Paris District 95 votes to make you pay with NEW TAX –

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

Paris District 95 School Board, voted last night to place the question of a 1% sales tax referendum on the ballot this November. They joined what has been reported as Shiloh and Chrisman School Districts’ willingness to make you pay.

Knowing the taxpayers of the District recently passed a bond referendum to build the new high school, greatly increasing their tax burdens, the District decided to try and take even more money from us, even when the promise at the time was “no raising of [real estate] taxes” – which appears to have been a smoke-screen to this new tax.

This 1% tax is a tax on the poor and elderly, touted as something that “everyone” pays, but it is nothing more than an unreasonable tax on the poor and elderly in this community, who typically shop locally.

At its core, the County School Facility Tax (CSFT) is a NEW TAX.  A new sales tax, more precisely.  And Illinois already has roughly 450 sales tax jurisdictions, while our (Edgar County’s) neighbor, Indiana, has only one; the state.  Illinois also has some of the highest combined state and local sales tax rates in the nation.

Once implemented, the CSFT is impossible to eliminate.  And, while it’s currently capped at 1%, a movement is afoot in Springfield to double that rate.  And, it can be implemented at quarter-percent increments with a maximum rate of 1%.  Why are they talking about imposing the maximum rate immediately?

The notion that out-of-towners will bear the brunt of this is a total canard.  How much of your shopping is done out of the county?  100% of local folks will pay this.  A small percentage of the revenue would come from the out-of-towners, meaning Edgar County residents would pay the brunt of this tax, and more-so for the poor and elderly who typically shop locally.

Local politicians want to create a new tax.  

Don’t be fooled into thinking it can be easily eliminated or that they will only spend what comes in. Other school districts who have approved this tax have immediately sold bonds in anticipation of receipt of tax money, which means all of it doesn’t go where intended, but instead goes to paying interest. The banks win, not the taxpayers.

Paris District 95 School Board members are:  Steve Eitel, John Sanchez, William “Beetle” Bailey, Amy Isaf, Kevin Knoepfel, Cindy Mathis, and Tom Tuttle.

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Edgar Co. Local Governments owe the State over $166,000 in overpaid PPRT –

Edgar County, IL. (ECWd) –

The local governments in Edgar County owed the State of Illinois a total of $166,119.51 in overpayments the state made with the personal property replacement tax back in 2014.

A list of all Edgar County overpayments are below, with the School Districts, City of Paris, and County governments making up the majority of the overpayments.

There is no schedule for repayment to the state at this time.

Edgar                               EDGAR COUNTY 0231010023 20,238.31
Edgar BROCTON VILLAGE 0232400010 262.34
Edgar CHRISMAN CITY 0232400016 1,149.74
Edgar HUME VILLAGE 0232400038 55.67
Edgar KANSAS VILLAGE 0232400040 225.61
Edgar METCALF VILLAGE 0232400051 273.15
Edgar PARIS CITY 0232400063 22,667.65
Edgar REDMON VILLAGE 0232400070 24.87
Edgar VERMILION VILLAGE 0232400089 46.00
Edgar BROUILLETTS CREEK TOWNSHIP 0233020010 144.34
Edgar BUCK TOWNSHIP 0233020012 104.68
Edgar EDGAR TOWNSHIP 0233020025 323.63
Edgar ELBRIDGE TOWNSHIP 0233020027 929.25
Edgar EMBARRASS TOWNSHIP 0233020029 104.68
Edgar GRANDVIEW TOWNSHIP 0233020033 85.74
Edgar HUNTER TOWNSHIP 0233020038 46.00
Edgar KANSAS TOWNSHIP 0233020040 495.43
Edgar PARIS TOWNSHIP 0233020063 2,574.50
Edgar PRAIRIE TOWNSHIP 0233020068 229.76
Edgar ROSS TOWNSHIP 0233020073 714.04
Edgar SHILOH TOWNSHIP 0233020077 206.35
Edgar STRATTON TOWNSHIP 0233020082 159.95
Edgar SYMMES TOWNSHIP 0233020084 303.55
Edgar YOUNG AMERICA TOWNSHIP 0233020095 456.09
Edgar BROCTON FPD 0235100082 129.87
Edgar CHRISMAN FPD 0235100131 400.10
Edgar HUME FPD 0235100322 93.13
Edgar KANSAS FPD 0235100336 311.02
Edgar METCALF FPD 0235100434 133.94
Edgar PARIS FPD 0235100533 1,998.13
Edgar PARIS-UNION UNIT SCH 95 0237250950 35,496.18
Edgar SHILOH CUSD  1 0237260010 25,175.03
Edgar KANSAS CUSD 3 0237260030 7,024.88
Edgar PARIS CUSD 4 0237260040 14,682.31
Edgar EDGAR COUNTY CUSD 6 0237260060 17,032.98
Edgar BROUILLETS CRK TWP RD & BRIDGE 0239020010 205.61
Edgar BUCK TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020012 102.40
Edgar EDGAR TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020025 581.57
Edgar ELBRIDGE TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020027 2,072.33
Edgar EMBARRASS TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020029 394.90
Edgar GRANDVIEW TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020033 158.07
Edgar HUNTER TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020038 154.42
Edgar KANSAS TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020040 634.65
Edgar PARIS TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020063 4,008.44
Edgar PRAIRIE TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020068 264.61
Edgar ROSS TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020073 1,028.73
Edgar SHILOH TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020077 600.11
Edgar STRATTON TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020082 272.42
Edgar SYMMES TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020084 308.01
Edgar YOUNG AMERICA TWP RD & BRIDGE 0239020095 1,034.34

IL-Leaks




Schools Prohibited from Requiring Student Passwords to Social Media –

Springfield, IL. (ECWd) –

Received this tip in an email blast on a recent change to the “Right to Privacy in the School Setting Act” from the legal firm of Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn LLP…

Take note Effingham School District, and all the others that decided to take advantage of students last year… additionally, I would suggest all parents and students change their passwords to make sure the schools do not maintain access they may already have.

Access to Student Social Media Accounts Curtailed

Recent amendments to the Right to Privacy in the School Setting Act restrict access by schools to student social media accounts. Initially the Act gave schools the right to request or require a student to provide social media account passwords or other related account information when the school had reasonable cause to believe the account contained evidence of a disciplinary violation. Schools were required to provide notice to parents of this right. Our article regarding the then-new law can be found here.

