had a satisfactory relationship, a motion to approve was raised, the board voted and the project went forward.

Other members of the board at that time are still sitting on the board: Davis, Strauss and Klimkowitz.

The Superintendent at the time was Dr. Chapman, who is now a newly elected District 15 board member.

Additionally Ms Strauss is the person who handles legislative items for the board.

Has anyone heard her explanation of the proposed bill and has that board agreed publicly on what position to take?

Attending a board meeting for district 211 is the worst experience a human being could have because it looks like a lot happens but an audience member leaves feeling like it was held in a foreign language, it is designed that way so noone knows what is happening. That often includes the board members.

Here, we seem to have yet another example of the District 211 school board paying an attorney to re-assure the board that it’s just fine and dandy not to get competitive bids.

This leaves us once again with that perplexing question: Does the District 211 board not want to save money?

You know, regardless of whether in any given situation the school board can pay an attorney (with your money) to come up with some kind of rationalization for why it doesn’t have to bother finding the best price, why don’t they want to find the best price?

Seriously…what’s up with that, anyway?

Michael Medved is one of the nation’s top syndicated talk show hosts. Tonight, according to his website, he is appearing in Chicagoland:

Also on the 23rd, Michael will be the keynote speaker for the Day of Truth. Please join him at this free event, 7:00pm at Deerfield High School.

Medved was invited to speak by a group of high school students. The issue at hand was reported here.

Students at Deerfield High School were required to attend a “Straight Gay Alliance Network” panel led by upperclassmen identified as homosexual, as part of an advisory class that promoted homosexuality. Students were also required to sign a “confidentiality agreement” before attending the session that forbade them from telling anyone–including their parents–about the panel material.

I don’t cotton to the idea of talking about “the homosexual agenda” in hushed conspiratorial voices as in that article. My guess is that the reason for the pledge of confidentiality is because the gay students who would have been talking on the panel wanted to feel safe to share what life is like for them in high school as gay students.

However, it just doesn’t work in a large public school setting to require students to attend a panel on a controversial subject and require them to sign a pledge of confidentiality. It makes it look like you’re deliberately trying to keep secrets from the parents and that’s never going to fly.

Anyway, I like Michael Medved and if my schedule permitted, I’d go to the talk tonight.

HT: Lennie at Education Matters.

From the Daily Herald, Bomb scare brings misdemeanor charge.

All was quiet at Schaumburg High School on Friday, one day after a 16-year-old student was charged with one count of misdemeanor disorderly conduct for reportedly making a bomb threat that caused the school’s early dismissal on Thursday.

Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 spokesman Tom Petersen said all five District 211 high schools had a visible police presence Friday, the eighth anniversary of the Columbine shooting spree in Colorado, but there were no incidents.

Teenager charged in Schaumburg High School bomb scare.

A 16-year-old student at Schaumburg High School has been charged with one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct, accused of making a bomb threat that caused the evacuation of the high school Thursday.

Schaumburg police said today they saw nothing at the high school or at the boy’s home that would indicate he had the means to actually make a bomb.

This incident near the anniversary of the Columbine shooting spree reminds us all of the problem of copycat crimes…it was upsetting to me and many others last week when the national news media splashed innumerable images and photos of the Virginia Tech killer all over the airwaves. For someone who thinks that way, that kind of coverage is a positive reward for committing mayhem and murder. I believe our local media and the school administration handled the Schaumburg situation–which may itself have been related in a copycat way to the Columbine anniversary–with restraint and dignity.

A Schaumburg student posts about the incident.

Online thoughts from another Schaumburg student.

Another student’s online reflections.

Chicago Trib: Student questioned after suburban high school evacuation.

CBS Chicago News: Police Question Teen About School Bomb Threat.

Northwest Herald: School evacuated after bomb threat.

Chicago Sun-Times: School evacuated over student’s bomb talk.

Chad Brooks at the Daily Herald is following the upsetting story most closely:

The school was evacuated this afternoon (around 1:30 p.m.) as a precautionary measure. Students were escorted to the football stadium where they were allowed to board buses or eventually return to their personal vehicles and leave the campus.

School will be in session today, with a police presence at all five of the schools. Additional searches will continue until police feel satisfied that no one is in danger and no dangerous materials are present.

Each of the five websites has been updated to include information such as an advisory from Sup. Thornton which I believe strikes a good tone.

How are your kids reacting?

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