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.

.
Please consider a donation to the Edgar County Watchdogs.
[wp_eStore_donate id=1]
.

 




Shiloh School Board Meeting, Budget Hearing – Sales Tax Referendum –

HUME, IL. (ECWd) –

On June 20, 2016, Shiloh CUSD#1 Board of Trustees held a Budget Hearing and Regular School Board Meeting.

During the budget hearing, it was stated:

  • The cafeteria ended in the black this year – previous years it had always lost money
  • Education fund took in more than expected and spent less than expected last year
  • Some personal property tax will have to be paid back and the state aid is still questionable

The regular board meeting was held immediately after the budget hearing:

  • Air conditioning units were installed – all of the outside units and around half of the inside units
  • Dr. Hall said that D-95 in Paris would vote this month on whether to put the 1% sales tax on the November ballot – if 3 of the 5 school districts in Edgar County approve it, it will be placed on the ballot
  • There is a shortage of Jr. High math teachers – Shiloh can’t find one and other district have the same problem

The Board approved destruction of closed session audio recordings prior to December 2014 and approved paying all bills due.
.
Please consider a donation to the Edgar County Watchdogs.
[wp_eStore_donate id=1]
.
Shiloh-CUSD1




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.:




Shiloh School District holding public auction June 13 –

Newman, IL. (ECWd) –

The Shiloh School District is holding a public auction  in conjunction with Joines Auction Service on Saturday, June 13, 2015, @ 9:00 a.m., at the Newman Grade School in Newman, IL.

Some items for auction include:

wood and metal office desks, filing cabinets, student desks, chairs, lockers, cabinets, shelving, weight-lifting equipment, ladders, constructions supplies, and much more.

See flyer below (sorry it’s sideways, that’s how they sent it):

Download (PDF, 909KB)

ShilohAuctionLogo (WinCE)




When will we learn?

 (ECWd)

Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno and now Dennis Hastert.  All examples that our society is failing at a pace never imaginable. For Hastert, he went from coach to the number 2 in line for the Presidency of our nation.

Scandal after scandal across the nation, and we read the stories now filling the airways on Hastert, but this too will pass and most will forget.   My question is why are we seeing more and more of this happen and when are we as a society going to take steps to prevent it in the future.

If you haven’t read the indictment on Dennis Hastert, rest assured the first sentence tells us what we need to know.

“From approximately 1965 to 1981, defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT was a high school teacher and coach in Yorkville, Illinois.” (Click here for entire indictment)

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see this scandal dates clear back to his coaching days, otherwise why mention his employment dating back 50 years.

We will see story after story on this for the next several weeks and then it will taper off until the next big scandal.  My primary question is simple.  What steps are we as a society going to take to protect our children in the future from these types?  Let’s not overlook another key problem with this type of behavior.  It grows from a lawless society.  It is all connected and don’t think for a second they are not.

When a State’s Attorney or Attorney General plays politics with local corruption it spawns a new age.  An age where people believe that power determines justice, not laws. Most believe that is what we have today. Personally, I think Edgar County could be the poster child for this type of behavior.

Don’t be fooled by the press coverage of this Hastert story and think it’s just another Washington power broker who got caught.  If you do that, you lost focus of the real concern.  All indications are his misconduct happen long before he was ever into politics.  That means he was just another teacher/coach.  Not much different than those same perverts who have abused our children in our local schools.

Not much different than local school board members at Shiloh School District who wanted to extend a contract of their exposed and convicted pervert Superintendent.  What kind of people vote to keep a person with a history of sexual abuse on a child? (Click here for that article)

Those who find excuses and vote for those known perverts are part of the problem, but more importantly, those citizens that allow their disgusting behavior to continue by not not holding them accountable is the bigger problem.

This quote from a parent who’s son had Hastert as a coach says it all.

“You won’t get anyone to say anything bad about him out here,” said David Corwin. “Everybody loved him. The kids loved him and they still do.” (The Blaze Article with quote at the end)

To say you won’t get anyone to say anything bad about him out there and that the kids still love him, even after he acknowledged the misconduct should concern us all. Those types of statements are the indicators of a serious problem.  They are a clear failure to understand wrong in spite of the facts.

