Saturday, October 31, 2009

“ Broken ‘Promise”--McHenry County College’s scholarship for all program questioned

McHenry County College

Letter to Editor of Northwest Herald:

keep a 2.0 grade point average, and take at least 12 to 15 credit hours. Just days before the kids are supposed to register for spring, we find out we have to pay upfront and have a 2.5 grade point average.

Next year, they will need a 3.0 grade point average and 32 hours of community service. There is no way to find financial aid in the middle of the year, let alone the time

Comments:  ta wrote on October 31, 2009 8:11 a.m. "The promise Program isn't broken just broke for now,

Click on the following for more details:  Northwest Herald | Broken ‘Promise’

General Assembly Scholarships may be numbered

Each member of the General Assembly is given the option of awarding up to eight tuition waivers each year,

“There has been legislation filed to abolish those scholarships,” said state Sen. Brad Burzynski (R-Rochelle). “If that were to come to a vote, I would support that.”

no state mandates regarding the process for awarding these waivers, Pritchard and Burzynski use independent scholarship committees to choose who will receive them each year. Both committees weigh such factors as academic strength, financial need and extracurricular and civic involvement.

General Assembly Scholarships may be numbered | Daily Chronicle

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Friday, October 30, 2009

3 schools among state's top 100

 

St. Charles North High School, St. Charles East High School and Sycamore High School jumped up from last year, pushing them up in the rankings among the top 100 high schools in Illinois, as calculated by the Chicago Sun-Times.

For a decade, the Sun-Times has based its exclusive rankings of schools on average scores on state achievement tests,

3 schools among state's top 100 :: The Courier News :: Local News

Students frustrated over problems with MCC registration

Contributing factors included the poor economy, the trend of more high school students choosing community college after they graduate, and the new Promise scholarship program

For the fall semester, McHenry County College saw a 26.7 percent increase in total headcount from last year, and a 29.4 percent increase in credit enrollment.

Officials said they expected those numbers to continue for the spring semester.

Northwest Herald | Students frustrated over problems with MCC registration

Sycamore uses backdoor referendum to fund renovation/addition to middle school

The board members approved, by consensus, Tuesday evening to issue working cash bonds to help pay for the project. The board members are set to approve a notice of intent to sell the bonds during their Dec. 8 meeting. The closing date for selling the bonds will be Jan. 29, 2010.

District officials plan to have about 41,700 square feet of the middle school renovated and to have about a 31,000 square-foot addition installed to the building. The project is expected to cost about $14.2 million.

School Board President Jim Dombek said selling working cash bonds will allow the district to renovate and expand the middle school without increasing the district's property taxes by more than $5.

For more details:  http://www.daily-chronicle.com/articles/2009/10/29/59002968/index.xml

As noted by the following citation,  Sycamore Community Schools last past a referendum in 2007 for grade school expansion.  The school board has reviewed several methods of financing the middle school and now has decided to go without a referendum and borrow the money by the “backdoor referendum”.  Taxpayers will be give 30 days if they wish to petition for a referendum and signatures of 10% of the voters are needed.  The Administration states that this will not change the taxpayers tax rate--$5.00 per $100—a promise they made with the 2007 referendum—but is this exactly what the voters expected to happen? 

http://www.daily-chronicle.com/articles/2008/03/27/news/local/news09.txt

Taxpayers in the Sycamore School District passed a $30 million referendum April 17, 2007, to build a new elementary school at Plank and Lindgren roads, as well as to make additions and renovations to three of the district's four existing elementary schools, including Southeast

http://www.daily-chronicle.com/articles/2008/12/16/news/local/doc493f6f568a3de847927317.txt

[at the tax levy on  12-10-2008] Luke Glowiak, assistant superintendent of business, said that when district officials presented a referendum to build a new elementary school and to renovate three existing elementary school buildings, they promised not increase the property tax by more than $5.[per $100]

http://www.daily-chronicle.com/articles/2009/08/06/31739388/

[Middle School renovation/addition]

Debt certificates are similar to bonds, he said, except the board does not need referendum approval nor is it repaid through a direct tax levy. The board has promised taxpayers it will not raise the tax rate for the residents in the district over $5 per $100 of owned property. 

The board could pay cash, he said, but it would “seriously deplete” the district’s reserves.

Carbondale sticks with Halloween liquor laws

Past  students of downstate colleges know why.

bars on the stretch of Illinois Avenue known as the strip will be dark for Halloween. The city began closing the bars in 1995 as part of a five-year agreement between Southern Illinois University Carbondale and the city.

Carbondale sticks with Halloween liquor laws

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Rock Valley College requested to maintain a computer record of the reasons for closed sessions

Read the letter below in which RVC is requested to maintain a public record for the specific reasons each closed session is held.

Click on the photocopy to enlarge:

RVC Closed sessions

Rock Valley College uses “back door” referendums to finance its portion of the expansion

As reported in earlier postings, Rock Valley College, is having a major expansion program.  Much of it is funded by the State of Illinois’ capital program and by the federal stimulus program.  The remaining local portion of the financing will be funded by RVC’s borrowings from the capital markets.

Currently $30.3 million is being borrowed to pay the college’s portion of the Math and Science Building.  Another $10 million of borrowing will be sought early in 2010 for the new Arts Building.   Both these borrowings will probably occur without voter approval.  Unless approximately 15,000 signatures are gather within a 30 day window referendum approval will not be required. (That is 1,500 completed petitions as shown below.)  A majority vote (4 of 7) of the elected RVC Board of Trustees is sufficient to authorize these borrowings.

