ed-red


Thank you so much to a reader for providing me with an inside report on a key meeting held in District 211 union HQ last Thursday, April 5 to discuss what the lawsuit against District 211 for entering into a no-bid contract for electricity means to the union.

Hosted by union leader John Braglia, the meeting was attended by about 25 union reps, four members of the Illinois House, two members of the Illinois Senate and three candidates for the District 211 school board. None of the school board incumbents who are running for re-election attended.

There as invited guests were Todd Rowden and Timothy Binetti. They are the attorneys in charge of the lawsuit brought by Bill Tarsitano against D211 for its no-bid energy contract.

State Rep. Suzanne Bassi was there and, we hear, was given an earful for her advocacy of an insane piece of proposed state legislation that would exempt school districts from having to look at competitive price bids for electricity and natural gas.

State Rep. Paul D. Froehlich, a Republican from Schaumburg, was also there. Rep. Froehlich has a website here.

According to the report we’ve been given, Rep. Froehlich crisply and authoritatively interjected “this doesn’t pass the smell test” as he listened to a description of the process by which District 211 entered into the now-infamous no-bid energy contract.

Suzanne Bassi must not see it the same way, since she has refrained from publicly disassociating herself from the absurd HB 261.

We hear that a young firebrand at the meeting denounced Bassi as a “mouthpiece for the superintendents”.

We also hear that Bassi is closely associated with District 211 school board president Debra Strauss, who is fighting to retain her position of influence on the school board. Besides being the chair of the D211 school board, Strauss also chairs lobbying firm Ed-Red, which is known to be lobbying in favor of HB 261 with your tax dollars.

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A reader was the source for this blog’s revelation last week that paid administrators working for District 211 and District 15 spent two days in Springfield lobbying for the atrocious HB 261, a bill that would exempt school districts from having to get bids for utility contracts.

As my readers know, District 211 is currently defending itself against a lawsuit because it entered into a no-bid contract for electricity with the Illinois Energy Consortium. The concern that we as parents and taxpayers have about that no-bid contract is that it seems very likely that District 211 is paying more for electricity than it needs to pay, in spite of District 211’s increasingly lame attempts to claim otherwise.

Not only are we paying more for electricity, we’re also paying for attorneys to defend against the lawsuit, and now it turns out we’re paying for our administrators to spend days in Springfield lobbying for a bill that means that in the future the District 211 school board could with impunity enter into no-bid contracts for electricity and natural gas.

UNBELIEVABLE.

Would you like some answers from the District 211 school board members? I know I would, so I wrote each of them last week.

I also wrote to all the board members and candidates for District 15, since a District 15 employee also spent two days in Springfield lobbying on behalf of the atrocious HB 261. One District 211 school board member responded. He said he’d answer my questions if I gave him my telephone number. So much for “improving communications”.

Meanwhile, two District 15 school board members and/or candidates responded to the question I asked them about what they think about we, the parents and taxpayers, footing the bill for an administrative employee to lobby for a bill in Springfield that is so bad that Suzanne Bassi has withdrawn herself as chief co-sponsor–even though, as we know from District 211 school board member Bill Lloyd, she came under heavy pressure from District 211 honchos to support this absurd legislation.

Here are excerpts from the two answers I got. I post these because I think it’s important for concerned citizens to know what our school board members and candidates think. If you like the answers, or if you dislike the answers, take this as a signal to get involved.

I think that lobbying by District employees is allowable where the lobbying agenda has been fully disclosed, deliberated upon, and approved by a vote of the Board of Education. I think it is important that District administrators not set their own agendas, and it is up to the board to make sure that the administrators and their lobbying efforts serve the best interests of the community.

and

I am most certainly AGAINST our employees lobbying for this at 211 or 15. Our employees and superintendent all work for the tax payers/community under the direction of the board. I don’t think that there is one community member that would support the district in its effort to loosen the constraints of the laws that bind them. (ie raise 10k to 25k) Our children and their education should be our focus.

Blog readers: Please ask District 211 and District 15 board members and candidates where they stand on this! And let me know what you hear