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July 18, 2024

Lincoln-Way School District 210 – "I'm Pissed, We're All Pissed" –

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On December 31, 2015

Will Co. (ECWd) –
As has been reported for the last couple weeks, Lincoln-Way School District 210 has some serious issues that in many cases has pointed to incompetence and malfeasance.
Elizitbeth (liz) Sands, began the press conference yesterday with an impassioned speech as to why she got involved in her local school district.  There is a lot to be said when citizens step up to the plate and empower themselves to hold local government accountable and responsible.
Words can’t describe the value of what this group of citizens have done in their local school district.  I urge everyone to take the time and watch this press release and see what it means to stand up to their local government.

Taxpayers UNITE

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  • Michael Douglass
    Posted at 21:22h, 31 December Reply

    I’m not from the area and have no stakes in this issue, but my town had a similar situation with our elementary school district. Can anyone advise why the school board chose to close the newest building versus an older one? Has any explanations been given? You would think a newer building would be more cost efficient and updated with newer technology. Good Luck to the parents on their fight, I hope they have better luck than our town did. Our school district chose to keep open a 100 year old school and shutter a larger, more centrally located 28 year old building. Made no sense to me and the community was upset, but nobody united together to file a lawsuit.

    • North rules
      Posted at 22:35h, 03 January Reply

      We have been trying to figure that out for six months now. if there is one thing I’ve learned in my life is that…when things don’t make sense politics are involved. The two schools (one the oldest) that are only at 50% capacity are located in New Lenox. The New Lenox mayor has been very vocal in this whole fiasco. It would have been much less disruptive and made more sense to combine the two schools in New Lenox. There are many questionable things going on here. Sadly, because both North and East have higher enrollments they will be overcrowded after combined and they will have to send the overflow to the oldest school in the district. So this plan uproots the most possible kids (3300)of all scenarios. It’s maddening and these people will not go down without fighting Tooth and nail.

  • Bobster
    Posted at 11:32h, 01 January Reply

    One wonders where these “protesters” were when the disastrous decision to overbuild by adding two schools was being approved. Were they fighting against the referendum? I think not. The problem is that they probably supported this risky disaster, and were part of the reason the district is in the crisis it is now. Where were they when the district was agreeing to unconscionably high salary schedules that drive this economic crisis? Lincoln Way now pays an average teacher salary of over $82,000 for 176 days work. That’s higher than neighboring “rich” Sandburg-Andrew-Stagg district 230, and about $20K above state average. I suspect these “protesters” didn’t make a peep when the district was giving away the store in negotiations. Now they want something the district can’t afford. Are THEY going to pay for it, or d they want this luxury for their kids open using OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY?

    • D. Marie
      Posted at 16:53h, 01 January Reply

      Spend a day in the classroom Bobster then talk to me about “overpaid teachers”. It’s easy to talk from a position of ignorance.

      • Bobster
        Posted at 20:37h, 01 January Reply

        You mean “speaking in ignorance” as you just did without any knowledge or facts, D Marie? I’m a former high school and college teacher. When my kids were pre-school, I left a very lucrative engineering management job because I wanted to spend more time with my kids, help out my wife…and because I love teaching and believe we need to get a LOT better at it to give our kids a shot at being competitive in the global economy. I started out teaching math and science at the college level for a year, and was rated at the 70th quality percentile when I left to teach conceptual and honors physics at one of the top catholic prep high schools in the Western suburbs. Prior to that, I taught as a substitute when I could when my college teaching schedule allowed. I taught at more than 12 southwest suburban high schools, including the two Lincoln way high schools that were operating at the time. I also taught at Sandburg, Stagg, Andrew, Lockport East and Central, Tinley Park, Hillcrest, Bremen, Richards, Shepard, Eisenhower, Oak Lawn, Brother Rice, and Chicago Christian. I’d bet that I’ve got a far better “classroom” basis for evaluating teacher value than you.
        Over all, I’ve spent over 450 school days teaching in high schools, showing the mistakes people like you make when they put personal attacks ahead of reasoned argument and knowledge. Let me guess. You’re one of those overpaid teachers in public schools, right? Since there’s no way you can justify those rates for so little performance requirements and client outcome as is the case for engineers, accountants, and nurses, it’s no surprise that you “bully” instead of intelligently debate.
        if you think an average salary of $82,000 for 176 days work, you obviously are so stuck in your entitlement mentality that you have no clue what is expected from professionals for that compensation in the “real world” outside of the Fantasyland that is the public education system in Illinois.