The recent amendments to the Act restrict this right. Public Act 99-0460, which became effective on August 25, 2015, prohibits schools from requesting or requiring students to provide passwords or other account information for their social media accounts in any circumstance. Now, schools only may require a student “to cooperate in an investigation” if there is specific information about activity on the student’s social media account that violates a school disciplinary rule or policy. As part of the school’s investigation, a student may be required to “share the content that is reported in order to make a factual determination,” but the school no longer can request or require disclosure of passwords. Continue reading…

HLERK_WP_Dark (WinCE)




Shiloh School seeking county sales tax –

Edgar Co., IL. (ECWd) –

During the Edgar County Study Session last Monday, August 31st, a county board member stated that Shiloh Schools were inquiring on the ability to establish a sales tax.

I believe the 1% sales tax (if that is what he was referring to) must be by county-wide referendum and all School Districts (51% or higher) and/or the County Board must sign-on to the idea. More information in the Paris Beacon News (here).

Watch the video and learn about other items that were discussed like Health Department air conditioning, etc.:




School Boards in Edgar County violated the law….and you paid for it says Chicago Tribune…

Edgar Co. (ECWd) –

“These abuses won’t stop until voters rise up angry again and again and again”.

About now some are saying here he goes again, complaining about matters of no importance to those in Edgar County.  Oh how you arr mistaken, if that is the case.  The above quote is not mine but that of the Editorial Board of the Chicago Tribune.  I find it comforting to finally see major media organizations standing up and delivering the message to the people.

That quote was from their Editorial article today expanding on the $38,000,000.00 ($38 Million) in fines the taxpayers of Illinois had to pay because their school boards violated state law by giving pay raises in excess of statutory limits.  (Click here for Tribune Article)

Edgar County taxpayers are on the hook for $31,045.24 in penalties for violating the 6% pay spike for their administrators and teachers. Once again, we see that our elected officials are failing to follow the law and it is those same officials costing you money.

A break down by school districts In Edgar County:

  • Chrisman CUSD 6 – 1 Educator – Fined $1,102.14
  • Kansas CUSD 3 – 1 Educator – Fined $3,354.01
  • Paris CUSD 4 – 4 Educators – Fined $2,832.36
  • Paris CUSD 95 – 5 Educators – Fined $18,178.76 
  • Shiloh CUSD 1 – 3 Educators – Fined $5,547.9

Considering the financial condition of these schools and their raising of our taxes on a regular basis, let me just say I am once again disgusted with this behavior.  The nerve of these people to continue to place financial burdens on our backs when they, themselves, are costing us money is yet another example of how broke our system is.

At what point will the citizens in this county get angry enough to demand accountability to the law?  I have been asking that question for years and the abuse continues while people sit at the coffee shop complaining that nothing can be done about it.

The College of DuPage was an example of how informed voters stood up and forced change;  Change that many said could never happen.  We exposed just a smidgen of corruption in that College compared to what we have shared in Edgar County, yet the abuses of the law in this county continue, as is pointed out in the Chicago Tribune’s article.  (Click here to search the entire data base for violators)

The school districts of Edgar County owe the people an explanation as to which educators reaped the benefits of illegal pay spikes, and what board members allowed it to happen.  I would appreciate if they simply provide the information without a FOIA request. If I do not hear from them in the next 5 days I will follow up with the official request, as the people have a right to know who is taking advantage of our tax dollars with zero accountability.

 




Edgar Co. Sheriff not answering FOIA requests – hires secretary –

Edgar Co., IL. (ECWd) –

Early in April we received word that the Sheriff had conducted interviews for the open secretarial position due to the retirement of the previous secretary.

In the interview process, the Sheriff invited Nanette Crippes, Edgar County Emergency Telephone System Director, “ETSB”, and Nancy Zeman, part-owner of the Prairie Press weekly paper, to assist in interviewing the candidates.

Nanette Crippes and the ETSB have no connection with, and is not employed with, the Edgar County Sheriff’s Department – which makes me wonder why she was part of the interview process.

Nancy Zeman, is not an employee or officer of Edgar County, and in my opinion, and especially as part-owner/writer for a local weekly paper, should never be part of the interview process for the Sheriff’s secretary. In her response to my questions, Nancy responded with “I was asked to join the interview process based on my experience as a business owner and longtime resident of Edgar County. Sheriff Wood was seeking to make the interview process more open, which I fully support.”

So this creates somewhat of a conflict with the “unbiased” reporting they have claimed in the past, but became apparently biased during the run-up to the November 2014 election cycle with the reporting of obviously manufactured disagreements between the ETSB and the Sheriff’s office – which vanished into thin air after the election.

Additionally, in order to determine exactly what went on during the interviews, I requested those records from the Sheriff’s office. The FOIA request is past the mandatory 5 day response time with no acknowledgement of when they will respond.

FOIA Issues

The Freedom of Information Act specifically addresses issues with non-officers and non-employees of public bodies and their access to records in Section 3(a). It states that “Notwithstanding any other law, a public body may not grant to any person or entity, whether by contract, license, or otherwise, the exclusive right to access and disseminate any public record as defined in this Act."

This applies in this situation where they have, thru not answering the FOIA request, granted Crippes and Zeman exclusive rights to access and disseminate those records involved in the interview process. Additionally, the Illinois Supreme Court has already determined that when a record is provided to any party outside the public body, it automatically becomes a public record under FOIA (unless another law specifically prohibits its release).

I will exercise Section 11 of FOIA next week and file a lawsuit in Edgar County Circuit Court to obtain access to those records.

Who was hired?

They hired as the secretary, Jamie Sturgell. She is the daughter-in-law of Terry Sturgell who writes a column on the Ag page in the Prairie Press and she is also the mother of Kathy Rhoads’ granddaughter. As Chamber director, Kathy Rhoads (former employee of the Paris Beacon News) makes it very apparent that she supports the Prairie Press. It just seems like the person they hired has a lot of ties to the Prairie Press, with the help of Zeman, which would make it hard for them to say that anything they report on regarding the Sheriff’s Department was unbiased. Additionally, she is the daughter of Keith Trogdon (Dist 4 school board) and niece of Kevin Trogdon (former Edgar County Board Member).

Please do not confuse this article as attacking Jamie Sturgell, because that is not the purpose of this article, it’s merely to point to what I consider flaws in the hiring process within Edgar County government and to inform the general public as to what they can most likely expect related to reporting on Edgar County Sheriff Department issues in the future..

