A note about the 2014 campaigns…

Posted September 25, 2013 by chrisrobling
Categories: Current Events, Politics

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dear candidates dan, bill, kirk and bruce–

i will not remain silent any more.  

check it out…

http://capitolfax.com/2013/09/23/highly-doubtful/ 

- chris robling – Monday, Sep 23, 13 @ 3:21 pm:

what i see (above at the Capitol Fax post) is pretty tired, shop-worn and inadequate. it will bring defeat, just ask our last gubernatorial “campaign manager.”

what we need is a new balance, in which no single republican is asked to retreat on any given issue, but all republicans determine that winning — on our terms, on our issues — is more important than their pet issue leading the party parade.

we must stop spending into our first bankruptcy since 1842.

we must stop taxing our way to a smaller economy with fewer jobs, less growth, dwindling income, net dis-investment and de-population.

we must halt wasting precious dollars in efforts to serve democrat constituencies at the expense of public goods, and leaving would-be beneficiaries unhelped.

we must regulate to welcome businesses as partners in creating the new illinois, not to punish them as adversaries available for contributions and taxes.

we must appeal to folks in every neighborhood of illinois, from golconda to galena and lawndale to lawrenceville with a message of hope and determination to explode madigan’s boot of oppression, and to return to them their rightful future — as illinoisans — of prosperity and security.

if someone thinks this agenda makes its adherent a rino, then i am happy to debate them any time.

if we do it like we have, we will lose.

if we hedge and muffle, shuffle and mumble, as at least three of our four candidates are doing right now, then we appear tepid imitators of the big brother oppressors. we will lose.

people want a champion whose leadership is rooted in identity with their problems and lived reality.

p.s. all lt. gov. candidates should dedicate their campaigns to abolishing the wasteful and unnecessary office and all its wasteful and unnecessary spending.

cheers, c

The Voters and Districts Won

Posted April 9, 2013 by chrisrobling
Categories: District 96, Education, Riverside Brokfield High School -- Referendum, Riverside Brookfield High School -- Athletics, Riverside Brookfield High School -- Turnaround

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Congratulations to tonight’s seven winners in Districts 208 and 96, and thanks to all candidates.  It takes special determination to campaign.  Since in these candidates, that determination is based on a desire to serve others, the mere campaign was itself noble.  Seven will now hold office and continue their service.  To them, thank you in advance for all of your time and energy, and best of luck as you work on our behalf.  With you go our hopes and aspirations.  Please be bold as you pursue them.

Something of a Sum-up

Posted April 8, 2013 by chrisrobling
Categories: Education, Riverside Brokfield High School -- Referendum, Riverside Brookfield High School -- Athletics, Riverside Brookfield High School -- Turnaround

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We have come to the end of another campaign and I am struck by the words of another poster, “Respect is about more than money.”

I couldn’t agree more. In fact, all of the RB reform that people have pushed since 2006 derives from the observation.

RB in 2006 spent without controls, made promises it did not keep, was ruled by a group of cliques operating with the knowing approval of the board, and pushed kids into AP classes and AP tests to mask the above by getting meaningless ratings on one ranking.

Smart kids did well, but average kids fell into gaps between regular and AP classes. Resources were wasted. Curriculum was skewed. Integrity was sacrificed. RB’s actions disrespected students, parents, taxpayers and residents.

No surprise: Beneficiaries of the dysfunction have bayed loudly, deceptively and, as we see nearby [at riversideinfo.org, Landmark letter - Turnaround needed at RBHS, c.page 70] crassly, to impede reform.

It is exactly what they did two years ago – trying desperately then to convince voters to impose on themselves the largest local tax hike in history. More money, in their view, would solve all of RB’s problems.

Voters said, “No.” The resulting stringency enabled a reform board and administration to unearth the depths of RB’s overripe issues – in curriculum, construction, collective bargaining, finance and simple management.

With the next contract on the line, these issues are present in tomorrow’s vote. All of RB’s reform is right there, before the voters. We will see what they say, and we will learn from their choices. My sense is the voters know who in their board actions has respected them and their tax dollars, and they will reward those officeholders, and their running mate, accordingly.

Don’t forget to vote.

