Iroquois Co. (ECWd) -
Yes, I said deception and both the Superintendent Dr. Dvorak and the Board of Education are involved.
It is clear after a few Freedom of Information Act requests and attendance at one meeting, the public is being deceived in what appears to possibly be one of the most misrepresented school construction plans we have ever seen.
As early as November of 2018, Dr. Dvorak is dealing behind the scenes with a property owner and explicitly states, "The BOE is interested in the land we discussed Friday. However, we will not make this public at this time."
Why would the Superintendent and School board not make this public?
The landowner agreed to keep the conversation private. "I will keep private information, and the engineers have authorization, to assess the land any time."
Fortunately, in Illinois, email's are subject to our Freedom of Information Act and it was through that process the above conversation was discovered. You can see those emails at this link. Keeping things from the public is the furthest thing from transparency possible. Their efforts to conceal are noted!
During the recent public comment portion of the school board meeting, there was a question as to the location of where this new school would be built. That was an indicator to us the public was not very well informed on key details before being asked to vote for a $25 Million Dollar phase-one of a multi-phase project to top over $58 Million dollars. Over because the figures do not include the interest on the bonds they are going to sell to make this happen. Before getting too far off the primary point of this article, with Illinois on the edge of junk bond status, who is going to want to buy these bonds and what will it really cost in interest when that time comes? Local experts have this project estimated at over $112 Million dollars with a low 3% bond rate.
I followed up to the residents referenced question above with a clarification question pertaining to the location, cost, and approval of the property to be purchased for this new school.
The Board President verbally confirmed, as can be seen in the video, the board voted on a verbal agreement to purchase the land for the new school.
Really? Where was this vote taken? Where was it recorded?
Since the Board President said the board voted on this verbal agreement, we asked for the proof. For those not familiar with the Illinois Open Meetings Act, a public body is required to vote on matters in an open public meeting. What we recieved from the school proved there was no public vote regarding this $720,000.00 verbal agreement to purchase land.
Was this claimed vote done in secret or behind closed doors in a closed session of the Board? I ask because the public record does not support what the Board President told a gymnasium full of residents.
The board DID NOT vote on an agreement to purchase land, according to the minutes.
If such a vote ever took place, it must have been done in secret, possibly during a closed session of the Board during their February 19, 2019 board meeting. If that is the case, it is a violation of the Open Meetings Act.
According to the official record, the minutes of the February 19, 2019 Board of Education meeting, the board voted to "convey board interest" to Sergio Baruffi for land at 600 East and Rt. 24 for the school site, contingent on referendum approval; Norma Classen seconded it."
An email from Dvorak to the landowner the following day from that vote confirms an interest, not an agreement to buy. The fact that we now are finding out the actual cost of the land and claims of a verbal agreement to buy the land for $720K, tells us this board has been doing public business in secret. Deception noted!
Are we to understand this Board of Education is of the belief conveying their interest in property is a verbal agreement to spend $720,000.00 to buy land? May we suggest those who believe conveying interest equates to a verbal agreement seek out some continuing education of their own? Don't forget, these are the same people directing the education of your children!
A vote to convey their interest is in no way, shape or form, a verbal agreement to purchase land for $720,000.00.
The agenda they provided to support their claimed vote for a verbal agreement had one word on this subject, "Land". What about Land? Were they selling land, buying land, renting land, or simply talking about the need for land? Regardless of the agenda, the minutes of the meeting do not reflect any vote taken regarding an agreement to purchase land, contingent on a referendum or otherwise.
Stay tuned for more key exposures the public needs to be aware of prior to voting for a potential $112 Million dollar project masked as a $25 Million dollar new school.
- Retreat for Administrators to Lake of the Ozarks (Superintendent owns property there)
- Pizza, gas, CVS Pharmacy, Grocery story, Bar and Grill, marina purchases - "team building" -all in the Lake of the Ozarks (Superintendent owns property there)
- $14,250.00 of taxpayer funds for a survey to help garner support from the voters for the referendum
- Lies about our FOIA requests told by the Superintendent and those lies being published in the local paper.
- Condescending response from Board Member regarding Agenda posting
We urge every voter to vote smart, not emotionally.