Turnaround Stalls at RB — 3-8-2011

Riverside Brookfield Landmark

“RB Tax Campaign Shifts Into High Gear”


Posted: Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Article comment by: Chris Robling

Turnaround stalls at RB

Friday afternoon’s news that RB killed the pro-referendum RBTV ad it ran for at least a couple of weeks is clear evidence that this community’s reform memo is disregarded by some inside the school.

My faith is in Jim Marciniak. But this morning’s paper tests that faith. Jim’s leadership team is caught way off base. He admits not knowing what was going on. He sounds like Larry when we learned Jack had not been certified in almost a year.

We are talking about an ad that, David Morrison, the deputy director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform and a resident of Riverside, said, to run it on RBTV for free was illegal.

“The ad that you’re describing to me qualifies under state law as an electioneering communication, and the school cannot provide that kind of support,” Morrison said.

Ouch. Tough stuff.

When the Board refused to discuss any of this last night in open session, it went into executive session.

Who was there? Jim, Larry, MariAnn, Sue and Dan — from news reports, all support the referendum. Mrs. Marciniak, as we know, is a vice chairman of the referendum campaign. David, Pam and Tim presumably were there — each of them publicly supports the referendum, too.

Was there any of the time-honored neutrality Illinois school boards observed for more than one hundred years?

Why didn’t the Board discuss killing the illegal ad in public?

Is there a carve-out in closed sessions for discussion of possibly illegal ads? What report do they have for us about how this happened — what action was taken to determine personal responsibility and accountability?

The Board’s policies say in this circumstance it should self-report to law enforcement. Did the Board do that? May we see it? If not, why not?

I believe Jim is honest. He has charted the course he believes best, serving as the fuselage between the new board members who want across-the-board reform now and the Herbst wing, which still refuses to admit any problems.

But — the more I learn, the worse I feel.

Why did it ever come to this?

Are the folks to whom we entrust our kids unable to see this? Or did they chose not to see it? Does character count, or is that just window dressing for us outsiders?

Does this inspire confidence — or concern?

Do we reward such infractions with more than $100 million — or do we take to heart Paul Stack’s analysis in a letter to the Landmark editor running nearby.

One sincerely hopes this incident will cause reform-minded district voters who have supported the referendum on the basis that “all is well at RB” to step back and look again.

Instead, all is… murky. All will get better much faster once we choose four reformers from our field of seven candidates.

We deserve a definitive voice declaring a new and intense focus on RB becoming the finest Illinois public high school of its size.

The way to do that, and to hold accountable those non-students who conceived, created, placed and ran an illegal ad, is to elect a reform Board in April.

Learn your candidates. Make your choices. Vote.

That’s how the turnaround will continue.

As for the referendum, I think it is getting harder and harder to justify supporting anything this Board has touched. Just check RBTV. Or Rita Cunat. Or “declined to comment.” Or the similarly illegal tables in the school pushing literature to hike our taxes. Or its August 2008 promise to raise taxes less than half what it is doing now… etc.

The turnaround at RB is obviously stalled.

Explore posts in the same categories: Education, Riverside Brokfield High School -- Referendum, Riverside Brookfield High School -- Turnaround

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