EdCoSheriffDept




Crestwood CUSD #4 – Superintendent’s Salary –

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

There has been a considerable amount of misinformation out there about the Crestwood School District #4 Superintendent’s contract. This should clear everything up since copies of the last three contracts are at the bottom of this article. I did not expect to be writing this article, and my intention of getting copies of the contracts were so that I would know what the Crestwood CUSD #4 superintendent’s salary actually was. I picked these up over a week ago.

Before I delve in to the particulars, remember this, the school board members are the ones that set the contract terms and compensation package. If they did not vote in favor of this contract, these terms, and this compensation package, it would not be what it is. If you think this is too high, do not blame the employee for asking for whatever compensation they believe that can receive, instead, blame the school board members for approving it. Remember, you elected them.

So, here we go:

2014 – BASE: $167,705.32 (update: includes employee TRS contribution)
+ Paragraph 8 appears to leave room for salary increases
+ TRS (teacher retirement system) (update: mandated employer contribution)
+ THIS (teacher health insurance security fund)
+ 20 vacation days
+ 18 sick days
+ 3 personal days
+ Mileage

2011 – BASE: $127,582.00 – plus 6%/yr increase. It appears the other perks remain the same.

2007 – BASE: $101,913.89 – plus Health, Dental, and Vision cost increases. It appears the other perks are the same.

*The 2014 contract is $40, 123.32 higher than her Base 2011 contract before its 6%/yr increases.
*When comparing with other school districts, keep in mind this is a (Pre)K-8 school district. (Update: I am being told this is a K-12)

Download (PDF, 2.57MB)

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Download (PDF, 2.67MB)

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Download (PDF, 2.38MB)

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Crestwood (WinCE)




Correcting the Myth of Mandatory 6% Pay Raises (Crestwood School)…

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

It was erroneously reported in the November 26, 2014 issue of a local paper that: “State law requires that retiring teachers and administrators be given six percent pay increase each year prior to their retirement“.

That is not the case. State law simply puts a maximum of 6% raise per year, meaning under no circumstance can they receive more than 6% raise in any given year. There is no state law requiring any pay raises.

We have verified that this is not a state law requirement, but instead was negotiated into the teacher’s union contracts (starting on page 18 of this 31 page pdf), that if they provide advanced notice of intention to retire the district will increase their pay 6% each year for up to the four years immediately preceding their retirement. This is for the purpose of reducing school district payroll in the immediate years, and “making up” the difference in their last four years.

Why should this make a difference to you?

Because the article was about Crestwood, CUSD 4’s, proposed bond sales, and this was presumably quoted as a reason for increased costs of the district.

Crestwood

Pic from Crestwood School’s website




Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

EDGAR CO. (ECWd) –

I think everyone is well aware of the financial turmoil our country is in, as well as our state.   It has become so overwhelming most agree that this much debt is next to impossible to fix as long as the very people that put us in that debt continue to run things.  As I have said for years, if you can’t fix it locally you will never fix it at the state or national level.  That leads us to the same basic issue, which is how much debt are we dealing with locally?

$79,348,515.70!

Shared between Four Public Bodies In Edgar County!

“No way”, you say?  Impossible?

Time for some much needed truth as was referenced in yesterday’s Paris Beacon Editorial from Mr. Smith. We see in the papers regularly how local public bodies “pass” their audit when the reality is there is no pass or fail of a standard public audit and in most cases no one even reads the details contained in those so called “passed” audits. 

Dixon, Illinois had audits for years and no one found anything wrong, yet just last year a conviction was established for theft of over $53 Million dollars, even though they “passed” their audits!  It took a “forensic” audit to uncover the truth.

Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department had similar audits for years and board members from both counties insisted, one to this day, nothing was wrong and the audits support such a position.  A “forensic” Audit proved them wrong and exposed the very criminal acts we wrote about for over a year.  Currently, higher authorities are investigating that multi-million dollar theft of taxpayer’s funds and all indications point to future indictments!   

East Central Illinois Mass Transit District “passed” their audits, yet after wrongdoing was exposed a “forensic” audit has now led to the federal authorities taking over and from what we understand a clear pursuit of criminal charges are still forthcoming in that theft of public money as well.   

Edgar County audits for 2010 and 2011 reflected basically the same thing, accounts balanced and all is good, however we know for a fact the audit did not catch the theft of over $20,000.00 in credit card purchases made by Chandra Smith.  It was not until a “forensic” audit was requested that the theft was exposed.  You can see HERE for yourself the amazing purchases being made, all while not a single board member raised a question until very late in the game!  Yes, she was charged and convicted, however, the failure of the standard audit to find such theft simply makes our point, audits tell you little about how your tax money is being spent. 

That old saying “the devil’s in the details” sadly holds so true when it comes to statutory audits of public bodies and it’s high time the public start reading those audits and learning what is really happening with their tax dollars!

Take Paris, Illinois for example.  The Paris Beacon headline on January 29th was “A Job Well Done – Audit shows that Paris’ books are in fine shape”.   In the news story it claims the audit is clean and then put a definition to clean as meaning the accounts balance and records are being kept according to sound accounting principles. They go on to claim independent audits help assure taxpayers their money is being used for the intended purposes.  I think we can safely disagree with that assessment based on the four previous mentioned audits that disprove such a comment.  In fact, you may recall these articles (1, 2) that point to use of public funds in violation of the law yet nothing in the audit about those actions either. 

I appreciate the Editorial Board’s opinion, but what is the rest of the story that the public might have a major interest in knowing?

You may recall that we covered the Audit information for the Clark Edgar Rural Water District that painted a rosy picture of their financial situation. When questioned about the massive “Bond Debt”, they claimed they don’t count interest, even though they are paying it.  The debt load that is paid on the backs of the customers at the time of the article was over $24,000,000.00 ($24 Million Dollars!)

Looking at the so called “clean” Audit for the City of Paris, we can see that the reported long term debt is $17,665,020.00!   In order to see the whole picture you have to “read” the details.  That reported $17,665,020.00 of reported long term debt does not include the interest!

If you add the interest, using the audit numbers, the actual long term debt is reported to be $26,755,943 dollars.  Using the actual Speer Financial Debt Service Schedules that we obtained through a FOIA, the actual number appears to be $34,089,500.20!  (That figure was obtained by adding the remaining payments due as outlined on the payment schedule)

Just the city debt total amounts to $15,738.44 on the backs of an average family of four, or $3,934.61 on the backs of every Man, Woman, and Child in the City of Paris!

With a new school being built we can see additional bond debt for the two school districts as well.  Crestwood, District 4 currently has a Bond debt obligation of $9,076,177.

