Thoughts Before the Komarek Referendum Debate — 2/27/2011

From, after a notice about the Komarek parent’s association debate.

I would like to make the point that the Komarek forum hosts Jim Landahl, highly esteemed District 95 board president and supporter of the referendum and yours truly.

I have made it clear to the organizers and to Jim that I will not urge anyone to vote one way or the other. I have been asked to raise the same questions, and the same sort of questions, at the forum that I have raised here and elsewhere, mainly at RB Landmark. And that’s what I will do with my slide show and remarks.

I will urge everyone there, as I do here, to vote their conscience and family pocketbook. I do not think it is appropriate in this recession for any of us to tell others how to vote on this. Many in our communities of Broadview, Lyons, North Riverside, Brookfield, La Grange Park and Riverside are struggling. Jobs, incomes, homes and indeed families have been lost to this recession. To the privileged among us, such a permanent tax hike is a matter of utter indifference. Others face starkly different choices.

If you think the referendum is a good idea, and your family can afford it, I will be the first to encourage you, as I have personally encouraged leaders of the pro-referendum campaign, to vote for it. But no one in this District should be made to feel that their commitment to or concern about RB depends on affirming this question. If you do not agree with the referendum, or how we arrived here, or you and your family simply cannot afford to say “yes,” then I am the first to agree that you should vote “no” without a moment’s hesitation.

Caring about RB does not equal voting for this question. Voting against this question does not equal ignoring RB.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed RB matters for the last nine years that on Wednesday i will look critically at the Board’s assertions, raise questions to which I see no answers coming from the Board, and suggest steps for the future.

I thank Komarek and its “Parent University” series. As far as I can tell, this is the only such forum planned. Why?

Similarly, the high school chose to bury its candidate night by excluding the pubic and denying open questions. These are troubling indicators that the turnaround at RB for which we have long fought is not yet fully established. Jim Marciniak and the SWIM team have taken key reform steps, and the discredited Board members who allowed things to get so far out of hand each decided not to run for re-election. That’s to the good. But when we see candidates closed off in a studio, with no public audience or open questioning, or we see the school doing nothing to promote dialogue on these issues, we must take note.

This is exactly why I wrote in the Landmark last fall that regardless of what you think of the referendum — be sure you find the most qualified candidates for the Board and be sure you vote them in. We have seven public-spirited candidates. That’s great. I think four are well qualified. But decide for yourself. Decide who we need to direct Dr. Skinkis to reform RB away from the remaining remnants of Herbst-Baldermann-ism and on to the new path shown by President Marciniak. A lot of folks through the years have explained away problems at RB, but no one has convinced me that we do not deserve the finest Illinois public high school of its size.

But that starts with us. And it starts with our voting in the best Board we possibly can.

See you Wednesday !

POSTED MONDAY FEB 28, 2011 07:25 #
Explore posts in the same categories: Riverside Brookfield High School -- Athletics

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