Salaries, Ratios and Results at RB

Posted April 1, 2013 by chrisrobling
Categories: Current Events, Education, Riverside Brokfield High School -- Referendum, Riverside Brookfield High School -- Athletics, Riverside Brookfield High School -- Turnaround

Tags: , , , , ,

Much criticism of Riverside-Brookfield High School’s leadership relies on assertions of lost quality of academic achievement.  “These class size raises are hard to bear and really make education at RB worse…” is one quote from a poster.  But a straightforward review of official sources reveals that RB’s academic achievements were halting and discontinuous, particularly when the board has considered raises for members of the Riverside Brookfield Education Association, until the last four years, when progress has been measured and steady, even after “class size” grew.

For instance, no RB class ACT composite score between 2002 and 2008  equaled, let alone exceeded, the 2000-2001 composite score of 22.8 (2002 = 21.6; 2003, 21.7; 2004, 22; 2005, 22.4; 2006, 22.3; 2007, 22.5; and 2008, 22.5).

By 2007-2008, two of five scores (English, Math, Reading, Science Reasoning and Composite) were higher than those of 2000-2001.  English and Reading both reached 23.3, from 2001 bases of 22.2 and 23.0, respectively.  But Math and Science Reasoning both fell, Math to 21.9 from 22.6, and Science Reasoning to 22.0 from 22.7.

In fact, of the 35 individual scores that followed 2001 (five scores per year for the seven-year period) only five exceeded their 2001 value.  Those were the 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 English scores, and the 2008 Reading score.  Each of the 30 other scores were less than the 2001 result for their particular area.  That means all of the scores in Math, Science Reasoning, and Composite, and all but one Reading score, were below their respective 2001 outcome.

By 2008, the four-year upturn in English and the improved Reading score were not enough to pull the composite above that of the class of 2001.  What slight improvement RB’s Composite saw came almost exclusively from English results, until 2008.  Source: Table 9, “High School Profile Report,” page 7 in “Riverside Brookfield High School District 208 Testing Report, 2007-2008 School Year.”

To focus on the decision-making period that led to the three-year, ten-percent raises per year, so-called “catch-up contract,” which took effect on July 1, 2005, the 2003-2004 results, which were available in the run-up to signing the new contract, are particularly illuminating.

As RB’s board considered granting three years of ten percent raises in the spring of 2005, the 2004 results underperformed those of 2001 across the board.

English, Math, Reading, Science Reasoning and Composite all fell from the 2001 levels.  English fell to 21.7 (2004) from 22.2 (2001), Math to 21.6 from 22.6, Reading to 22.4 from 23.0, Science Reasoning to 21.6 from 22.7 and Composite to 22, down from 22.8.

Similarly, the run-up to the current contract (July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2013) took place in view of the 2007 results.  English was in the third year of a rise, at 23.1 from 22.2 in 2001.  But it stood alone as an increasing value.  Math was 21.8, down from 22.6 in 2001, Reading, 22.4, down from 23.0, Science Reasoning 22.4, down from 22.7, and Composite was 22.5, still down from 22.8.  Source: Table 9, “High School Profile Report,” page 7 in “Riverside Brookfield High School District 208 Testing Report, 2007-2008 School Year.”

Throughout this period RB’s “Average Teacher Salary” grew to more than 151 percent of the state “Average Teacher Salary” in 2012, from more than 138 percent in 2001:

Year State average RB average $ Difference % difference
2001 $47,929 $66,186 $18,257 38.1
2002 49,702 68,342 18,640 37.5
2003 51,672 69,864 18,192 35.2
2004 54,446 70,538 16,092 29.56
2005 55,558 75,545 19,987 35.97
2006 56,685 76,490 19,805 34.94
2007 58,275 79,110 20,835 35.75
2008 60,871 83,745 22,874 37.58
2009 61,402 86,442 25,040 40.78
2010 63,296 90,120 26,824 42.38
2011 64,978 95,138 30,160 46.42
2012 66,614 101,014 34,400 51.64

Source:  Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois School Report Cards, Riverside Brookfield Twp HS, Riverside Brookfield Twp SD 208, 2001-2012, “Teacher/Administrator Salaries (Full-Time Equivalents)”

In the period of the latest contract ACT scores have risen consistently.  English rose to 23.7 (2012, the latest year for which data is available) from 23.5 (2009), Math to 23.7 from 22.4, Reading to 23.5 from 22.7, and Science to 23.2 from 22.5.  RB’s ACT Composite in 2012 was 23.6, up from 22.9 in 2009.

