Illinois energy consortium


The rumor I hear is that the hearing in front of a judge about whether District 211 violated state law by entering into a no-bid contract for energy with the Illinois Energy Consortium has been moved to Friday, June 22.

Lennie at Education Matters filed an “open records” request with some school districts to see if, like District 211, they also used a no-bid business model in their energy purchases.

A lot of school districts who are buying energy from the Illinois Energy Consortium, as he has learned through his Freedom of Information requests, did not use a competitive bid process.

One of those school districts is Round Lake, as Lennie reports.

He says:

You might be asking yourself why I am holding out Round Lake as different than other particpants in the IEC, IUPC, or other energy consortiums who did not competitively bid energy contracts. The answer is simple, Round Lake schools have been under State Finance Authority since 2002. In other words, while under State Control, the school district has been allowed to continue the practice of no-bid contracts.

The SFA fixed the glaring financial mismanagement that had been rampant in the district necessitating the State oversite. They allowed the no-bid practice to continue that has enabled other State organizations, the IASB, IASBO, and the IASA to collect millions of dollars at the expense of the taxpayers.

Lennie notes that the Illinois Senate and House are pushing through bills as fast as they can to legally exempt school districts from having to get competitive bids.

It’s urgent that you contact your senator and representative. Lennie shows you how to do that.

It has been awhile since I looked at District 211’s official website update about its dealings with the Illinois Energy Consortium. Looking at it this morning, the first few paragraphs seem new (although I may just have early onset senile dementia).

Here are the first few sentences of the update as it now reads with my comments:

On May 11, 2006, the District 211 Board of Education approved the best offer received in the District’s request for proposals for electric and natural gas.

It has been reported over and over again and even, I think, stipulated in the court filings, that there were no written requests for proposals issued by the District. At best, I believe that a District 211 employee made some phone calls. So I think it is a significant exaggeration to refer to “the District’s request for proposals”.

(more…)

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 🙂

Lennie at the new website devoted to learning more about no-bid contracts and the Illinois Energy Consortium is regularly updating that site with information about which school districts (besides D211) didn’t use a competitive bidding process.

 Sorry about the delay. Checking my visitor stats, 120 of you have already been here no doubt looking for the latest and you probably already now know that two challengers won.

The incumbents who won are Debra Strauss and Lynn Davis. The challengers who won are George Brandt and Susan Kenley-Rupnow. Kenley-Rupnow was the top vote-getter.

The way I see it: When an incumbent loses and a challenger is the top voter-getter, voters are starting to look for change.

The Daily Herald says:

District 211 victors face challenges.

The latest round of contention between the administration and teachers union is over a recent energy contract the district agreed to.

The union said the contract with the Illinois Energy Consortium should be rescinded, claiming it violates Illinois School Code.

Of course, there are plenty of folks in the District who aren’t particularly pro-union or connected to the union who are asking the same questions.

I’m thinking that Bill Lloyd might be feeling a little less lonely this morning. He writes:

Election Day 1: The Future Begins.

District 15 results are chronicled here with quite a big old dose of Daily Herald snark.

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