District 95 numbers in their audit summary they provided claimed a debt of $9,533,016 however when the interest is included in that long term debt the actual Principal with Interest totals reflect a debt of $12,614,467.50

$55,780,144.70 of Debt for a city with a population of 8,664

$6,438.15 on the backs of every Man, Woman and Child! 

Adding the last reported Bond debt of the Clark Edgar Rural Water District, which was $23,568,371.00 we can see a real problem has crept into our local society, just as it has at the state and national level.

 Only four Edgar County Public Bodies, and the total debt of those agencies appears to total $79,348,515.70!

Seventy Nine Million, Three Hundred Forty Eight Thousand, Five Hundred Fifteen dollars and Seventy cents!

Does anyone have any concern that we have over $79 Million dollars of debt in this county? 

Now I understand the infrastructure needs maintained and schools need upgraded, however, the question I think is fair: where was the planning for these matters?  Being a community surrounded with agriculture you don’t have to go far to see a farmer in the field with new equipment.  Most that I have spoken with plan for those major purchases. Planning that included setting funding aside to be able to afford it and for those that had to borrow, they make monthly payments that include both principal and interest.  That basic principal I believe most are familiar with. 

The city of Paris has payments structured for its bond payments that reflect NO PRINCIPAL payments ranging from 6 years to 13 years depending on the Bond.

The same practice is found with District 95 and its Bond Payments.

For all those with a credit card, is it safe to assume you know that if you only pay the principal you will never get the card paid off? The longer you avoid principal payments the more interest you pay, thus the more it cost you to use the credit!

Why do people not pay more on the debt they have?  Anyone?

You can’t afford it!

Can anyone explain how a claim that the “Pairs Books are in Fine Shape”, when they fail to reflect all the years the taxpayers are only paying interest on the debt their city leaders created?

In defense of the accountants, they did exactly what the state says they have to do, ensure the math adds up and accounts balance.  My point is not to imply that auditors are not doing their job, or that we don’t need a new water system or new schools.  My point is we must move towards a common sense approach to fiscal management of our tax dollars that includes better planning and better control of our debt load. 

The leaders in so many communities are failing to do their job and protect our tax dollars and when those same officials are running things for so long, it’s clear to see, the problem lies with those we have placed our trust in.  Close business relationships become well established that place the priority on taking care of their own interests instead of remembering it’s “We the People” that should be the priority.

Questions I think we need to all start asking, where is this money going?  Have a select few made a small fortune because of their close political connections and control?  Is this the system of representation our founding fathers envisioned? 

The sad part of this picture, it only represents FOUR public bodies!  I am willing to bet that the rest of the schools, as well as the county, have Bond Debts which would take the real debt number in excess of $80 Million Dollars of debt in a county with less than 20,000 people!

Can we now better appreciate the problem we face at the National or State level?  How many generations are we going to place into bondage with the debt load created by those enriching themselves? 

With only a 31% voter turnout in last week’s election I pray that this message wakes the rest of the community and brings change.




Paris Schools Consolidation Town Hall Meeting

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

Paris District 95 videotaped the “Consolidation Town Hall” meeting that was held on September 12, 2013.

We have linked to their youtube page for the video:

 

 

 Previous Article(s):

http://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/2013/01/possible-school-district-consolidation-information/

 




AG Finally Rules On Security Cam Video re: Crestwood School (2012) –

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

The Illinois Attorney General’s office finally reaches a decision in the Freedom Of Information Act Request For Review, sent to them in September 2012, after a denial of security camera footage by Crestwood School. (Original article on the FOIA Denial Here)

The footage requested was the result of a complaint we received over a child being left outside unattended.

The AG’s Determination

The AG has determined that Crestwood School does not have to release the footage for the following reasons:

a.  They (AG) have determined its release would constitute a “substantial invasion of personal privacy” because disclosure was not consented to in writing by the subject of the information (video) –  (or parents of the subject in this situation) and a child is in a “potentially embarrassing and distressing incident” (locked outside and trying to get back in).

b.  IF the school district had the capacity to redact the video in order to obscure the identity of the child, then the “substantial invasion of personal privacy” might not apply.

c.  The school district does not currently have the capacity to redact video footage (conceal faces in video).

d.  The school district is not required to purchase the software and assistance for a request of this nature.

**The AG’s office and the school did state as fact, that the time the child spent outside the school was approximately three minutes.**

So my understanding of this is that either the parents needed to sign a release, or the school needed  to possess the capability to redact video footage.

 

Download (PDF, 3.94MB)


 

Appeal In Progress

I have decided to appeal this determination based in part on the following:

This determination was based on sub-paragraph 5 ILCS 140/7(1)(c) (personal information – unwarranted invasion of privacy, etc.).  It also claims the school district is not required to purchase “sophisticated software” or “specialized assistance” to comply with this request. A simple PC and cheap video editing program would suffice for simple redactions on video and could probably be had for under $1000 or maybe even donated.

Sec. 7. Exemptions.
    (1) When a request is made to inspect or copy a public record that contains information that is exempt from disclosure under this Section, but also contains information that is not exempt from disclosure, the public body may elect to redact the information that is exempt. The public body shall make the remaining information available for inspection and copying. Subject to this requirement, the following shall be exempt from inspection and copying:

The approximately three minutes of video in question contains information that is exempt (identification of the child trying to get back into the school) — it also contains information that is not exempt (everything else in the video that does not identify the child) — the school may elect to redact the exempted information and SHALL make the remaining information available.

Doesn’t this mean that the school district can redact exempted information, but it must make the remaining information available?

Does the statute qualify that statement by saying “as long as it’s not too much trouble or takes different software”? No, it doesn’t.

What happens when it does not elect to redact? Can they simply withhold all the remaining information because they do not elect to redact the exempt information?

These are the answers I will be seeking, because a precidence set by the AG in this instance will have state-wide consequences for future instances of this type.

 

 

 




Update: Crestwood School – re: FOIA Denial

EDGAR CO. (ECWd) –

This is an update from this article published on Sep 21, 2012.

I spoke with the attorney from the Illinois Attorney General’s office this week about the FOIA request for review I submitted after Crestwood School denied my request for security camera video from the day a child was locked outside the school for an as yet undetermined amount of time. He assured me this review was still under review and a determination would be made by the end of June 2013. This is a classic example of why we have started using the court system to obtain documents. Courts take approx 2-3 months while the Attorney General takes anywhere from 4 months to 2 years, and yes we still have a review out there from that started almost 2 years ago.