The student-teacher ratio increased to 23.2 in 2012 from 21.5 in 2009, or to 121 percent of the state ratio (19.2) from 112 percent of the 2009 state ratio (also 19.2).

The 2011 RB ratio was 21.3, meaning its rise to 23.3 in the 2011-2012 school year accompanied ACT score increases to 23.7 from 23.4 in English, to 23.4 from 23.2 in Math, to 23.5 from 22.9 in Reading, to 23.2 from 23.0 in Science and to 23.6 from 23.3 for the RB Composite.

Thus, as Average Teacher Salaries increased to 151.6 percent of the state average in 2012 from 141 percent in 2009, and student-teacher ratios increased to 121 percent of the state ratio from 112 percent, RB saw the Composite ACT rise three percent, less than a one percent increase in English, a 4.5% increase in Math, a 3.5% increase in Reading and a three percent increase in Science.

Because overall achievement – as indicated by the ACT scores — continued on its pre-existing course between 2009 and 2012, it is reasonable to conclude economies enacted after July 1, 2011 have not materially diminished attainments — at least as reflected by this data.

(None of this is to suggest either that correlation equals causation, or that descriptive results equal inferential trends.)

Unofficial list of Matt Sinde / Mike Welch / Board accomplishments in office

Posted March 29, 2013 by chrisrobling
Categories: Education, Riverside Brokfield High School -- Referendum, Riverside Brookfield High School -- Athletics, Riverside Brookfield High School -- Turnaround

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Unofficial list of Matt Sinde / Mike Welch / Board accomplishments in office 

With thanks to Members Garry Gryczan, Laura Hruska, John Keen, M.D., Dan Moon and Tim Walsh

(List in formation, not definitive)

 

For many months, dedicated critics of Riverside Brookfield District 208 president Matt Sinde have falsely alleged ‘no accomplishments’ in office.  I have constructed these notes from official board documents on the RBHS web site and the RB Landmark newspaper, and in one case from the student newspaper RB Clarion, to illustrate the fatuousness of the attack. 

I believe the fifty-some achievements listed below show Matt Sinde to have driven vital and necessary change at RB, an “institution in transition” in which decisions needed were “not… popular among staff and many in the community” but which were “inevitable” due to “the utter failure of a property tax referendum in 2011,” with those quotes from the RB Landmark of Wednesday, March 27, 2013. 

The Landmark is to be commended for finding Matt “qualified” and “deserving of the office.”  My own view is Matt provided the steady hand on RB’s tiller that had been absent for years.  With the school’s spending out of control, and the RB-backed 2011 referendum repudiated by a margin of more than three-to-one, tough choices over neglected crises had to be made.  Matt guided the board in its policy-making and oversight role to those choices and through them. 

If you read the minutes now as I have, you will be struck by the rare substantive votes with a division of the board.  Almost all substantive votes earned unanimous support, and the continued unanimity indicates Matt’s leadership style has quietly encouraged all to express their view and to see their concerns resolved.

Matt has said a hundred times his goal is quality sustainable education.  That requires both sides of the phrase, “quality” and “sustainable” to be met.  If one of them is missing, the other does not matter, because either the education is not good or the school will fail, as RB almost did.

Critics of the current board are convinced – or sound convinced – that RB’s recent past included a virtual Renaissance of serious learning.  That assertion will be the subject of another post.  But even if they are right, they should also acknowledge the precarious, if not outright failing, state of the RB they handed over to Matt Sinde and the new board in 2011.

It is no surprise that they do not, but it should also be no surprise to anyone in the community that the following list proves that without fiscal stability, no education program is secure, and the extent of stabilizing that has been necessary at RB shows the whole place had all but imploded.   

Matt Sinde and his incumbent running mate Mike Welch, and the other five members of the current board, Garry Gryczan, Laura Hruska, John Keen, M.D., Dan Moon and Tim Walsh, were dealt a tough hand in May 2011.  The following list of accomplishments shows they made the most of it, and in so doing have charted a path from disaster to a turnaround that, while still daunting in some respects, appears destined for success. 

Each of us – even the harping critics – owes each of them for all of that.  I hereby express my thanks and my admiration for a tough job done very well. 

And – no surprise – I suggest that upon your review of the following you will join me in voting for Matt Sinde, Mike Welch, and their non-incumbent running mate attorney Ed Jepson, on Tuesday, April 9. 