There has to come a time when we as a society have had enough and realize if we don’t start a corrective action plan soon we are done as a moral, upright society.

Even in our township of Kansas with a whopping population of 1003, we have had a history of abusive educators with our children and no one has ever been held accountable to my knowledge.  Sadly, people defended their behavior and covered it up until years later when they talk about it at the coffee shops.

What will it take for you to realize something has to be done right in your own town to stop this systemic sickness in our country? 

I pray to God that our society hears the call to action and takes steps to protect this sacred country that so many of our families fought and died for.  If you are not involved in the solution then you are part of the problem.

God Help Us!




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.

 




Undisclosed Reporter Conflicts: Shiloh School District –

EDGAR CO. (ECWd) –

When writing about a particular subject, a journalist should disclose conflicts. This means that when one writes about something, and about a public body in particular, they should disclose any relationships existing that might be perceived as having an influence on the subject they are writing on.

Since it appears that Tay Smith, from the Prairie Press took offense to a FORBES article, I though it prudent that we disclose certain conflicts that Prairie Press and Newman Independent reporters may have which might have an affect on their reporting of the actions of the Shiloh School District Board.

For starters, Tay Smith reported on things that were reported to Gary Henry, as verified by Dana Hales when I talked to him about it. The conflict that should have been reported was that Gary Henry’s wife, Renee Henry, is a member of the  Shiloh School District Board (see screenshot below). She is also the Librarian for the Newman Regional Library District (according to her Facebook page). Don’t you think the readers of the Prairie Press would be interested in how reporting on this public body may be tainted due to this relationship?

Second, Mr. Dana Hales, Shiloh School Board President is in business with his wife as publishers of the Newman Independent newspaper (see screenshot below). Another issue leaving people wondering if truth is actually being reported, or if the reporting is tainted by the close relationship between school board members and local newspapers. Not to mention the fact that the board advertises and tenders payments to that same newspaper (proof) creating a potential conflict between Mr. Hales and payment of the bill.

 

ShilohSchoolBoardAsOf-11-15-2014

Screenshot from Shiloh School website

.

Screenshot from:  http://tni-news.com/

Screenshot from: http://tni-news.com/




Wheatley’s Sexual Abuse Conviction and the Shiloh School Board –

EDGAR CO. (ECWd) –

“To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards out of men.” — Ella Wheeler Wilcox

When we first reported on Dr. John Wheatley (here) and the fact that he had been arrested, charged, and convicted of criminal sexual abuse and battery of a 16 year old girl, shock-waves were felt throughout the Shiloh School District.

Some were from disbelief of being deceived by Wheatley, and some were from the realization that their elected school board did nothing to protect their children from a sexual abuser.

We talked to several school board members at the time, and one of them stated that he “could only recall the issue was shared during the interview process but was told no charges were filed. We did, however, verify that they were fully aware of the following:

1. That Wheatley had disclosed his arrest to them, but he said that he was innocent, said no charges were filed, and that he denied being convicted of the crime and claimed it was a misunderstanding.

2.  That they hired him because he was the least expensive of the options they had.

If the above two statements were true, then they were justified in hiring him and retaining him.

However, what we discovered, informed the board of, and published was that

he had lied to the board during the hiring process. We found the following:

1.  Wheatley had been found guilty of Criminal sexual abuse and battery of a 16 year old girl, who was a student at the school where Wheatley was employed as a school counselor – Thornton High School (1989).

2. That the Illinois State Board of Education has featured him on their web-site (here), in an articled entitled: “Complete Criminal Histories of Teachers can be Hard to Find” and I will quote it for you: “For example, Thornton school counselor John E. Wheatley was convicted of sexual battery in 1989, according to Cook County records. This misdemeanor conviction didn’t prevent him from subsequently being hired by four other Illinois school districts. Wheatley resigned from Chicago Public Schools three months ago after eight years of service there. But he still is licensed to teach in Illinois. Media accounts at the time of his conviction said he took a 16-year-old Thornwood High School girl, for whom he was a counselor, to a hotel room. But because Wheatley’s files are sealed there is no way for the public to independently verify these accounts without obtaining a court order. Wheatley did not return a reporter’s calls for comment.”