Below are the documents in the order they were sent/received.

Original FOIA request

Crestwood Denial

My Appeal for reconsideration and updated appeal

Crestwood denial of appeal

My FOIA request for review sent to IL Atty Gen PAC

Crestwood response to the request for review

My rebuttal of their response

Your guess is as good as mine as to when we will receive an answer to this FOIA review. I am confident we will prevail and obtain copies of the footage.

 




UPDATE: New School Funding – PCHS

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

Chapin Rose has just stated that the Capital Development Board bonds were to be sold this morning,  finalized on the 10th of April and school districts should expect construction payment processing by the end of April.

He also talked about school funding/pension issues and compared the Chicago Public Schools with the downstate schools in relation to total receipts and obligations.

PDF of the comparison located here for download – 4MB.

Audio here for download – 27MB.

 
ChapinRose




Conflict of Interest – Capital Development Board (New High School funds) –

EDGAR CO. (ECWd) –

While preparing several emails to send off today, I ran across the Illinois Procurement Code. This is the code the Capital Development Board, where the money for the new High School comes from, uses to determine conflicts of interest, among other things.

It is unfortunate that we have to go through so many different levels and state agencies in order to obtain answers to obvious conflicts – then we have to wonder who will take the stand to make sure these issues are dealt with.

The procurement code spells out what is considered a conflict, and in clear language not easily misunderstood.

Definition

Elective status; the holding of elective office of the State of Illinois, the government of the United States, any unit of local government authorized by the Constitution of the State of Illinois or the statutes of the State of Illinois currently or in the previous 3 years.

Just so everyone is clear on this point: Mr. Patrick DOES hold an elective office of a unit of local government authorized by the Constitution of the State of Illinois.

 The Prohibition

(30 ILCS 500/50-13)
    Sec. 50-13. Conflicts of interest.
    (a) Prohibition. It is unlawful for any person holding an elective office in this State, holding a seat in the General Assembly, or appointed to or employed in any of the offices or agencies of State government and who receives compensation for such employment in excess of 60% of the salary of the Governor of the State of Illinois, or who is an officer or employee of the Capital Development Board or the Illinois Toll Highway Authority, or who is the spouse or minor child of any such person to have or acquire any contract, or any direct pecuniary interest in any contract therein, whether for stationery, printing, paper, or any services, materials, or supplies, that will be wholly or partially satisfied by the payment of funds appropriated by the General Assembly of the State of Illinois or in any contract of the Capital Development Board or the Illinois Toll Highway Authority.

In reading this paragraph, it is clear the legislative intent – That no person holding an elective office, anywhere in the State of Illinois, can have any direct pecuniary interest in any contract paid wholly or partially with any contract of the Capital Development Board, which in turn receives its funds through General Assembly appropriations.

To better understand it, you should look at the use of commas, and their use is consistant with a type of punctuation called a “listing comma”. Take away the commas, and you get a listing of 5 different groups of people who cannot contract or sell materials to these projects:

1.   Those people holding an elective office in this State

2.    Those people holding a seat in the General Assembly

 3.   Those people   appointed to or employed in any of the offices or agencies of State government and who receives compensation for such employment in excess of 60% of the salary of the Governor of the State of Illinois

4.       an officer or employee of the Capital Development Board or the Illinois Toll Highway Authority

5.       the spouse or minor child of any such person

I believe the 1st group directly reflects the situation that Chris Patrick is in when it comes to selling materials or supplies to any contractor for use on the new high school construction project.

We’ll have to wait and see how this project and potential conflict plays out…

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In another note from the Capitol Development Board, they sent the following email to organizations involved in current construction projects. I do not know what impact this will have on the construction time-line, if any:

From: CDB.Grants <CDB.Grants@Illinois.gov>
Date: February 11, 2013, 1:51:09 PM CST
Subject: School Construction Payments

The Capital Development Board (CDB) is in receipt of a School Construction payment request from your school district and at this time the payment cannot be processed until bonds are sold. The CDB has all pending payments ready to be sent to the comptroller as soon as funding is received and understands the hardship this is causing you.  The administration decided to delay the sale of $500 million dollars of general obligation bonds due to the “unsettled” bond market, which occurred after the state’s credit rating was downgraded.  John Sinsheimer, the director of capital markets for Gov. Pat Quinn’s budget office stated, “What they [banks] had indicated was the market had become a bit unsettled as a result of the action of the rating agencies over the last couple of weeks. We felt it was prudent to pull the bonds back.”  School Construction payments are funded through the School Construction Bond Fund.  The February bond sale was going to pay the pending School Construction payments, therefore, grant recipients will have to wait for payments until the next bond sale.  The next bond sale is expected to occur in late March or early April based on the information CDB has received. 

 

NewHSandCDB




Conflicts-Intergovernmental Agreements-New High School

EDGAR CO. (ECWd) –

As most of us are already aware, there is a new high school being built just north of Paris. With this school construction comes alot of contractors, contracts, and more specifically – concrete.

While most of the discussions on conflicts of interest have dealt with the county highway department, municipalities, townships, and state and federal grants, there is a conflict that hasn’t been discussed yet.

Intergovernmental Agreements

The reasoning behind township and outlieing municipality conflicts is because there are intergovernmental agreements in place, or there is the potential for them, between the county and those entities.

The less talked about agreements, and a potential for future agreements, exist between Edgar County and District 4, District 95, and the Paris Cooperative High School. With the current and future abilities to commit to these agreements, the same conflict with Chris Patrick exists.

State Grants

The Illinois Capitol Development Board committed a $24,227,956 state grant to assist in building the new school. With a more than 130,000 square feet of building being erected, one can see this will take an enormous amount of concrete and other materials that could potentially be supplied by Chris Patrick and Zimmerly Ready Mix.

Bidding On Conrete Work

A concrete bidding question, from the New High School website:

Q: January 18, 2012.  When is the actual bid date for the concrete portion of the building with the reinforcing in it? Where will the bid openings be and what time?
A: The concrete bid package, including all reinforcing, was put out-to-bid on January 17, 2013.  Bids will be received, publicly opened and read at 2:00 PM on February 7, 2013 at the Paris Union School District 95 offices located at 300 South Eads Avenue, Paris, Illinois  61944.

I haven’t read a copy of the bid paperwork, but I do hope that the potential conflict in buying concrete from Zimmerly was revealed to those bidding on the project. It would be unfair to do otherwise, since the potential for different prices exists with out of town concrete providers.