Here is the list:

  1. Established ambitious “School Goals” through consultative process that started in September 2011 with every educator in the building, led by Principal and Superintendent, up through board consensus / 5-0 vote, with Walsh and Keen already supportive, but absent from meeting.  Goals are specific per areas– academics, finance, communication and facilities, progress is measurable.  Major new decision: assess each class (Frosh, Soph, etc.) year-by-year, to chart and intervene if / when necessary for overall achievement, “Riverside-Brookfield High School board sets lofty goals for students,” RBLandmark, 3/19/2013
  2. Hired a talented and resourceful assistant principal after a search that looked closely at 16 candidates.    https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50057223&fn=minutes.pdf
  3. Board instituted two meetings a month – one business, for official votes, and one Committee of the Whole, for issue briefs and discussion of personal views – to work through deferred issue backlog – May 2011
  4. Board adopted Dr. Bonnette’s recommendation of advisory councils instead of board committees, with all advisory council recommendations reaching the board through committee-of-the-whole meetings for notice and transparency: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50062211&fn=minutes.pdf
  5.  No factions.  Reading the meeting minutes, one finds more than 95% of board votes are 7-0, very few are 4-3 or 5-2, several are 6-1, and some are 6-0-1, see: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicHome.aspx?ak=1000871
  6.  Established new school / board website, see: www.rbhs208.net
  7.  Put board agenda and packet items on website, adopted “Board Book” to make documents easier for all to see / understand / use.  See: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50055396&fn=minutes.pdf and https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicHome.aspx?ak=1000871
  8.  Posted TV on its own YouTube.com page, by agenda item, so folks can select their specific issue, see: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7Hlr11SGnRExGGt8aMUOtgvZxoR25Mvi
  9.  Also streamed meetings online, while continuing cable broadcasts, see: www.rbtv.tv
  10.  Posts all bills on school website, see: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=33424705
  11.  Conducted first property inventory in memory, issued report with findings of non-existent procedures, differences to hundreds of thousands of dollars of unaccounted for physical inventory.
  12.  Authorized Superintendent to establish normal personnel procedures where none were found upon his entry into office: “He [Skinkis] wants to establish clear lines of authority, delineating roles among top administrators, something that may have been lacking at RBHS in the recent past… ‘One of my priorities is to clearly establish operational authority for building matters and district matters,’ Skinkis said.”  RBLandmark, 7/12/2011
  13.  Instituted emergency student safety video access to Riverside Police Department, expanded RPD co-operation, including unannounced searches to combat drug sales inside RBHS.  See: http://www.rblandmark.com/News/Articles/1-24-2012/Police-have-live-video-access-to-RBHS/
  14.  Stood up to pressure for another referendum:  “There are no plans to hold a referendum for Riverside-Brookfield High School this spring.  In a story published by the Clarion, Riverside-Brookfield High School’s student newspaper on Oct. 13, District 208 School Board President Matt Sinde was quoted as saying, ‘We will not have a referendum this year.’”  RBLandmark, 10/18/2011
  15.  Rejected the scare tactics of the prior board and administration’s pro-referendum campaign: “If the referendum lost in 2012 the administration said it would cut all extracurricular activities, including all sports, and the school would basically shut down at 3:15 p.m….  “Sinde said Thursday that the current board does not feel that it is obligated to follow through on that recommendation.   ‘I don’t feel bound by that at all,’ Sinde said.  But Sinde wouldn’t commit to having sports next year.  He said that the board and administration will work to develop a budget and take a fresh look at everything.  ‘We are working to develop the budget,’ Sinde said.  ‘That’s all I’m saying right now.  We do not know what we’re cutting.  We don’t know anything like that.’  Sinde said the board is committed to providing students with a good education.  ‘We’ll make the necessary cuts and adjustments to make sure that our children are educated and make sure we’re meeting the needs of our students,’ Sinde said.”  — RBLandmark, 10/18/2011
  16.  Unanimously cut anticipated budgeted deficit by 50% from prior year’s deficit $1,835,131, according to the RBLandmark 9/20/2011, and “RBHS slashes budget deficit through cuts, 2011-12 shortfall half of last year’s number” RBLandmark, 8/16/2011
  17.  Unanimously passed its own 2011-2012 budget, through the two-meeting-per-month discussion process mentioned above, rather than accept the prior board’s legacy budget.  September 13 board minutes at: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50057485&fn=minutes.pdf
  18.  Unanimously cut unnecessary stipends: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50057489&fn=minutes.pdf
  19.  Did not end RB athletics, or other student life activities, as per scare tactic budget
  20.  By vote of 6 – 1, made the tough choice on pay-to-participate, sports participation levels for following season increased: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50057492&fn=minutes.pdf
  21.  Unanimously supported a revised student activity fee: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50057219&fn=minutes.pdf
  22.  Reduced non-certified payroll: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50057219&fn=minutes.pdf
  23.  Unanimously established standards for facility use cost allocations and payments, generating $65,000 as of March 26, 2013 school board meeting report: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50057489&fn=minutes.pdf
  24.  Instituted management of Aramark contract, gaining $40,000 payment prior board overlooked and unanimously cut Aramark costs: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50057219&fn=minutes.pdf
  25.  Unanimously adopted green lighting standards ignored by the reconstruction, qualifying for a Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Energy Efficiency Grant for the transition and reducing future energy costs: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50057223&fn=minutes.pdf
  26.  Found ways in 2011-2012 to assist volunteers in their support of Math Club, Spring Musical and other activities, despite cuts.
  27.  Through cost control, showed surplus for 2011-2012.  “Riverside-Brookfield High School ends fiscal year with a budget surplus” RBLandmark, 7/31/2012