3.  Wheatley was featured on the web-site Hidden Violations that showed the documents, where in 2007, he attempted to get his convictions of Criminal sexual abuse and battery expunged (here). That expungement attempt was denied by the court. Why? Simple, because you cannot get something expunged from your criminal records when you were found guilty of the crime!

 Dana Hales’ comments to the Prairie Press

Mr. Hales comments to the Prairie Press, according to Tay Smith, would lead the uninformed reader to think that Wheatley simply resigned and retired. That his outing as a convicted pervert had absolutely nothing to do with it. That the board simply wanted to move in a different direction. Hales verified to me that he did say that to Gary Henry, a reporter for the Prairie Press.

Those comments lead me to ask this question of the Shiloh School Board:

Are you really telling the parents, whose children you are tasked with keeping safe and educating, that the board, knowing they hired a person that lied to them about being a convicted criminal sexual abuser who took a 16 year old student to a hotel room, that they would have renewed his contract as superintendent and principal had there been no other issues between him and the District? Is that really what you are saying? That you would knowingly put children at risk?

When we first published what we found on him, it never crossed our minds that a school board would knowingly provide a convicted pervert with unsupervised access to the children of the Shiloh School District. We still do not believe that to be true, but with the quotes in the Prairie Press, we are starting to think otherwise.

We stand by what was written in the FORBES article (click here).

ShilohSchoolDistrict




Shiloh CUSD #1 – News Release: Early Dismissals –

News Release:

Due to the prediction of returning high temperatures, Shiloh School will dismiss at 2:05 on Thursday, August 28, and Friday, August 29.
 
School will dismiss at the regular time of 3:05 today, Wednesday, August 27.
 
 
 
Barb
 
Barbara L. Board
Unit Secretary
Notary Public
District Treasurer
Freedom of Information Officer
School Board Recording Secretary
 
Shiloh CUSD #1
21751 N 575th Street
Hume, IL  61932
 
Phone:  217-887-2364 Ext. 6
Fax:  217.887.2448

 




Dr. John Wheatley, a criminal, interviewed by Beacon News on School Funding –

EDGAR CO. (ECWd) –

Of all people to interview on issues related to children, Dr. John Wheatley was on the front page of the Paris Beacon News this morning. It looks like he is attempting to get into the public eye again, and why wouldn’t he since his contract at Shiloh School District was not renewed.

He recently gave an interview to the Paris Beacon News in reference to school district funding – they must not have been aware of his past criminal matters.

Some of our long term readers may remember his name, but just in case you don’t, here is the article we wrote several in July of 2012 detailing the FACT that he has a criminal history. Not just any criminal history, but one in which he was charged with Criminal Sexual Abuse, and Battery —> on a STUDENT in the High School where he was employed.

He is featured on “Hidden Violations“, the Mount Vernon Register, the Illinois State Board Of Education, Disclosure News Magazine, and in our article. All explaining the critical flaw, and using his case as a premier example of that flaw,  in the reporting and tracking of school teacher misconduct in Illinois.

He did attempt to get the records expunged (HERE), but that FAILED because you can only get items expunged where you were found not guilty (EXPUNGMENT RULES HERE). Clearly that was not the disposition of his case since it was denied.

Read our original article on him HERE.

 

 

Wheatley2




Shiloh School Superintendent Missing Work?

EDGAR CO. (ECWd) –

New Contract Denied

You probably remember this guy from previous posts, and in an interesting turn of events Mr. Wheatley presented the school board with a new 5 year employment contract he wanted them to approve. It consisted of a pay increase every year of the 5 year contract. As it turns out, this would have locked him into a retirement plan that the board didn’t want any part of…some even refering to it as a  “Chicago-style retirement” plan.

When it came time to vote, it was unanimous with all 7 board members voting NO.

Tips Coming In

Since then, we have received numerous tips stating that Dr. Wheatley had taken his Christmas vacation early. He apparently left the morning of December 18, without requesting leave time, without notifying the board, and without putting someone else in charge for the 3 days left of school prior to their scheduled Christmas vacation.