Intergovernmental Agreements and Contractual Relationships

Conflicts arise when an official may be called upon to act or vote…

 The Intergovernmental Cooperation clause of the 1970 Constitution (Art VII, para 10) and the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act (5 ICLS  220), specifically grant to counties and others, broad powers to contract or otherwise associate among themselves to obtain or share services, powers or functions.

The potential does exist, for a county board to enter into agreements/contracts with school districts. Potential exists for certain agreements to obtain a favorable vote from a person selling materials and supplies to the school districts. This is no different than agreements between the county, and  township and municipalities, for road and drainage work. This is a conflict of interest if Chris Patrick is invloved in any way, which he already has been, with discussions and votes on upgrading the road in front of the new high school or with sellling materials and supplies to contractors working on the new high school.

PatrickPCHS




Possible School District Consolidation Information

EDGAR CO. (ECWd) –

Possible School District Consolidation

Following several inquiries into possible school consolidations, I had a meeting with the District 4 and District 95 Superintendents along with some email exchanges that included the PCHS Director, to discuss their planning of possible consolidation of the school districts.

For the record, I am,  and always have been, in favor of consolidation of these two school districts.

I asked several questions and received basically the same answer from both districts. These will be presented in a Q&A format.

Q: What is the proposed time-frame for this consolidation?

A: If planning continues at its current pace, the referendum will be on the March 18, 2014 Ballot. It requires a ballot vote, with both districts approving it by a majority in each district.

Q: What happens to the School Boards?

A: Should the referendum pass, a new board will have to be elected out of the new consolidated district.

Q: Will the new board be elected “at large” or from 7 board districts?

A: The Committee of Ten would be responsible for that decision and it will be part of the ballot question.

Q: What will be the name of the new district?

A: The State will determine the district number and the new school board will have some input on the new name.

Q: What will happen to the teachers?

A: The new school board will determine how many teachers they will need, then selections bases on School Code (Seniority and/or Performance Evaluation law). Teachers Aides will be based on seniority.

Q: What will happen to all of the support staff, supervisors, and cleaning contracts?

A: This will all be determined by the new board. All current contracts will stay in force until their expiration/buy-out

Q: What about the bussing situation?

A: New board will determine the best course of action.

Q: Which Teachers Union will be the contracting union?

A: Both current unions will dissolve and a new union formed. They will then negotiate a contract with the new board.

Q: Will there be a search for a new superintendent?

A: New board will decide.

Q: How will this affect the new high school?

A: The cooperative high school and the new high school building will be part of the proposed new district.

Q: What will consolidation do to property tax rates compared to what each districts property owners are paying now?

A: The tax rate will be determined by the “Committee of Ten” and will be part of the referendum question on the ballot.

Q: Will outstanding bonds still be the responsibility of the current district taxpayers?

A: Yes, unless other agreements are put into place before consolidation.

Q: Have the surrounding school districts been approached and ask recently about possible consolidation with the Paris districts?

A: Yes, informally, but no interest was shown.

Q: What is the status of the road in front of the new high school?

A: ParisTownship and the City of Paris are the current owners of different parts of that road and both are seeking grants to improve it.

The proposed decision making time-line is below: 

Download (PDF, 43KB)


 

Illinois State Board of Education information pamphlet provided by Dave Meister:

Download (PDF, 235KB)


 

coinsolidationpic




YES ! On CERWD Trustees and Oct. Meeting…

EDGAR CO. (ECWd) –

We couldn’t attend the October 15, 2012 Clark-Edgar Rural Water District meeting – we were working other issues at the time. We do find it quite interesting what is said, during open meetings, when people aren’t there to listen. In this case though, they taped their meeting and we received a copy of the tape through a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Let’s just say it was eye-opening, and reinforced the need to vote YES for elected trustees instead of appointed trustees. They MUST be held accountable to the public.

After Executive Session

The transcript of this short session prior to adjourning are below – our comments are below the transcript:

Listen to the audio here (link fixed) while you read the transcript if you like…

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Tape Starts:

Tom Jones: Is there any point in time, where someone higher up in the courts, will tell you that this is a waste of time

Attorney: I’m just hoping that they realize that there are limits as to what they can do in a request. In the attorney general response to the phone issue – that’s a dead issue… They can’t ask for stuff that you don’t have. I tried to make that clear and I’m hoping that that educates them. The only thing that’s going to help is education. When they realize that uh, uhm, there’s certain things they can’t ask for. If they narrow their scope and they ask for stuff that they are entitled ask for then you have to respond. They can continue to do this…the statute, if you look at the Freedom of Information Act statute, and then there’s a case that I, in fact there’s a case that I cited in the response to the Attorney General’s office, they indicate in there that one of your functions is to provide documentation to the public, and uh as much as much as furnishing water that’s one of your functions is to provide documentation to the public.

Tom Jones: I’d like Roger or somebody up above em aught to see it’s a lot of nonsense coming in cause they’re doin this to not only us but several other firms.

Kevin Conover: and I know of no one they’ve ever quit. I know of no public body that they have started on that they have left alone. They’re still after Roger Eddy.

Sandra Neal: Are there more and more of them?

Unkn: Roger Eddy, what are they after Roger for?

Bob Colvin: Roger was at a uhh, I talked to Roger the other day on another matter, I said by the way you’re on my hit list. And he said “Bob what’d I do to you?” and I said “well since after you left they’ve been pickin on me.” And he said “oh, no, I was at a hearing with them two weeks ago in Springfield.” Those two guys, the hearing officer, and Roger..with..charges of misuse of public funds and after fifteen or twenty minutes, the hearing officer said “What am I doing here?”…They said well uh all these stupid charges and the hearing officer repeated he said “What am I doing here?” he said nothing that you said means anything to me. And you know what one of them said, he even called Bob Colvin… You remember that meeting he called me here? I stepped outside. And they said they even called Bob Colvin at a meeting and Roger said…is that…is that on?…

Tom Jones: Yea

Bob Colvin:  Roger said they came to this school board meeting, wouldn’t sign in, wouldn’t give them their name, as for some reason he knew they were from Paris. He said, he said I called Bob to find out who these idiots were and he said he identified them before I even described them. Then the hearing officer said “this hearing’s over.” And, and they, they, summoned him again, they got another charge against him.

Unkn: Well there’s..is this on tape?

Unkn: unintelligible…I don’t know the government…unintelligible

Unkn: Well they’re persistent aren’t they. Well maybe if they lose the case, and we charge them for lawyer’s fees maybe that’ll change their attitude.