  28.  Unanimously (with one member absent) restored Franczek-Radelet relationship to increase state aid when possible that prior board allowed to lapse: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50070546&fn=minutes.pdf
  29.  Brought back Math Club and Spring Musical in 2012-2013
  30.  By a vote of 6-1, created IRS / SoS standards for adult volunteer organizations that raise $$ in the name of RBHS, https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50057482&fn=minutes.pdf and https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50059175&fn=minutes.pdf  and https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50057218&fn=minutes.pdf
  31.  Made ongoing valuable savings by switching to the Educational Benefit [healthcare services] Cooperative: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50055403&fn=minutes.pdf
  32.  Moved class registration up in the year, giving students curricular certainty and administration ability to rationalize teacher hiring / deployment: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50057481&fn=minutes.pdf and https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50057477&fn=minutes.pdf
  33.  Used registration results to cut unnecessary teachers from 2012-2013 rolls (approximately 10 full time equivalent positions), saving hundreds of thousands of $$: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50057226&fn=minutes.pdf
  34.  Unanimously passed resulting budget: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50061325&fn=minutes.pdf
  35.  Unanimously initiated first critical review of graduation requirements in memory, recruited community members to assist, https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50057223&fn=minutes.pdf
  36.  Unanimously passed “Minimum Course Enrollment” creating class size guidelines by type of class, performed first-ever review and approval each of the non-special education “under 20 enrollment” course under new class-size guidelines (all special education under-20s were automatically approved), saved thousands while almost all small classes remained, pre-algebra only ~15 students: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50057232&fn=minutes.pdf         and https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50057477&fn=minutes.pdf
  37.  Instituted new, early academic intervention program to assist struggling students closer to signs of trouble (latest research = Freshman year results predict H.S. success) https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50057484&fn=minutes.pdf         and https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=33549190
  38.  Unanimously (with one member absent) adjusted Fine Arts requirement: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50067745&fn=minutes.pdf
  39.  Breaking with prior boards, which approved two contracts (2005-2008 and 2008-2013) that led to 65% average raises over eight years, hired legal team to assist in negotiations with teachers’ union: http://www.rblandmark.com/News/Articles/12-14-2011/RBHS-board-votes-to-reopen-contract-talks-with-teachers/
  40.  Union complained that board using attorneys may slow process: http://rbclarion.com/top-stories/2013/03/19/pending-election-teachers-and-board-set-to-enter-negotiations/
  41.  Initiated preliminary talks with RBEA in 2011, concluded these in 2012 by a vote of 5-1-1: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50057226&fn=minutes.pdf
  42.  Established 13 memoranda of understanding with RBEA to codify gaps in existing RBEA contract that had been handled ad hoc by prior boards, leaving District potentially liable for litigation and money damages: http://www.rbhs208.net/subsite/dist/page/human-resources-355
  43.  Received reports on construction project from facilities manager in autumn, 2011: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50057485&fn=minutes.pdf
  44.  Began conversation about report / accounting / audit of the construction project: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50057481&fn=minutes.pdf
  45.  Through threat of lawsuit received FREE fix to RB’s new boilers improperly installed and approved under past board: http://www.rblandmark.com/News/Articles/11-1-2011/Lawsuit-threat-gets-RB-boilers-fixed-for-free/
  46.  Facilities manager departed by 31 December 2011, new F.M. approved early 2012: http://www.rblandmark.com/News/Articles/1-17-2012/Longtime-Riverside_Brookfield-High-School-maintenance-chief-retires/
  47.  Without objection, decided to publish available construction project records for District 208 residents,  instead of report / accounting / audit, after lengthy volunteer cataloguing and scanning job by two board members:  September 11, 2012 board meeting https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50061325&fn=minutes.pdf
  48.  Faulty field house construction, overseen and approved by prior board, that resulted in three years of leaks and water on floor, fixed under this board at no cost to District 208: http://www.rblandmark.com/News/Articles/6-19-2012/’No-issues’-after-latest-RBHS-fieldhouse-fix/
  49.  Addressed faulty boiler and boiler control installation overseen and approved by prior board, most recently at March 26, 2013 meeting: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicAgenda.aspx?ak=1000871&mk=50077077
  50.  Addressing faulty swimming pool ventilation system installed and approved under prior board: March 26, 2013 meeting, http://www.youtube.com/user/RBFacts , and  https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicAgenda.aspx?ak=1000871&mk=50077077
  51. Unanimously hired new architect, at February 12, 2013 meeting: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50073751&fn=minutes.pdf
  52.  Began life-safety process, especially in re roofs, pool, stadium and tennis courts, at February 12, 2013 meeting:  https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50073751&fn=minutes.pdf
  53.  Began capital programming process to overcome no operating or maintenance manuals from construction project for major new systems, and no inventory of long-term capital needs: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50067745&fn=minutes.pdf
  54.  Hired new attorney, without ties to past school improprieties:  https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50055401&fn=minutes.pdf
  55.  Kept prior FA: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50055401&fn=minutes.pdf
  56.  Entered inter-governmental agreement with North Riverside to maintain existing athletic offerings and save D208 taxpayer $$$: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50073751&fn=minutes.pdf
  57.  Secured high-level training from Cook County Department of Homeland Security in partnership with Riverside Police Department after intruder incident: http://www.rblandmark.com/Community/Blogs/3-1-2013/Riverside-police-and-RBHS-partner-for-school-safety-training/

