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All U-46 School Board Members named as suspects in crime –

Elgin, IL. (ECWd) –

All members of the U-46 School Board in Elgin, Illinois have been named as suspects in the alleged crime(s) of violations of the Open Meetings Act, more specifically, conducting meetings without proper posting of agendas and without allowing for public comment as required under the Act. These are Class C misdemeanors, according to Section 4 of the Open Meetings Act.

We drove for four hours in order to talk for three minutes during the public comment portion required in all public meetings, only to be told that we would not be allowed to speak.

Wrong answer!

The Elgin Police Department was called by us and arrived shortly after the call. There were half a dozen officers there at one time, and eventually a call was made to the Kane County State’s Attorney, who after research, advised the PD to complete a criminal report naming the board members  as suspects, and forwarding it to his office. This process took over 2 hours to complete.

Section 2.06 (g) of the Illinois Open Meetings Act makes public comment a right, at all public meetings (with reasonable rules).

The U-46 School Board held three meetings yesterday, October 19, 2015. The first meeting started at 4 p.m. and consisted of a finance committee meeting with the meeting notice posted, but no posted agenda at the building that we could see. This meeting included public comment time.

The second meeting, called for the purpose of a closed session for student discipline and other things started at 5:15 p.m. There was a notice posted, but no agenda. There was also no public comment session, in violation of law. All closed meetings must be called from an open meeting – and return to open meeting after the closed portion. No exceptions.

The third meeting started at 7 p.m. and had its meeting notice and agenda posted with a public comment session.

All agendas were on the school’s website, but only the 7 p.m. meeting was posted at the school building.

The issues with these meetings

  •  Meetings not properly posted
  •  Disallowing public comment at the 5:15 meeting
  •  School Board Members that according to the Illinois School Cod “shall work without compensation” – receiving catered meals at these meetings, twice a month, at taxpayer expense, in violation of law
  •  School Board Members voting to keep a fellow board member from listening to closed session audio recordings that they didn’t want anyone listening to – WHILE AT THE SAME TIME  voting to allow listening of closed session audio recordings of other meetings

Section 4 of the Open Meetings Act lists the penalties for violations of this Act, and list them as Class C Misdemeanors – with strong language indicating the legislative intent: “Any person violating any of the provisions of this Act … shall be guilty of a Class C misdemeanor

At the start of the 7 p.m. meeting, the school attorney lied to the public by claiming there was confusion with a couple members of the audience, and that there was actually only one meeting, not the three meetings that were scheduled with three separate agendas and there separate starting times. He was wrong. There were three meetings.

The school’s Chief Legal Officer (who needs to be fired for being a party to this crime) is attorney Miguel A. Rodriguez.

We will publish more on this as the situation unfolds and after we receive a copy of the police reports.

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Elgin Police Department at U-46 Administration Building

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U-46 School Board refusing public comment

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U-46

26 replies »

  1. Wow! Look at the lavishly appointed “board room”. Look at those ornate plaques with the board member’s names on them. Most districts downstate hold their meetings in whatever room is convenient for the crowd size. Board members sit at the quintessential 8 ft folding table found at every high school. The room shown in this picture gives me the impression that these people fancy themselves to be a pretty big deal. Like hogs at a trough they help themselves to the cream of a working community’s dollar. The educational dollar. Arrogant swine.

  2. So you have nothing better to do with your lives then drove 4 hours to a school district meeting. A district hours away from your own, where your children do not attend and your taxes do not contribute. Not only did you waste your own time, you wasted the time of 6 officers and the school board.

  3. Jim….If we were living under a dictatorship, or in one for that matter, I could understand your concerns regarding independent citizens exercising their rights of speech, as well as their efforts to protect the prevailing laws of our country. As far as I can tell, we are not living under or in a dictatorship.

    I also noticed in your comments, you claim “actual, legitimate business” is being conducted, if so what proof do you have this is the case? How can you prove anything in the secrecy of darkness?

    American stands for freedom and free speech. Our government processes are open for all to view. Questions asked in regards to our governments actions, including the right to speak in public meetings, is not an exclusive right of the “locals in charge” but to all citizens.

    “Our” Bill of Rights guarantees Freedom of Speech. It’s not the messengers that are the problem here, it’s the message…and one doesn’t have to be “a local” to have a voice. When a question is raised regarding legal process and free speech, it’s not a disruption, it’s a right given to all US citizens and one necessary to protect the integrity our government.

    If you are truly concerned regarding “who” asks the questions, and the importance of “who” is asking the questions is the over riding factor: then do all of us a favor, use your constitutional rights and you ask why a school board member cannot review meeting minutes? Ask why public comments are not allowed in public meetings. Ask why public meeting agendas are not properly posted so that local citizens can attend and make their opinions known. These issues are guaranteed by law. If not, then don’t.
    In closing, you didn’t identify yourself as being from the school district …nor did you provide an address or other proof that you were in district or someone just complaining from 4 hours away. But that really doesn’t matter to me. I’m glad to hear what you, or anyone else has to say in public meetings. Speak up.

  4. I’m wondering what is going on in the special education department, it seems like they don’t care what is going on and when i ask to talk to the superintendent, they give me someone LOWER than the previous person. I’m very discusted with the reactions i get when i tell them,show them etc there’s a problem. Another thing i don’t understand is the fact the higher up people that are “supose ” to be there for my child , instead they deny the schools wrong doing and TELL me to call dcfs on the school if i ” think ” my child is being harmed. That really tells you how much they care. This school district is absolutely terrible and very unprofessional, i will fight for my childs well being. i will not stop. no child deserves to be in a dangerous environment especially a special needs child.

