“Saving” $250,000 without knowing where it went — July 16, 2012

it is axiomatic that neither larry [herbst], nor bill [mccloskey], nor tim walsh can tell us where the saved $250,000 was spent, since there is no record, no report, no accounting and certainly no audit.

we give $65 million. they spend it. when dennis kosirog was finally shooed out the door, his successor, a genuinely diligent and devoted employee who has solved more issues in 6 mos. than the good ole’ boys even acknowledged in 10 years, found neither maintenance nor operating manuals for installed systems.


but it is very emphatically the case that those who thought the answer to RB was more than $100,000,000 from us in the 2011 referendum, also say ‘we must not examine how the $65 million was spent. we simply must not.’

and about inappropriate 2010-2011 politicking as reported by RB Landmark, by tim scanlon, and many, many others in the school, they say, ‘we must not know what actually happened, we must not.’

and about the 2007-2008 negotiations with the union, the board member detailed to the task asked for counsel to accompany him. ‘you must not do that, it would hurt our happiness together, we must all be happy. you must not do that.”

and about the rbhsef, whose series of very filings mock federal reporting requirements, and appears to run an insiders-only, no public disclosure operation, they say, ‘we must not ask conformance and compliance, we must not ask for a pdf of their latest filings, that is too onerous, we must not.’

in 2007, when i asserted that the ‘field house’ we had been sold was not the one we would receive, and i foia-ed its plans, they said, ‘you must not get these documents, we cannot let you know, we must not.’

and down through these ages, whether it was certificates, or curricular experiments, or hiring, or the athletic department, or whatever, the canonical refrain was always, ‘you must not ask, you must not know, that is not your place, you should be quiet and trust those in charge. you are being a bad bulldog.’

some four weeks ago, when classes had their p.e. finals, and they ran laps around the dangerous indoor “track” in the leaky and wet “field house”, there was water seepage on the floor.

the referendum-dependent among us desperately want their next hit of taxpayer cash. with eight years (current five-year + the immediate prior three-year ‘catch-up’ contract) of average cumulative total hikes of about ten percent, how could they not? but while their desire for that cash is understandable, it is not compelling.

the referendum-supportive among us are a very different matter. these are folks for whom i have the highest regard. they want quality education and they want RB to be among the best. frankly, that is the only reason a reform movement ever got started around here.

but those who supported the referendum in good faith, for quality education, must also know that the center of the school was hollowed by perfidy and venality. no great educational enterprise can be built on insulting its stakeholders as RB did until it was stopped.

today, with tim scanlon well on his way out, it is really only about our tomorrows:

— we need to be fiscally sustainable
— and fiscally accountable
— we need inspiring in-school leadership that challenges the certified and support staff to work with the community, not in conflict with its ability to pay
— we need openness to new ideas and strategies, especially about hiring, that leverages our particular strengths and does not thoughtlessly put us in financial competition w schools such as LT, OP or Hinsdale, whose resources dwarf ours
— we need a contract that allows the superintendent to operate the school
— we need virtual curricular consolidation, between the feeders and RB, that unites our service plan for the four groups of kids who come our way: special ed, college-bound, work-bound, and high-capability — especially with respect to math, reading and writing, but also languages, music, lab sciences and history-civics
— we need to work harder at integrating our high school with the world-class institution of science research, practice and education just six feet away from our northern wall in ways that distinguish our students and helps the zoo
— we need institutional openness to new forms of public involvement and input, be it on curriculum, teaching, activities, sports, enrichments, etc, essentially making the community-RB connection seamless and welcoming
— and more and more…

some think students are hurt today because the referendum did not pass. i think students have been hurt for years because RB was run by and for insiders, such as he who departs next week.

the referendum failing has caused the painful and challenging self-assessment. it has also brought a governance and managerial renaissance. the board and kevin skinkis, as far as i can tell, are moving on as many fronts as eight people can. but they need our help. we must help them, because it is our school, our community and the children of our community.

we must.

POSTED THURSDAY JUN 21, 2012 08:36 #
Explore posts in the same categories: Education, Riverside Brokfield High School -- Referendum, Riverside Brookfield High School -- Athletics, Riverside Brookfield High School -- Turnaround

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