What makes it worse is that not only is he the superintendent, he is also the high school principal. What kind of example is that setting for the students and faculty/staff of the school.

See The Writing On The Wall?

My prediction is that Shiloh School District will most likely be looking to employ a new superintendent after Wheatley’s contract expires at the end of this school year. I just hope they put a little more effort in researching the background of the next superintendent.

This guy shouldn’t be allowed to serve in positions that involve schools – but since he is “grandfathered” into previous law it is legal. I’m just wondering who the next “sucker” for a school district will be that will put this guy to work.

ShilohWheatleyVote




Shiloh School Superintendent Contract Tie Vote

EDGAR CO. –

In times where funds are short and schools are at risk of closing due to limited budgets, the Shiloh School District Board of Education held a vote on whether to give the superintendent an increase in pay for the 2012-2013 school year.

During the August Board of Education meeting, a motion was made on an ammended contract, and a vote taken resulting in a tie.

Below is the tally of votes on the motion of an ammended contract with a pay raise:

YESTroy Eads, Tony Kile, Jason Dye

NO:  Dana Hales, Samantha Hutchinson, David Smith

It’s in your hands, please contact your school board members and voice your opinions on the subject.

There was a feature article in this months Disclosure Heartland news magazine and can be purchased at the following locations:
Kansas, IL – gas station
Vermillion , IL – Y-not shop
Paris, IL – R&J’s Liquor and Grocery – and Homer’s liquor store.

We also wrote an article on July 7, 2012:  Parents, Do you have a right to know?

 




Parents, Do You Have A Right to KNOW?

EDGAR CO. –

After several tips regarding some past legal matters for the current Shiloh School District Superintendent, Dr. Wheatley, we took the time to make some calls, send a bunch of emails, and did the most basic background search. What did we find?

My first phone call confirmed that the School Board was aware of Dr. Wheatley’s past criminal matter however it was not  a factor and besides, he was the “cheapest” of all the Superintendents they interviewed.

Let’s start with what is published on the Illinois State Board of Education web site about Dr. Wheatley.  State Board of Education

Once at the site look for the article that the State Board of Education posted from the Associated Press.  It’s titled: Ill. ranks near bottom in screening problem teachers

Now you may recall, we did the most basic of background work and just the title of this article was disturbing enough, but after reading it I was appalled at what is happening in this state.

Next they have an article written by Scott Reeder – Small Newspaper Group 12/2007

Titled:  Complete criminal histories of teachers can be hard to find

In that article you will find this information, which apparently is important enough that the State Board of Education has it published on their website.

“For example, Thornton school counselor John E. Wheatley was convicted of sexual battery in 1989, according to Cook County records. This misdemeanor conviction didn’t prevent him from subsequently being hired by four other Illinois school districts.

Wheatley resigned from Chicago Public Schools three months ago after eight years of service there. But he still is licensed to teach in Illinois.”

Upon reading this I contacted Bobbie Mattingly, Regional Superintendent for comment.  NO RESPONSE

I then emailed every school board member for comment. NO RESPONSE!

Finally I e-mailed Dr. Wheatley for comment.  NO RESPONSE!

I contacted the Illinois State Board of Education and got this reply:

“…Our agency reviewed Mr. Wheatley’s case in 2009. Cook County prosecutors declined to pursue felony charges against Mr. Wheatley and instead reduced the charges to misdemeanor battery for which the courts sentenced him to supervision…”.

I found that response interesting as it clearly left out some elements they have published on their website.  Misdemeanor battery?  I wonder why on their own web site that is clearly using news articles on the matter as an example for everyone to read it reports Sexual Battery?

 The Mount Vernon Register broke a story on this matter in December of 2008.  Mount Vernon Register

“According to Cook County records, Wheatley was charged in 1989 with criminal sexual abuse and battery involving a then 16-year-old girl who attended Thornwood High School, where Wheatley was a counselor. Court records indicate the criminal sexual abuse charge was dismissed and Wheatley was found guilty of misdemeanor battery. The judge sentenced Wheatley to court supervision for voluntarily undergoing counseling and to make no contact with the girl. Under state law, once court supervision is completed, the incident is expunged and no record of a conviction is recorded.”

