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.

 




Gov. Quinn and Mayor Smith Proclaim Brett Eldredge Day –

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

December 22, 2013 was declared Brett Eldredge Day in Illinois and in Paris, IL. thru proclamations signed by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Paris Mayor S. Craig Smith.

A celebration was held at the Paris Cooperative High School this afternoon to celebrate this event and to unveil the signs that will be posted at the entrances to the city. Brett Eldredge’ Hometown is Paris, Illinois.

A highlight video is below and the complete video will be uploaded in the next couple of day. Enjoy!

 

 

 




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/

 




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…

————————————–

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




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




Public Meeting Notices

 

The Public Meeting Notices that we have:

Paris Cooperative High School  @ PCHS Library

Paris City Council Meeting: @ City Hall Conference Room

 

Edgar County Board:  @ Courthouse Room 2

January 11 – February 8 – March 14 – April 11 – May 9 – June 13 – July 11 –

August 8 – September 12 – October 10 – November 7 – November 21 – December 12

Edgar County 911 (ETSB):  @ Courthouse Room 2

 

 

Edgar County Health Department: @Health Dept

Third Wednesday @ 7:00 A. M.

 

 Edgar County Highway Department: @ County Highway Department




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/

  




Oct ’11 – School Board Meetings

During the month of October I attended several District 95 School Board meetings. So far, the district still has not received the money for the new high school from the State of Illinois. They were told it will arrive sometime this fall. As promised, the district has not spent any money on the new high school yet.

In other business, reports were given by the principals on how their schools did on the mandated tests. Apparently, Mayo Middle School and Paris Co-operative High School did not make the required scores.

It was interesting to hear the math and English department heads tell the PCHS board that it would be beneficial if they (the department heads) could meet with the math and English teachers at Mayo and Crestwood. I would think that this would have been one of the very first things a curriculum coordinator would have done years ago. We have paid someone $36,000 a year for several years to be curriculum coordinator. Since both Mayo and Crestwood send their students to the high school it would seem natural that all three schools should work closely together to produce the best product and perhaps pass some tests!

 After seeing how poorly some governing bodies provide information, I would again like to commend Connie Sutton, Evelyn Julian, and Anna Collier for their prompt and thorough handling of any requests for information. It is also great that they post a video of the District 95 School Board meetings on their web site.  Good work.

 Chuck

===================

The District 95 BoE videos are posted here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/parisil95

Again, thanks to District 95 for recording and posting videos of  BoE meetings.

Hopefully the PCHS and Dist 4 Boards of Education will follow suit…

John