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May 20, 2024

Lincoln-Way D210 – Taxpayers paying Coach’s Electricity and Gas Bills –

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On March 2, 2016

Will Co. (ECWd) –

During our early coverage of the home owned by D210 and being rented to Dave Ernst, the head football coach, people posted comments to the article and claimed it was nothing more than a “shack” donated to the school.

This “shack” was being rented with no board approval and no rental agreement for what appears to be $500 a month, assuming the coach has only been staying there since September of 2015.  (Rent article click here)

This “shack” was assessed during the 2015 quadrennial assessment and given a fair market value of $142,490.00.  (2015 Assessment click here)

This “shack” housing the head football coach also includes the taxpayers funding the lawn care  expense.  (Lawn care article click here)

We shared in yesterday’s article the photos that clearly depict this property is not a “shack”. (Shack article click here)

As if all those facts are not disturbing enough, the taxpayers of D210 are also paying for the electric and gas on the property!  We suspect water as well but have not received those records yet to confirm.  See the utility bills below.

How many people would be standing in line to rent this “shack” for $500.00 and all utilities and lawn care are paid for by the taxpayers?

Most would agree, without an actual rental agreement that contains these perks, these are nothing short of unreported compensation to a faculty member.

We will continue to expose numerous disturbing events that have taken place at Lincoln-Way D210 all while the Board of Education appear to have been asleep at the wheel.

Taxpayers, elections have consequence and you are seeing what happens when you blindly trust your elected officials.

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  • Dan B.
    Posted at 10:39h, 02 March

    Reviewing these bills makes me even more angry. The simplest of tasks, paying the electric and gas bills on time to avoid late fees cannot be accomplished by the Mr. Sawin. How many other invoices are delinquent and incurring fees? Mr. Sawin, today is a perfect day to resign.

  • David
    Posted at 10:51h, 02 March

    This is income that should be disclosed on Mr. Ernst’s federal and state tax forms. What are the next steps? Contact the State’s Attorney about this abuse of taxpayer dollars?

  • Mike
    Posted at 11:58h, 02 March

    How did it come to be that Mr. Ernst was the lucky teacher able to rent the house at below market rates?

    The other rank and file teachers are probably not too happy they were not able to have a chance at renting the property.

    In other words this seems to have been a secret deal in which only Mr. Ernst was considered.

  • Concerned
    Posted at 12:01h, 02 March

    Amazing. Free lawn. Free gas. Free electric. Nice home (better then most you can find a few miles away in Joliet!)

    Is the coach stealing LW cable and Internet too? What a joke.

    With the close proximity to West, are students hanging out here too? Coming over for some extra practice? This has bad idea written all over it. Just a few years ago a West teacher aide was arrested for sleeping with a student. Imagine how easy it is when your house is in the parking lot!

    This district is going down the tubes. Testing scores have dropped. Classes and clubs have been cut left and right. Not nearly as many elective choices as there was ten years ago. Crime in the schools has gone up! (Don’t forget about the multiple gun arrests this year, bomb threats, knifes and fights in the school). And how many teachers have been arrested for inappropriate relationships over the last five years. Such a shame, a horrible district to be in.

    Anyone who claims they still offer a quality education is either blind, numb, or just ignorant. Keep drinking the koolaid….

    • Biteme
      Posted at 17:39h, 02 March

      You are nuts , test scores are up and club and programs are expanding . Think before you speak

  • Mick
    Posted at 14:31h, 02 March

    Ron Sawin is completely incompetent. Any person in the private sector would have been fired long ago. The taxpayers should be furious, but it starts at the top–Tingley needs to go as well. The nepotism and inside deals need to stop, and this district needs to clean house. They are destroying the reputation of this district, and our children are suffering because of it.

  • Holla
    Posted at 16:35h, 02 March

    This administration and school board have been participating in a lot of financial shenanigans, but let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water. The teachers, coaches, principals and the students are really great. The morale at each of the schools is very high. We are still proud to be here and I wouldn’t want to be in any district in the south burbs other than this one no matter which school, despite the issues it is facing. My kids are receiving a quality education. My kids have scored better on standardized tests than their expensive private schooled relatives. LWN and LWE are nationally ranked. We are going to get through this. Are you are living in the district, because you would know this if you were here? You sound like a little troll who likes to kick people where they are down. What we are going through really sucks but if this isn’t just a little schadenfreude, start being part of the solution instead of sitting on the sidlines complaining about the problems.