That last part is interesting when you put things in context.  NO RECORD OF A CONVICTION IS RECORDED.

From the above article: “I’m innocent, do not have a conviction, but I was accused,” Wheatley said.

“do not have a conviction”  – However, he was convicted according to the ISBE and was sentenced to court supervision for voluntarily undergoing counseling and to make no contact with the girl according to news reports from just 4 years ago.

Couple of questions:  If a person is innocent why would they voluntarily undergo counseling?  His quote in the paper said “I’m innocent”.   How does being innocent square up with being found guilty and voluntarily undergoing counseling?

No contact with the girl?  I don’t have a daughter, but I think I can assume pretty much anyone who does wouldn’t want a person with this type of past having any contact with any girls under those circumstances!

Thanks to another very interesting site called Hidden Violations (http://www.hiddenviolations.com/), this interesting pdf pops up on Mr. Wheatley.

Wheatley – Attempt to Expunge

In November of 2007 it appears Dr. Wheatley tried to have his charges expunged from the record.  That motion was filed and denied by the courts so apparently there is still a record!

Rules for Expungement/Sealing of Records

Note page 4 on the rules.  It’s pretty clear when you read the checklist you end up with a YES answer to determine what can or can’t be expunged.

“If YES, then you have a conviction and none of your records can be expunged.”

So what is the story?  In fairness, we gave Dr. Wheatley a chance to comment and got no response.  Not surprising as what could he say, “I’m Innocent”?

I would like to know from the entire school board what they were told about this past.  When I presented this information by phone to one school board member they couldn’t recall whether the fact he was convicted on a lesser charge was disclosed.  He could only recall the issue was shared during the interview process but was told no charges were filed.  “If” that is what was disclosed how does it square up with a conviction of a misdemeanor, which appears to have been an agreement reached instead of the harsher life altering felony charge.  Was the WHOLE truth shared?  We may never know, as this is Edgar County.

I was disappointed with the State Board of Education for the fact they can’t do a better job policing this type of thing and take care of it once a conviction is passed down.  They claimed since he went through counseling no record of his conviction exists.  My questions to them are simple.  It existed when he was found guilty so why wasn’t something done then before he ever started counseling?   A record must have existed in 2009 when the State Board of Education reviewed the whole legal file as they informed me in an email dated 7/05/2012 of his conviction of a lesser charge!

No response from Bobbie Mattingly was a surprise, as I would have thought this would be something of concern but I guess I was wrong.  And I could very well be wrong in raising this as it was over 20 years ago but I have a child and I know many others do and I believe We The People have a right to know everything about our public officials, good and bad, especially when they play a key role in our children’s safety and education.

The School Board is filled with elected officials who are responsible for the hiring of their superintended.  If the people have no problem with it then they can re-elect them. If they do have a problem with it, then the system of our government has a means of taking steps to fix it.  VOTE!

Vote based on principles in your heart.  If you support this kind of past behavior from your school leaders then by all means vote them back in office.  If you don’t then stand up and be heard with your vote!

I have been working this story for about 3 weeks gathering as much information as possible and giving all parties a chance to comment long before this story ran and they all sat silent.  For me, their silence speaks volumes!

My opinion is just that, an opinion, but please know I can’t sit silent when an agency appoints or hires people for positions that I believe they should not be serving in based on ethical and moral values I strive to live by.

An example is the recent Paris Police Commission appointment of a person convicted of stealing.  Nothing in the law says you can’t do that, but common sense tells us it’s not a smart move to do.  I believe hiring a person in the realm of educating our children needs the utmost scrutiny to include minimizing even the slightest potential risk to our children.  Dr. Wheatley’s conviction may not be grounds for action from the State Board of Education, but was it really the only choice we had for leading our children into the future?  It’s your community, you decide as we are a “Republic” form of government and that puts the people in charge!

May God Bless this country and bring wisdom to our public officials in their decision-making process.

“To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards out of men.” — Ella Wheeler Wilcox