School board races: it’s all about reform

As we stated last week the Illinois public schools are in need of an overhaul. Reckless spending and continuing academic performance mediocrity is the rule. Billions of additional dollars flooding the system over the past several years have made no discernable impact. Of course that doesn’t stop the usual suspects from attempting to round up more of your tax dollars.
The special interests have used campaign contributions to purchase all of the Democrats and many Republicans in the Illinois General Assembly. State legislators are the people who are ultimately responsible for reforming the government-run schools.
Most of the rest of the Republicans who haven’t been bought are asleep. If they were awake, someone would make an inquiry about all the current spending and ask simple questions like, “how exactly is more money going to produce a better result when it hasn’t for more than twenty years?” Or another question might be “what exactly would happen to all those additional dollars except to provide for even bigger raises and even more bloated pensions?”
In district after district the campaigns that are playing out today are simply described as the reformers versus the pro status quo candidates. The reformers are typically the underdogs because they don’t get big PAC checks from unions, developers, realtors, and other uninformed or compromised special interests.
Those who oppose reform in the public schools are getting desperate in a school board race in at least one northwest suburban district – Arlington Heights based District 214. Instead of defending their record, supporters of the status quo recently sent out a mailing making silly and baseless charges of “book banning” against reform candidates Dennis Konczyk and Ken Frizane who are not even on the board yet.
The story is a simple one about the request by a current board member to put a few controversial books on a “recommended” reading list instead of having them on a “required” reading list. Instead of that modest proposal being seen for what it was – a way to empower parents to make decisions about the education of their children – all manner of wild accusations were made.
The campaign mailing called Konczyk and Frizane “radical” and men who have a religious agenda to force upon the schools.
What’s particularly ironic and actually humorous about this accusation is that District 214 is actively participating in left-wing social agendas like this week’s “Day of Silence,” a program that is nothing if not religious in nature. After all, only those who make a religion of their sex life are confused enough to think that promoting homosexuality should be done in the taxpayer funded public schools.
Some pretend the issue is about “bullying,” but the real purpose is to proselytize in favor of an unhealthy lifestyle. Those who hold to the religious-like doctrine that homosexuality is the equivalent of race or a third gender probably shouldn’t be criticizing people of other religious faiths.
The ultimate irony, of course, is that those who are managing School District 214 can hardly handle math – that is, the district, despite a huge tax base and revenue growth – has been running deficits. Maybe too much time has been spent by some board members embracing left-wing social agendas and not enough time punching numbers into a calculator?
Below are a few facts presented by the supporters of Konczyk and Frizane in D214. It’s the same story everywhere. You’re either for reform – or you’re not.
THE REAL STORY District 214 has had deficits of $58 million over the last three years, per Illinois School Report Cards.
THE REAL STORY The fund reserve that District 214 drew down was created by taxing the taxpayers to the maximum level. This extra money that went to fund their deficit spending spree over the past 3 years.
THE REAL STORY District 214 is heavily bloated with extra administrators. The department chairs in D211 teach 4 classes along with their administrative duties which are streamlined since District 211 is not “site-based”.
THE REAL STORY District 214 has a low graduation rate when compared to many other surrounding districts.
THE REAL STORY Health Care costs at District 214 are especially high. Even after changing to Blue Cross Blue Shield and hiring a $70,000 consultant to tell them that the insurance costs were out of whack, there is still room to save money. Employees and family members of employees of the district agree they have long received gold-plated health insurance benefits.
(This information was originally posted at www.citizensfordistrict214.com.)
©2007 John Francis Biver