Posted tagged ‘D208’

The Voters and Districts Won

April 9, 2013

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

April 8, 2013

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.

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

March 29, 2013

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

March 23, 2013

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

March 21, 2013

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.

Four-year raises at RBHS top 27 percent

March 18, 2013

An analysis of earnings shows the average raise since the start of Riverside Brookfield High School’s current five-year contract has been 27.7 percent for 79 teachers and administrators.

The analysis compares earnings reported by the official Illinois Teachers’ Retirement Service (TRS) based on submissions from District 208 at the ends of the 2007-2008 and 2011-2012 school years.  The reports by TRS of District 208-supplied data were provided in response to an Illinois Freedom of Information Act request.  They are available at http://issuu.com/rbissues/docs/d208_pay_2012_v_2008

The 79 members of District 208’s “certified staff” were selected because they are full-time and appear on both reports, and thus illustrate the actual operation of the current collective bargaining agreement between the District and the Riverside Brookfield Education Association.

Other District 208 certified staff members, who either left before 2011-2012 or arrived after 2007-2008, are not included in this analysis.

This analysis is based on total creditable (for TRS purposes) earnings before the current contract, and after four years of the current contract.

The 79 teachers received $8,292,550 in creditable earnings in 2011-2012, up $1,740,677, or 26.6 percent, from the 2007-2008 total of $6,551,872.

The average 2011-2012 earnings were $104,969.  The 2007-2008 average earnings were $82,935.

The average raise of 27.7 percent differs from the percentage increase in TRS creditable earnings due to different times in the four-year period when raises were granted.

Of the 79 teachers, 36 received raises of more than 27.7 percent, while 43 saw raises below 27.7 percent.

The teacher whose personal statistics most closely mirror the overall rate of increase earned $99,959 in 2007-2008 teaching English.  By the 2011-2012 school year, under the current contract, he had received raises of $27,769, or 27.8 percent, to conclude 2011-2012 with TRS creditable earnings of $127,728.

The individual teacher whose start and end salaries most closely reflect those of his 79 colleagues as a whole, earned $80,080 in 2007-2008, teaching applied arts.  Under the current contract, his TRS creditable earnings rose by some $21,720 or 27.1 percent, to $101,801.

Four District 208 teachers received raises between 40 percent and 49.95 percent.  Raises of between 30 percent and 39.23 were awarded to 18 teachers.  Raises between 20 percent and 29.65 percent went to 37 RB teachers.  Fifteen teachers saw their salaries increase between 10 and 19.85 percent.  Two teachers saw salary reductions and one received a single digit raise over the four school year period.

The raises appear not to favor one type of teacher over others.  Of the 18 District 208 teachers who received between 40 percent and 49.95 percent increases, there is a special education teacher, two math teachers, four science teachers including the science chair, a librarian, three wellness teachers and the wellness department chair, a guidance counselor, a French teacher, an English teacher and a U.S. history teacher.

Certified staff salary and other compensation are products of numerous factors, including seniority, qualifications, job responsibility, evaluations and, for some, non-classroom activity, such as earning stipends for coaching or directing extra-curricular activities.  By following this 79-member majority of District 208 full-time staff through the first four years of the current contract, residents and taxpayers can see for themselves how the contract worked in practice.

The current contract was preceded by a three-year, “Catch-up” contract, whose average raise for fulltime certified staff was 10 percent.

Thus, for illustrative purposes, a full time certified staff member who started in the first year of the “Catch-up” contract at $60,000 would, after three years at 10 percent raises per year and almost six percent raises after that, all cumulative, see her salary reach more than $106,000 by the end of the current contract.

The current five-year contract ends on June 30, 2013.  The District 208 board of education and the RBEA held preliminary talks in 2011 and 2010, but have not announced new talks since then.  Six candidates for RB school board are facing off Tuesday, April 9 for three seats.

The 2011-2012 school year is the latest for which such data is available.  Data for 2012-2013 should be available by August.