(List in formation, by no means definitive)

#####

Taking Responsibility for Our Deals with RB Teachers — March 21, 2013

Posted March 23, 2013 by chrisrobling
Categories: Education, Riverside Brokfield High School -- Referendum, Riverside Brookfield High School -- Athletics, Riverside Brookfield High School -- Turnaround

Tags: , , , ,

A post from long ago…
That holds up…

Leadership extracts the price of attention for the benefit of influence. As one who has criticized individual board members — who are elected public officials — and has also been subject to a fair piece of criticism and attack, I understand. No problem, happy to have it, no peep of a complaint here.

But I suggest we hesitate before using pages / posts here or athttp://www.riversideinfo.org to make personal statements about individual teachers and their compensation.

Here’s why: “We” asked them to come here and “we” offered them the package they currently receive. “We” are shirking our responsibility if we blame them for accepting something we offered.

Here’s another reason: The teachers – unexpectedly – have reopened the contract. It is a proximate step towards a sustainable RB. Does it help to beat on people after they have done something that is in our mutual interests?

Through the pendency of negotiations it does our community no good, and a considerable amount of bad, to write, “Sally Sue teaches algebra for $100,000 per year and in the private sector she’d be lucky to make $50,000.” Why?

1) PRIOR BOARDS DID THIS IN OUR NAME. It wasn’t Sally Sue who elected the Board that declined to negotiate with the teachers, it was us. So, by attacking Sally Sue, one gets back to being upset with the folks we put on the board, and the people they hired to run the school.

Anger at the beneficiary of our mistake – either an individually or corporately as RBEA — begs the question. Instead, check the mirror.

2) If kids see posts attacking Sally Sue as an unemployable private-sector drop-out who seized the lottery ticket to happiness as an RBEA member, it undermines her ability to maintain order in her classroom. That affects the 120 or so kids who cycle through her classroom daily. Since Sally’s check still comes twice a month, who does that hurt?