    • Kirk Allen
      Posted at 20:49h, 01 January Reply

      I think there comes a point and time when people finally wake up to what is really happening. Maybe there should have been more questions before they were built but I think most would agree, the last 7 years the citizens have learned to question their local officials instead of blindly trusting them.
      I would not call them protesters but instead citizens who have been refused answers to questions. Fighting back against that type of thing is what is needed in my opinion.

    • iamwearingawatch
      Posted at 13:01h, 02 January Reply

      Bobster, my family and our friends fought hard against the referendum to build two new schools. It was clear to us that one new school would be sufficient. If I remember correctly, it was the school board that was pushing hard to build two new schools. It seems the community trusted the school board back then, which has since changed drastically. We are all very hurt by their misleading us.

      • Bobster
        Posted at 12:16h, 03 January Reply

        iam, you’re to be congratulated for taking a common sense approach that sadly was lost on Lincoln way voters. Over the years I’ve seen some of the most incompetent, irresponsible requests for facilities from public schools in the Southwest suburbs that I’ve ever seen. A few years ago Oak Lawn Community High school district 229 proposed tearing down a perfectly functional school that was about at half capacity and build a massive new school. The benefits were miniscule for the massive cost. The voters were smart enough to reject that harebrained idea. Two years ago North Palos 117 had just as idiotic idea to tear down their middle school that was about at capacity, and enrollment was dropping….quickly. Once again, the voters were smarter than the incompetent facility “professionals” who supported this idea, and rejected it at the ballot box. I helped expose the sham the supporters of that boondoggle through blogs and LTEs, and if my involvement helped turn the tide of a few hundred votes, I’m thankful.
        To my regret, I stayed out of the Lincoln Way overbuilding, largely because I’d taught there and studied their systems as a positive for improvement at the district 230 schools. From substituting there in the late 1990’s I found the LW schools to be well run and cost efficient at that time. Unfortunately, that all apparently changed in the 2000s from evidence from their capital program and contract negotiations.
        It all comes down to electing the right board members, and sadly only about 15-20% of eligible even bother to vote, and only a fraction of those know anything about how the schools are operated and the issues facing the students and taxpayers.
        As someone who’s run for school boards a few times, I found out that the primary determinants for getting votes were;1) ethnicity and gender of candidate, 2) support of “booster” clubs, which generally support spending and raising taxes as much as possible regardless of cost benefit. They’re typically more than willing to raise taxes by $100 million if they’re organization gets a few million extra. The “big spenders” typically vet their candidates through the PTAs and booster clubs, where they’re taught to raise funds and not hold the board and administration responsible fro how it’s spent. They also don’t go over school budgets too find ways to spend to better serve the students and community.
        If you figure out how to break this cycle of dysfunction, I’d love to hear about it. You can reach me a [email protected]

    • What?
      Posted at 22:14h, 03 January Reply

      There actually was a very organized group called “Citizens for equal schools”, that launched a very vigorous campaign against the two school referendum. It’s well documented. You see according to Dist 210’s own enrollment numbers there was never a need for two schools. Even with false projected numbers that showed Manhattan with 1200 more students than would ever materialize. Manhattan had a proposed subdivision (Lakewood Prairie)that would have been the size of O’Hare. The subdivision was not approved by Manhattan in 05′ but the projections were kept in to convince people to pass the referendum in 06′.. The people fighting the referendum put out signs, flyers and went door to door. But they couldn’t compete with another group called “Citizens United”,which was largely funded by builders and raised $40,000.00 to promote the referendum. Many people questioned Dr. Wylie and met with him personally. It’s really not fair for you to make assumptions when you have no idea what actually occurred. This has been a rubber stamp board and citizens have had very little voice for decades.