  5. What business could you have with a school board 4 hours away from your home? It seems like you are attempting to disrupt a meeting where parents of students who actually live in the district would like to address their own concerns. Do you have children that attend schools in this district? If you don’t, and don’t actually live in the district you have no business at the meeting and your actions take time away from actual, legitimate business.

    • Thanks, Jim. You must have forgot that public comment at every meeting is legitimate business, however, board members feeding their fat faces with catered meals on the backs of taxpayers is not legitimate business. Please review the Open meetings Act and the School Code before commenting further.

    • I truly hope there was not a legitimate emergency that required Police Presence. How many resources did you waste, on the taxpayer dime, for this circus.

      • Nobody told them it was an emergency, however, the School Board did commit a criminal act and did cause, thru their action, the arrival of several members of the Elgin Police Department, who acted professionally – the same as they do with other crime scenes they are called to.

  6. That attorney should be fired; those rules are explicitly laid out in the OMA. It has been my observation that school boards tend to be dictatorial, not allowing public comment by parents of the children who are affected by their decisions is despicable and tyrannical!

    • You are wrong Gerry – A closed session can not be called except as part of an open meeting. 1. Open the meeting, 2. Vote to enter into closed session, 3. go back into open session to finish business or to adjourn. During steps 1 and/or 3 the public body is required by law to allow time for public comment.

      • Nice show. Cool. You got the cops called on a school board meeting. You should feel very proud of yourself. Justice has been served and the Batman can be informed that Gotham is safe from these evil doers.

        If my thinly veiled sarcasm wasn’t evident, please know that this whole situation is beyond absurd. Thank you for tying up 6 police officers with this strong arm tactic. That was a complete waste of city resources and taxpayer dollars.

        What I failed to see in this article was any attempt to rectify the situation prior to your 4 hour journey. Seriously. While you were correct in pointing out the discrepancies of the proceedings, your calling the police went a little high and right (military lingo in case you aren’t familar). What efforts were made on your part? Activism is great as long as you are part of the solution. A zero defect mentality benefits no one. Mistakes happen and should be corrected in an appropriate manner. I feel that this was a poor use of judgement and may discourage people from participating in our local democracy.

        • To “A Patriot”:
          We did not drive 4 hours to do this, we drove to talk to the Board during two of the meetings they had scheduled. The 5:15 meeting and the 7:00 meeting. Knowing that the law mandates the board provide an opportunity for anyone to speak during each and every meeting, we informed the board that we wished to speak. They said No. We tried changing their minds several more times, they said No.
          I called the PD, it was the PD’s decision to provide the number of officers they provided, and I am 100% positive if a more pressing issue came across their radios, they would have left to attend to that issue. Your insinuation that city resources were wasted is not true – and I believe people, including the PD, are more conscious of citizen’s rights under the Open Meetings Act now.
          Our attempts at rectifying the situation fell on deaf ears. The PD even informed the board president and its attorney that we had the right to speak at their meetings, they said No, again, which led to the filing of criminal charges naming them as suspects. The board had numerous opportunities to comply with the law and refused all of them.
          We had heard the “discourage other people” arguments before, and they are always a false argument. The reality is that people are discouraged from participating because of boards that violate the law, not because someone is holding them accountable to the law.

          • You are absolutely right on this! and we are so glad that you were there to call attention to and be part of helping to correct the abuses of the law that this Elgin school board were doing. They are not above the law and they obviously were not doing their job as required. Too often, public servants forget what they are actually supposed to be doing because they start to abuse the power or authority they have been entrusted with.

            When the people are discouraged from participating as they should be allowed to because some high and mighty individuals on the board aren’t being held accountable, then something has to be done. We are appreciative for your efforts at being watchdogs on this matter!! As I am sure many others are as well!!!

        • A Patriot,
          For starters, both of us are career military vets so no need to go there. How can one attempt to rectify something prior to knowing they were going to deny our right to speak?

          Calling the police when a crime is being committed is what is suppose to be done, by a patriot or anyone else for that matter. What efforts were made on our part? We called, one officer responded and we spoke with her for upwards of 15 minutes explaining the law that applied as she was unfamiliar with OMA. No problem. Another officer showed up, we did the same thing with him. Then another, and another. We did not ask for or need that many officers but considering they said there were at least 20 others out on the streets they assured us them all being their was not a problem.

          They called the States Attorney to get direction and advised that we WILL be allowed to speak and if they refuse to let that happen then they board would be named in as suspects in a criminal complaint. We did all we could and assured them we simply wanted to be able to address that board at the 5:15 meeting.

          We were part of the solution and both the body cam on one officer and the report will outline we did all we could do to resolve this. When the school security threatens to have you charged with trespassing for exercising our Statutory rights the problem was not us.

          A zero knowledge of the situation mentality and then commenting on the situation is a poor use of judgement.

          When people get the facts, as did numerous citizens that night, they were encouraged to participate in their local democracy and had no idea they had the very rights we exposed.

          Getting the facts before opening ones mouth is always wise.

          • I can’t believe all the ignorant whiners posting comments here criticizing you WatchDogs for insisting upon following the rule of law, unbelievable!! . Denying people the right to speak at a public meeting is the stuff banana republics are made of……

            Confucius say, better to let people think you are stupid than open mouth and prove it!

          • THANK YOU!!! and thank you again. We wish there were more people like you to help keep those in charge of such things more accountable. The would be for the good of all.

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