3) Forget about “the class,” think about “a student.” If one’s child is a student of Sally Sue, and she’s being trashed, might one reasonably anticipate one’s child to think, “Hey, my teacher is a loser. What can she teach me? I’m skipping out this term . . . ” That term never comes back.

4) Most of us, me included, know zilch about what’s really happening in the school day-to-day. With few exceptions, we never really will — and thus our evaluation of Sally Sue is specious.

I have written frequently about the governance problem we had at RB. It was in fact largely a delegation problem. We delegated our authority to the Board, which in turn delegated most of its authority to several centers within the school — the athletic center, the vice/assistant principal center, the outsourced service provider center, the RBEA, etc. Because our Boards were otherwise occupied, none of centers in the school were aligned, nor were they oriented towards us. The wheels fell off when taxpayers said no to paying bills with which they did not agree, or when we found the boiler did not work, or the pool fan was broken and no one lifted a finger.

The new board, properly oriented, is bringing these centers back into alignment for us via a superintendent who is not part of the old cabal. Via the new Board, Dr. Skinkis carries our day-to-day delegation, not the various centers.

And, as Dr. Skinkis runs the place, it is he who knows — on our behalf — which teachers are cutting it and which aren’t. That is as it should be. He is roughly our G.M. to Principal Bylsma’s Manager — fielding the players Skinkis puts in her clubhouse (that’s a “Moneyball” analogy).

Even if one of us becomes a school board member, one’s personal involvement in teacher-by-teacher evaluation is going to be very strictly limited, or else there is a school board micro-managing issue.

Since Nov. 30 I have had a spreadsheet with all RB salaries for ten years. It is very interesting – and as a subject of descriptive statistical analysis it shows just how out to lunch our prior boards have been. Let me say it this way: They’d be right at home in the Greek Parliament when it comes to spending other people’s money. The problem is – that money is ours, and we have just about run out. The referendum was a big tab for their misfeasance.

It’s easy to blame bogey-people. (That’s the p.c. way of saying bogeymen.) It’s hard to take responsibility for a school district that was captured by internal centers because our elected board representatives phoned it in.

It is also hard for RBEA to re-open the contract, and I salute them for it. RBEA – while not our “partner” as the vision statement erroneously states — represents our single biggest expenditure. On any rational basis RBEA deserves respect informed by circumstances. As a community we have passed from ‘showing there is a problem’ to ‘finding a solution to the problem.’ That means our smart play is to strengthen both the Board (us) and RBEA (the teachers) to make the extremely difficult choices that will return RBHS to fiscal sustainability.

[End old post.]

Quite simply, thanks to the current Board’s dedication to emptying the overflowing in-box of issues left over from past procrastination, this election is really about only one thing: Referendum II.

The choice is: Who do you want representing YOU in the negotiations. One side is comprised of Referendum supporters, led by the CURB chair.

The other side has shown its fealty to the District’s 79% rejection of deficit spending, out of control spending and commitments to spending for which we do not have the money to pay, aka, the current contract.

I know which side I want representing me, both for the salary / compensation issues and the work rules, which are so far in the Union’s favor that it was willing to forego several years of raises to keep them…

…and that must be why this board said, “No deal, we must put work rules on the table.”

And that is why the hysteria level is beginning to echo the night-terrors of “Otherside.”

Seven years, average of 65 percent raises, work rules so favorable they are worth three years of raises. It was a nice run. Time for a catch-up contract for the community — and the folks who will negotiate it.

Cheers, c

This April Is Referendum II

Posted March 21, 2013 by chrisrobling
Categories: Education, Riverside Brokfield High School -- Referendum, Riverside Brookfield High School -- Athletics, Riverside Brookfield High School -- Turnaround

Tags: , , ,

A post from long ago…
That holds up…

Leadership extracts the price of attention for the benefit of influence. As one who has criticized individual board members — who are elected public officials — and has also been subject to a fair piece of criticism and attack, I understand. No problem, happy to have it, no peep of a complaint here.

But I suggest we hesitate before using pages / posts here or at http://www.riversideinfo.org to make personal statements about individual teachers and their compensation.

Here’s why: “We” asked them to come here and “we” offered them the package they currently receive. “We” are shirking our responsibility if we blame them for accepting something we offered.

Here’s another reason: The teachers – unexpectedly – have reopened the contract. It is a proximate step towards a sustainable RB. Does it help to beat on people after they have done something that is in our mutual interests?