      • Bobster
        Posted at 08:22h, 04 January Reply

        I know there was a vigorous opposition to the ill conceived capital plan for two schools. Those who did so deserve praise for their hard work, and the bullying and hate they likely drew from those supporting the poorly planned expansion. My criticism was regarding the current “protesters” and whether they supported or opposed the plan that resulted in this debacle.
        BTW, has anyone from Lincoln Way reached out to Lockport 205 for a solution to this problem? Lockport has an old school (central) that isn’t in the best shape in the world, and there are WAY too many students at East. Creating a joint charter school at East with 205 using North would seem to be advantageous to the students of both districts. Has this been discussed? It would seem to be a win-win-win situation, except for the teachers union…

  • Zo
    Posted at 18:06h, 03 January Reply

    Bobster: I agree people need to pay more attention at all levels of government. You raise a good point, and I believe people in this district have learned a costly and valuable lesson. Many people voted against the new schools. For example, I thought we needed one new school, not two. Yet, the board did not present that option on the ballot. So, indeed, people need to pay more attention–and they are now. That does not excuse the school board and administration for the financial mismanagement and illegal activity.
    The tone of your posts does not invite intellectual discussion, though. You’re writing as if you know the answers and are so much wiser than everyone else. You put people on the defensive right away. Further (and with all due respect), I would not expect so many grammatical errors, considering you were a teacher. Your posts contain passive voice, misuse of commas (no need for a comma preceding a clause that is not a complete sentence), misspellings, misuse of the word “over” (it’s “more than”), lack of commas following clauses, starting a sentence with a lowercase letter, misuse of the word “they’re” (it’s “their”), misuse of the word “too” (it’s “to”). I would expect more from an educator trying to prepare people for the “real world.”

    • Bobster
      Posted at 21:34h, 03 January Reply

      Zo, I’ve been involved with school operations and politics, mostly from a “watchdog” perspective, since my first daughter started public school in 1995. I’m experienced in developing, and studying, school budgets and tracking student performance from a quality improvement perspective. When Is started this back in 1995, I came from a perspective that school board members were basically good people who wanted to provide the best quality education for the kids at a fair and affordable cost. Time after time, they’ve proven to me that that was not the case. There were always reasons other than the kids’ and taxpayers’ best interests driving the decisions. Money getting into politically connected pockets was the usual reason.
      Early on, I did numerous benchmarking studies for operational spending purposes against other, better run districts, and volunteered to help the board find better ways to provide higher quality service to the students at lower cost, as I was a Total Quality Management leader for engineering services and had some bonafides in this area. I then found out that the Boards and administrations actually knew about the waste, inefficiencies, and poor management in their districts. In fact, they supported it because their “friends” profited from it. Improving the quality of education? Most schools found it much easier to simply keep telling parents how “great” their kids were doing, even if test scores showed something different. Parents rarely looked at the test scores for the district.
      When my district did a professional “benchmarking” vanity study that drew a conclusion that the district was “fantastic!” even though the cohort studies showed that our students went from 3rd of 14 to 13th of 14 of their peer group as the students went from 3rd to 8th grade (the longer the students were in the system, the WORSE they did compared to their peers) I brought this to the attention of the Board, and they weren’t happy, nor was the “Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum” paid about $180,000 per year in 2015 dollars to improve student outcomes.
      Zo, I’ve looked under just about every public school rock over the last 20 years, and, with few exceptions I’ve found some venomous belly crawler underneath.
      I learned from making many mistakes and being subject to bullying and hate for standing up for the kids and taxpayers by schools that really HATE informed criticism and real community support for anything besides raising taxes and spending more money.
      After doing this for two decades, you say certain things with the confidence of long experience. I’m sorry if you find that off-putting.

    • Bobster
      Posted at 21:51h, 03 January Reply

      Zo, let me guess; you’re a public school English Teacher, correct? As such, I’m surprised you don’t know that there are different levels of editing, rewriting, spelling and grammar checks fro different media. When I write op-eds or LTEs, I check, double check, edit down for word efficiency, and check and double check against for proper grammar, tense, case, pronoun use and punctuation. that was extremely time consuming, as it should be. I, and most others, don’t have time for these editorial standards on blogs.
      There is a concept held by many in the education bureaucracy that knowing the subject being taught is not as important as having “general teaching knowledge”. It seems like you’re in that group. When I graded physics essay questions on my tests, I never took off points for misspellings or grammar as long as the writing was understandable. I was evaluating their physics knowledge and skills, not their perfect grammar. That was the English teacher’s job.
      in your response, you added very little factual content to the conversation. You spent as much time critiquing grammar as discussing the issue at hand.
      Just friendly advice here. After many years of blogging, I’ve found that those without meritorious argument either attack the messenger when they can’t dispute the message, or change the subject to grammar from the real issues. Don’t get caught in that trap. I think your intent is pure, but you’re walking a slippery slope.

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