    • Concerned
      Posted at 20:30h, 02 March

      I stated simple facts. Test scores are down. Class offerings are down. Clubs and sports have been cut. Violence is up (those gun issues and bomb treats made national news, with FBI attention). Inappropriate Staff/Student relationships are up. All this is fact and can easily be verified. Not all of it has made the news, but it’s there.

      The schools are falling apart. Even West and North have many standard maintanence issues that have not been taken care of. Preventative maintanence has been cut, it’s all reactive repairs (which are expensive, and outsourced because they cut their maintanence staff). My kids come home telling me their rooms are freezing because the heats been broke for weeks. Emails to administrators about this are ignored.

      This new “Skyward” they spent thousands on (look up the contract on the website) is a joke. Either that or no one knows how to use it. My kids grades are always messed up. Attendance is wrong. And I can see other students grade reports. Real secure LW.

      Staff morale is an all time low. Young teachers are jumping ship. Old teachers are counting down the days til their pensions. The only reason Sawin is still there is because his buddies on the board know he only has a few years left. Support staff turnover is a rocket high. The low wages and high stress are not worth it. Plus there is no job security anymore, with all the waste, their jobs are the first to get cut.

      I do live in the district. My children go there. Look at other public schools in the area. Much nicer, more offerings, better test scores. If I could, I would move in a heartbeat.

      District 230 is financially sound, has many more offerings, and is giving their entire district laptops for the students to take home. That’s how good their doing! Have you talked to your kids about technology at LW? It’s a joke. Years behind other nearby districts. 230 faces the same state financial issues that LW does, and they’re budgets are actually balanced and have real surpluses.

      It all comes down to money. LW had tons of money, and mismanaged it all. If they invested all this waste into items for the studnets, we would be a great district. But we are not there, and if you think we are, you’re living in a bubble.

      Open your eyes! I am not sitting on the sidelines,I’m joining the fight! We are pointing out the issues, gaining media attention, and because of that LW is slowly fixing issues. Amazing how as soon as a news story breaks, LW magically starts to do the right thing. The dog program is now lying back money. The day care is “looking into” going out for bid. It’s a shame that they have to wait to be thrown under the bus before they actually fix their mistakes. If they were proactive, it never would of come to this.

      I will continue to fight. I will continue to show up at board meetings and keep the pressure on. This board and administration has no trust, and they don’t deserve it. Until they prove otherwise, they will be kept under the microscope.

      Sadly, I know first hand that this is not the end. There are many more stories of corruption and waste that will be coming out over the next few weeks. It will only get much worse. The only way to end this is for Tingley, Sawin, and any meme we of the board for longer then two years to resign. Maybe then we will get a fresh start and can put this all behind us.

      • Holla
        Posted at 14:45h, 03 March


        Not sure which school your kid is attending? Heat is working just fine at my kids school, she and her friends can’t think of anyone complaining of clubs or sports being eliminated and as far as I can see the scores have stayed the same or improved (not to mention how well the band/cheer/ other athletic programs are doing). I remember a teacher or two in district 230 being let go for similar innappropriate relationships several years ago. District 230 also has many other issues, not to bash them but the grass always seems greener elsewhere. There are problems and crappy people everywhere. It doesn’t make it right but unfortunately all you hear and choose to focus on is the bad stuff. Please provide information and specifics of the claims you are making (cut clubs, cut sports, cold school, low test scores? and the number of people this has actually impacted). I’ll believe it when I see it but I read a lot and I have not come across any of that information. Not defending the gross financial mismanagement of this district, I just refuse to allow myself or my family to be victimized by it.

  • Stop the Corruption
    Posted at 17:20h, 02 March

    If da coach has not been given a 1099 for these perks/benefits then the IRS should be notified. I bet it is unlikely he has based on all the other mismanagement. But that does not excuse him from having to report the value of these benefits and paying tax on them. More digging is needed and contact the IRS, federal and state!

  • Sick of LIES
    Posted at 20:39h, 02 March

    So we only know that the coach has been living there since sept 2015 because of the rent payment. But if you look at the electric bills, they are similar all the way back to July 2014. Doesnt that prove that SOMEONE was living there the whole time?

  • Wil
    Posted at 20:54h, 02 March

    Has anyone else noticed that the bills in question are from 2014 but the first rent payment found was from September 2015. The utility usage points to someone living at that house as early as January 2014. If it wasn’t the coach who was it and why no rental agreement or rent? The timing of the first recorded rent payment is ominously close to the time when the board voted to close a school. It would seem they attempted to cover their tracks and failed.