A couple of points — 1/4/2012

1. “Curious Resident” (above a couple of posts) refuses to ID itself wrt its household income and personal dependence on any of the matters it posts about. It has refused to do so for months, if not years, so please be warned. Basically, it shills for one side of the argument.

If you are interested in an expert analysis, with numerous reference to the Illinois Teachers Retirement System, please check:

Wall Street Journal
“Why Public Pensions Are So Rich
Shifting government workers to 401(k)-style plans would offer greater transparency and keep benefits in line with the private economy.”


2. Much as i abhor Curious Resident’s refusal to respect its readers, i agree about pensionizing the dabate. We are not going to change the Illinois TRS here at RBHS. We need to focus on what we can do as a community. If people think Illinois teacher pensions should be reformed, then that is great, and it is a huge, complex and demanding issue in its own right. i for one am interested in helping RBHS be the best it can be NOW in this clean-up / turnaround operation after all of the partiers, so to speak, have gone home.

3. MRT — and even the accursed Curious Resident, and others — say this gets us over to class, staff and activity cuts, which is true — and quite demanding on its own.

4. There is at the Landmark site right now a very false choice being debated between “Stephen” or “Steven” and ‘people who are not Steven or Stephen.’ This is over the decline of home values if communities do not “support” their local school district.

The falsity of this choice is absolutely clear to those of us who both own a home here and care about improving governance and performance at RBHS. Simply, the ‘people who are not steve’ (a) practically assume governance/performance were not issues at the last referendum and (b) hold constant all such matters of governance and performance while asserting “plummeting” home prices now or in the near future as a direct result of the referendum’s defeat.

This construct is utterly inapplicable to RBHS, because of the well-established and painful-to-recall parade of horribles of earlier boards and administrations. In light of those, our decision NOT to support RBHS’ party-hearty governance/performance record via the referendum is in fact — to any sensate home-buyer willing to check the record before plunking down their commitment to a District 208 home — a confidence-building step that shows a new base of support for a well-governed and well-administered local high school. That should push prices up.

Having been raised in New Trier District 203, I happily concede the point that, should
voters there oppose an ed fund referendum out of a newly-sprung spirit of uninterest in NTHS, then someone somewhere might say, “Maybe New Trier will not be what I thought it would be when junior enrolls. I will drop my bid for that lakefront home from $7.23 million to $7.1 million. So there.”

As it happens, New Trier Township voters defeated a building fund referendum on the very day we defeated our ed fund referendum. It was the first referendum of any type in New Trier’s history to have lost. Homes there are still drawing $500+/sq.ft. prices — perhaps benefitting from a decreased tax bill expectation for the next several years.

Which raises another reason the choice is false and ought not be countenanced. Isolating the impact of one referendum vote for one school district among several in the midst of all else that is going on — including the quite legitimate view that a housecleaning / turnaround is underway at RBHS is nigh-on impossible in any meaningful term. The statistical steps necessary to isolate the ‘referendum defeat only’ impact probably require an n-size that is much greater the number of home sales we are going to see in any relevant term. In other words, there is not a big enough pool of sales from which to isolate meaningful (statistically significant) evidence to prove/disprove the ‘non-steve’ assertions. [And if it is an RBHS math teacher who is hiding in anonymity to make this argument, then they are either dishonest or not qualified to teach math, and woe unto each of us, and our kids in his classroom.]

In any event, as an intellectually honest conversational concession, let me state clearly: it is worth it to each kid at RBHS, and each kid headed there, that we impose governance / performance and end what was going on.

Without governance, we get what we got and the mess we have. It is no service to any kid — or anyone’s home value — and i am clam happy to be cleaning up instead of supporting the corruption, abuse, mismanagement, laxity and capture that had engulfed RBHS.

5. Which gets me to another point altogether. Public Input.

Obviously, i appreciate very much this blogsite, and the Landmark posts. But this is unofficial. Dr. Skinkis and the board have promised open public input sessions regarding RBHS and the budget (not about things we cannot change, such as TRS). The sessions should be coming up pretty soon. i hope all of us who trade ideas here will go there and make our respective presentations.

The discredited and failed supporters of the prior status quo said, ‘there is no problem here, shut up and go away.’ The new administration and board say, ‘we need your help, please come with ideas.’ i know which statement i prefer, and i will honor their invitation with notes that seek to be as serious as the problem they are intended to address: Making RB the finest 1450-student Illinois public high school.

Hope to see you there.

POSTED WEDNESDAY JAN 4, 2012 17:39 #
at http://www.riversideinfo.org/forum
Explore posts in the same categories: Riverside Brookfield High School -- Turnaround

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