Through the pendency of negotiations it does our community no good, and a considerable amount of bad, to write, “Sally Sue teaches algebra for $100,000 per year and in the private sector she’d be lucky to make $50,000.” Why?

1) PRIOR BOARDS DID THIS IN OUR NAME. It wasn’t Sally Sue who elected the Board that declined to negotiate with the teachers, it was us. So, by attacking Sally Sue, one gets back to being upset with the folks we put on the board, and the people they hired to run the school.

Anger at the beneficiary of our mistake – either an individually or corporately as RBEA — begs the question. Instead, check the mirror.

2) If kids see posts attacking Sally Sue as an unemployable private-sector drop-out who seized the lottery ticket to happiness as an RBEA member, it undermines her ability to maintain order in her classroom. That affects the 120 or so kids who cycle through her classroom daily. Since Sally’s check still comes twice a month, who does that hurt?

3) Forget about “the class,” think about “a student.” If one’s child is a student of Sally Sue, and she’s being trashed, might one reasonably anticipate one’s child to think, “Hey, my teacher is a loser. What can she teach me? I’m skipping out this term . . . ” That term never comes back.

4) Most of us, me included, know zilch about what’s really happening in the school day-to-day. With few exceptions, we never really will — and thus our evaluation of Sally Sue is specious.

I have written frequently about the governance problem we had at RB. It was in fact largely a delegation problem. We delegated our authority to the Board, which in turn delegated most of its authority to several centers within the school — the athletic center, the vice/assistant principal center, the outsourced service provider center, the RBEA, etc. Because our Boards were otherwise occupied, none of the centers in the school were aligned, nor were they oriented towards us. The wheels fell off when taxpayers said no to paying bills with which they did not agree, or when we found the boiler did not work, or the pool fan was broken and no one lifted a finger.

The new board, properly oriented, is bringing these centers back into alignment for us via a superintendent who is not part of the old cabal. Via the new Board, Dr. Skinkis carries our day-to-day delegation, not the various centers.

And, as Dr. Skinkis runs the place, it is he who knows — on our behalf — which teachers are cutting it and which aren’t. That is as it should be. He is roughly our G.M. to Principal Bylsma’s Manager — fielding the players Skinkis puts in her clubhouse (that’s a “Moneyball” analogy).

Even if one of us becomes a school board member, one’s personal involvement in teacher-by-teacher evaluation is going to be very strictly limited, or else there is a school board micro-managing issue.

Since Nov. 30 [2011] I have had a spreadsheet with all RB salaries for ten years. It is very interesting – and as a subject of descriptive statistical analysis it shows just how out to lunch our prior boards have been. Let me say it this way: They’d be right at home in the Greek Parliament when it comes to spending other people’s money. The problem is – that money is ours, and we have just about run out. The referendum was a big tab for their misfeasance.

It’s easy to blame bogey-people. (That’s the p.c. way of saying bogeymen.) It’s hard to take responsibility for a school district that was captured by internal centers because our elected board representatives phoned it in.

It is also hard for RBEA to re-open the contract, and I salute them for it. RBEA – while not our “partner” as the vision statement erroneously states — represents our single biggest expenditure. On any rational basis RBEA deserves respect informed by circumstances. As a community we have passed from ‘showing there is a problem’ to ‘finding a solution to the problem.’ That means our smart play is to strengthen both the Board (us) and RBEA (the teachers) to make the extremely difficult choices that will return RBHS to fiscal sustainability.

[End old post.]

Quite simply, thanks to the current Board’s dedication to emptying the overflowing in-box of issues left over from past procrastination, this election is really about only one thing: Referendum II.

The choice is: Who do you want representing YOU in the negotiations. One side is comprised of Referendum supporters, led by the CURB chair.

The other side has shown its fealty to the District’s 79% rejection of deficit spending, out of control spending and commitments to spending for which we do not have the money to pay, aka, the current contract.

I know which side I want representing me, both for the salary / compensation issues and the work rules, which are so far in the Union’s favor that it was willing to forego several years of raises to keep them…

…and that must be why this board said, “No deal, we must put work rules on the table.”

And that is why the hysteria level is beginning to echo the night-terrors of “Otherside.”

Seven years, average of 65 percent raises, work rules so favorable they are worth three years of raises. It was a nice run. Time for a catch-up contract for the community — and the folks who will negotiate it.


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