June 26, 2016 · 3 Comments
Peotone, IL. (ECWd) –
LETTER TO THE EDITOR:
The open spigot of tax dollars that pours into local school districts has made school superintendents and the consultants – who are hired to guide district spending, borrowing, and referendums – far too comfortable. The salaries and benefits of superintendents are significant and financial consultants, in addition to being paid fees for services, also earn large commissions on bond deals. Because of their access to tax dollars, they have little incentive to change the status quo.
When the findings of the federal grand jury investigation of Lincoln-Way are released, we will learn how, with the aid of a compliant board, district superintendents and their consultants are able to continually fleece school districts. In fact, many school districts make a determined effort to keep taxpayers from learning the following: How taxpayer money is spent and the cozy relationship between school boards, superintendents, and their consultants.
For the past two years, Peotone School District and Superintendent Stein have circumvented taxpayers seeking information by:
Upon review, the Attorney General concluded District 207-U improperly redacted the legal invoices. The District was directed to remove all redactions from the invoices and provide me with copies. The improperly redacted legal invoices were a failed attempt to prevent me from learning the nature and extent of services provided by the law firm to the district’s administration. This is information that gives an indication of how dependent the district is on the law firm for guidance. In this failed attempt to suppress information, Superintendent Stein spent $1,258.20 of taxpayer money on questionable legal services.
One obvious example: After signing the speakers log of the July 21, 2014, meeting, I was called to speak, but the minutes of the meeting do not record my log signing or the fact I spoke at all. When I spoke, I questioned Superintendent Stein’s decision not to issue news releases to inform and update all residents of the district about the Wilton Center fuel leak and the closing of the school for five weeks. Stein told me a news release was not necessary, and he would not comment further.
Residents have repeatedly requested that school board meetings be recorded and the recordings preserved. Superintendent Stein refuses to do so.
On April 22, 2016, at a special meeting, which began at 1 p.m., PMA Financial presented five tax referendum scenarios. Two of them included the funding of the athletic fields and football stadium.
The above three methods of deception and blatant censure are used to control the flow of information and keep taxpayers from learning how their money is spent and the relationship between Peotone’s School Board, superintendent, and their consultants.
The school board’s and Superintendent Stein’s deceptions clearly benefit their self-interest, but how does it benefit the education and welfare of students?
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