Unkn: Has anybody else, uhm, retained an attorney…cause of them?

Bob Colvin:  Uh,..

Unkn: The county board or anything like that?

Bob Colvin: I’m not so sure that several people haven’t.

Sandra Neal:  Who all are they after, Bob? Uh what other…

Bob Colvin:  Anybody and everybody

Sandra Neal:  What other agencies,””” I know they’re after Crestwood School cause that’s where…

Bob Colvin:  Let’s see, City of Paris, Edgar County, the 911 board, Mass Transportation, Martinesville Library

Kevin Conover: Animal Shelter…the Animal Shelter

Unkn: Senior Citizens

Sandra Neal:  Are they after the Senior Citizens?

Unkn: Mass Transit

Tom Jones: I’ll tell you this much, they don’t discriminate do they.

Unkn: How do they have time to do all that…

Unkn: Well they’ve got a government pension you’ve got all the time in the world.

Unkn: Nothin else to do. Can’t imagine why they’d want to do it – make a lot of friends that way

Sandra Neal:  Well if they get their way and everybody gets kicked off of all these boards who’s gonna, who they got, have they got enough people on their side to run for all these positions?

Unkn: far as I can determine so far is there are two, maybe three people.

Unkn: Did Lisa tell ya that we had a FOIA request for that information from Brad Holbrook?

Bob Colvin: Did Lisa tell you what I said about that?

Unkn: I can imagine that I don’t want to hear it, with ladies present

Bob Colvin:  He’s their hand-picked person

Kevin Conover:  All the more important that uh this board hang together

Bob Colvin: I asked Roger why uh the Democratic Party didn’t beat him. Cause he’s very open to be beat, they just drew the lines those are ten year lines, this deal was set with the Republicans and Roger, they knew they couldn’t beat him and the democrats won’t run against him because they knew they couldn’t beat him….

Unkn: Who took Roger’s place, Roger Eddy?

Unkn: Holbrook

Unkn: He didn’t take Roger’s place, Roger backed out and give it to him

Sandra Neal: Did Roger give it to him?

Unkn: He resigned, yea

Bob Colvin: Roger went from a uh sixty thousand dollar a year job to a three hundred thousand dollar a year job

General conversation about Roger and Righter follows…meeting adjourns.

Sandra Neal:  How come they didn’t come tonight?

Tape Ends.

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Waste Of Time? – We Agree!

Mr. Jones is correct, this is a waste of time, considering the CERWD is not allowed, by law, to charge for providing documents pursuant to a FOIA request unless – it is more than 50 pages, or – it is a commercial request. The CERWD is spending public money defending an indefensible position.

The Freedom Of Information Act, 5 ILCS 140, Section 6, Authority to charge fees, states:

A public body can charge for actual cost of recording media (CD, DVD, Tape, etc.) and

(a) ...A public body may not charge the requester for the costs of any search for and review of the records or other personnel costs associated with reproducing the records, except for commercial requests...

In paragraph (b), A public body can charge for paper copies of anything over 50 pages, and again states the above sentence from paragraph (a).

(a) ...A public body may not charge the requester for the costs of any search for and review of the records or other personnel costs associated with reproducing the records, except for commercial requests...

Paragraph (c) states how to request free or reduced copies, and also states news media (and individuals) are not considered commercial requests.

Paragraph (d) :  (d) The imposition of a fee not consistent with subsections (6)(a) and (b) of this Act constitutes a denial of access to public records for the purposes of judicial review.

Paragraph (e) talks about DMV records

Paragraph (f) says a public body can charge up to $10.00 per hour to search for and retrieve records after the first 8 hours spent searching and retrieving. It can charge the actual cost to retrieve records from an off-site of third party, which Francis-Assoc. is… But here is where it gets interesting: The last sentence in paragraph (f) states: The provisions of this subsection (f) apply only to commercial requests.

So, YES, Mr. Jones, this is a waste of time and public money defending your obvious intentional and willful  violation of the law! Not to mention hiring a second attorney which, by statute, is not allowed.

The Only Thing That’s Going To Help Is Education

We agree on this point also – except that you will be getting the “education” as we already know what we can and cannot ask for. We didn’t just fall off the bus yesterday.

It has already been made clear by the FOIA and Attorney General, that documents produce for a public body and held with a contracted third party (Francis-Assoc, Phone Company, Etc) ARE public record, are considered to be in the possession of the public body for purposes of FOIA, and must be provided. It has also been made clear, through an Attorney General Binding Opinion (you can also read it below), that each and every individual person shall be treated as a single request – it doesn’t even matter if they request the same document, and are married and living in the same house – they are two separate requests. So your amateurish attempt at getting this dismissed from the AGs Office will fail!  Shove that in your pipe and smoke it.

“Are There More And More Of Them?”

Sandra Neal, a short answer to your question is Yes, there are “more and more” of us.

We are not “after” Crestwood, we are after the truth behind what happened to a 6 year old boy that was locked outside the school on his second day. Some people allege they were lied to by the Crestwood Administration, we will report what we find whether it supports the school administration or supports the concerned parties.

We also don’t want “everybody kicked off of all these boards” as there are plenty of good people already serving on some of these boards. What we do want are elected CERWD Trustees that will answer to the public and quit going down the road to bankruptcy –  and Mass Transit Trustees that are actually permitted by law to sit on the Mass Transit board – the Clark County board fixed their illegal appointment extremely quick, why is it the Edgar County Board cannot do the same (EDIT: Smith is still a Trustee, Trogdon did “resign”, but only after more than 90 days of arguing – Clark County resolved it in 3 weeks) ?

The notion that we are “after” any public body is nonsense, the Animal Control Shelter was on the verge of being (illegally – similar to the Edgar County Ambulance handover to Dee Burgin in which he still owes $100,000 with no one willing to collect) handed over to an organization with a “history” behind them – that transaction came to an abrupt halt.  The Mass Transit District has former employees under investigation, and when we first looked into them they had three trustees that were not allowed by law to sit on that board – if that means we are “after” them so be it.

 “BOB”

Bob Colvin, your comments are so far out there we don’t know which one of you are telling the lies – you or Roger Eddy. Rest assured, we can refute everything you said when you didn’t think anybody was listening. We have the tape from the Illinois Election Commission Hearing in Springfield and will write another article, and upload the audio, on this subject – just for you.

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Here is the AGs Binding Opinion on recurrent requestors:

Download (PDF, 297KB)




What Price is Too High of a Price To Pay?

PARIS, IL. –

Having lived in several countries for extended periods of time; some friendly and some not so friendly, I still remember the saying our Drill Sergeants taught us in basic training: “Stay Alert, Stay Alive!”

It is those four words that should stick in everyone’s mind in any situation; whether it is driving, working a construction job, and especially when teaching our children. Safety is always the number one concern – cost is not a factor.

It was only a few short months ago when I questioned our local schools on their policies of mandatory reporting and the fact that state laws say the individual with knowledge must report, while the school boards in Paris require notification of the school principal or superintendent prior to reporting. I voiced my opinion that their rule might cause a mandatory reporter to think twice about reporting for fear of retaliation – especially if it involved a relative or friend of a teacher, principal or superintendent – and I felt it was in direct conflict with the intent of the law, which is to allow a mandatory reporter to remain anonymous. Sadly, their policies remain the same.

April 10, 1972 – Crestwood School

Some things are unforgivable, some can never be forgotten, and most certainly can never be replaced. Every Christmas, every Birthday and every trip past the school brings back memories to the family of this 6 year old boy. This is a true story of what happened over 40 years ago on a school field trip to Georgetown, Illinois.

April 10, 1972 started off as any other ordinary school day for the students and faculty at Crestwood School. But this day would be different, and maybe a bit more exciting, since the EMH (Educatable Mentally Handicapped) classes were off to the Forest Glenn Preserve Park near Georgetown on a field trip. (Photo used with permission)

The details are somewhat sketchy, but sometime prior to or during lunch, a little 6 year old boy wandered away from the rest of the students. Nobody noticed he was missing until after lunch was almost over. In the chaos that followed, students, teachers, and emergency responders searched for him. Then someone noticed his coat and a partially-eaten apple lying next to a “small pond”, about 5 feet deep.

At around 2 p.m., Vermillion County Sheriff Deputies and Danville Police Officers entered the muddy water and recovered the body of 6 year old Richard Lee Gordon. His funeral was three days later. (Photos used with permission)

During the Coroner’s inquest, the teacher stated that a standard red warning sign was located near the pond, and they had showed students the sign within the past week at the school during class. That can be translated to “the student should have known better” – but we are talking about a six-year-old child, and special education student! Can anyone honestly say the student should have known there was danger? Whatever actually caused the child to wander off, the root of the cause is complacency.

Complacency

Complacency. We are all guilty of it at one time or another, that’s why most auto accidents happen within a couple miles of where the drivers live. They get so used to the same routine, they quit thinking of the dangers that lie ahead. While complacency might be OK when only yourself is involved, it is not OK when you are charged with the responsibility of caring for children in our schools.

The definition I am using is: a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like;

Day 2 – School Year 2012-2013, Crestwood School

Just a few short weeks ago, there was a 6 year old student on his second day of school. Sometime during that day, he wandered aweay from his classroom and ended up outside the school. He was outside, alone, for as yet an undisclosed amount of time. A teacher, from another class, saw him frantically pounding on the doors trying to get someone’s attention so he could be let back inside.

At home that night the mother of the 6 year old was becoming worried because her son kept telling her “I promise not to go outside anymore Mommy!” The mother was not aware of what happened at school that day. The next day when dropping him off at school, the mother asked his teacher why he would keep saying that to her. That’s when the teacher explained about him going out the door, but was quickly let back in. The principal was still unaware of the situation.

It took over a week for the parents to be “allowed” to watch the security camera video of the incident, and the chopped up video they were allowed to watch was longer than 8 minutes (according to the time-stamps). When the school gave them a copy of the video a few days later, more was cut out of it and the length was now under 3 minutes.

The parent has requested the school install some type of alarm system (similar to what Mayo School has) on the exterior doors that would alert school staff when an exterior door was opened. The school’s response was that is was too costly.

What Price is Too High of a Price To Pay?

This time the wandering child did not become a statistic, why not make sure it stays that way?

The parents and grandparents of this 6 year old child have lost confidence in the safety and supervision of their child while at school. It shouldn’t have to be this way – for these parents, at this school. Sure, things happen and everybody makes mistakes, but at least have the common courtesy to inform the parents of the complete truth, apologize to them, and do whatever has to be done to make sure an incident like this never happens again. What price do you put on the safety of those you are charged with safeguarding?

I have since submitted a Freedom Of Information Act request for a copy of the video, from all of the cameras for that day, in hopes of determining how long this child was outside, and what he did while he was outside. The FOIA request for the video was denied by the school. I have submitted a complaint to the Illinois Arttorney General to obtain a copy and have also requested the school preserve all video in question until a reponse is received.




Joe Paterno: “I wish I had done more”

 

Let’s talk about mandatory reporting……and a recently famous case of keeping it “in-house”.

Here are some key points that people may not be aware of:

 

  1. Report shall be made immediately to the Department (DCFS).
  2. Reporter may also notify the person in charge of the institution or school. 1-800-25-ABUSE
  3. Under NO circumstance shall any person in charge exercise any control, restraint, modification or other change to the report or the forwarding of the report.
  4. All reports of suspected abuse or neglect shall be made immediately by telephone to the toll free number. 1-800-25-ABUSE
  5. A written confirmation of the telephonic report must be sent to the DCFS field office within 48 hours.
  6. School Board members are mandatory reporters: “If an allegation is raised to a board member during the course of an open or closed board meeting” [325 ILCS 5/4].
  7. Simply reporting suspicions to a superior does not satisfy the legal reporting requirements(See numbers 1 and 4 above). 

A useful FAQ on reporting is here:

http://www.state.il.us/dcfs/faq/faq_faq_can.shtml

“Mandated reporters who make good faith reports have the same immunity from liability under the law as non-mandated reporters. However, a mandated reporter’s failure to report suspected instances of child abuse or neglect to DCFS constitutes a Class A misdemeanor; simply reporting suspicions to a superior does not satisfy legal requirements.

Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1460&ChapterID=32

 

This should be a deterrent to those that would simply prefer to keep things “in-house”:

 How could they cover up the rape of children?

http://markamerica.com/2011/11/10/how-could-they-cover-up-the-rape-of-children/

More information onPennState:

“…I wish I had done more” (Joe Paterno)

http://www.galesburg.com/features/x363493262/Paterno-to-retire-at-end-of-season

 At least there is one person at Penn State with some common sense:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/penn-st-student-stands-up-to-angry-classmates-its-not-about-joe-paterno/