 

Click on the photocopy to enlarge:RVC petition

What I find incredible is the lack of public imput into the process.   The college appears to give news releases only when a renovated building is opened or when Starlight Theater begins it subscription season.  A community college needs to solicit imput from its students, faculty, and community members. These new buildings may have been planned for years but the fact remains that the decision to actually build all these facilities really only occurred in the last year and did the college really solicit public imput?  Do a “google” or “bing” search see what the internet tells you about RVC’s huge expansion and its administration’s effort to keep the public informed.

The paid by commission, “bond people” say that RVC will not have to increase its 45 cent per $100 tax rate.  Well, those calculation are all predicated on a growth rate of Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV).  These experts are using a rate of 3% growth per year as the “normal growth rate”.  That may seem like a normal rate based on the large residential growth/inflation  of the last decade however smaller growth rates, even negative growth rates also can occur. Normal growth rate may be no increase at all.  If that happens, the individual taxpayer will pay much more,  each and every year.

Of all the government bodies to which Boone County residents pay taxes only RVC is not subject to tax caps.  Check out your past tax bills, the dollar amount of taxes to RVC is increasing faster than probably any other tax on the bill.  If RVC’s board miscalculates the EVA growth rate or if college operating cost skyrocket because of the new buildings, the dollar amount of taxes you pay to RVC will soar and even the tax rate may increase.

I am a community college graduate and a believer in the door to opportunity which community colleges represent.  However I am very befuddled by RVC and some of its current actions.

Community college enrollments in Illinois are up 9.5% (probably due to the economy and the need for retraining.)  RVC has 6.5% increase in head count and a 7% increase in credit hours. Winnebago/Boone County area has the highest unemployment in Illinois and its community college has a below average increase in enrollment?  More concerning is that this Fall’s enrollment was part of a concerted effort RVC planned before the recession to increase enrollment.  Various initiatives were devised, instituted and funded with a goal of a 5% increase in Fall enrollment.  So perhaps only 1.5% of RVC’s enrollment increase represents enrollment due to the unemployment situation.

For years RVC spoke of its need to increase day time capacity at it main campus facilities. The huge expansion of the physical plant is occurring to accommodate that so called need.  Apparently the current physical plant has sufficient room for night classes, if that is desired.  At the October 27 board meeting, a trustee asked how many “empty seats” were available at the end of Fall registration.  The administration was unable to answer. 

A review of past minutes indicated that such “empty seat” figures were available for a board retreat on October 18, 2008.  See Page 1 below.  Only 82.5% of seats in Fall 2008 were filled even though Class Room Building I and Building II were completely filled.

 

Click on the above photocopy to enlarge.

rvc trustee meeting 1 rvc trustee meeting 2

rvc trustee meeting 3

Rock Valley College is having a major expansion—does anyone know about it?

There has been very limited media coverage of RVC’s major expansion.  The last real details come from this July 18, 2009  Opinion Page in the Rockford Register Star:  http://www.rrstar.com/opinions/x931239444/RVC-builds-21st-century-campus-quietly-steadily

here in Rockford, and under the quiet but determined leadership of five-year President Jack Becherer, Rock Valley College is building a 21st century campus without raising property taxes. When you put all the pieces together, RVC is becoming an impressive place, which I realized while chatting Friday with Ted Biondo, an RVC trustee and former board of trustees president.
In rapid fire, he reeled off recent, current and future construction: $13 million to improve the Physical Education Center; $7.5 million to reconfigure the Educational Resources Center, completed in 2007; and $2 million for a parking lot project to be finished this summer. There also has been $1 million worth of improvements made to Stenstrom Center, RVC’s careers building on Samuelson Road.
Next up, said Biondo, is a $28.5 million science and math building.
“All those things have been done or are being done with the college’s 10 cent per $100 property tax rate for capital expenses,” Biondo said. “We do not need to raise it because as bonded projects are paid off we can sell new bonds while keeping the rate the same.” Total RVC tax rate is about 45 cents per $100.
Another long-planned project on tap is the Arts Instructional Center. This one will be funded primarily by the state of Illinois, and it’s been in limbo for years because the state declined to allocate the money. Now, with Gov. Pat Quinn’s signature of the $31 billion capital projects bill, Rock Valley will receive $27 million for the arts center. Biondo said the college will spend an additional $10 million on the building. (The state capital plan also has $200,000 for Stenstrom Center and $100,000 for the science lab.)
Add to that the recent Student Center renovation, Starlight Theatre and the Woodward Technical Center, and it all goes together nicely. Despite the building boom, Biondo, the Rock River Valley’s public budget watchdog-in-chief, says RVC is in good fiscal shape.

Wikipedia: Very critical of Rock Valley College—both past and current administrations

Wikipedia is a multilingual, Web-based, free-content encyclopedia project based mostly on anonymous contributions

The following is taken from Wikipedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_valley_college 

UPDATE:  The Wikipedia citation has drastically changed.  If you go to the citation it bears little resemblance to the way it was.  However, footnote numbers in the quoted article posted below still will send you to the newspaper articles.  I suggest that you read these references (most are from the Rock River Times)..

 

The college [Rock Valley College] was established in 1964 through a district-wide referendum after a two-year study established the need for a community college. RVC’s district comprises Winnebago and Boone County and parts of Stephenson, Ogle, McHenry and DeKalb counties. Since opening for classes in 1965, RVC has grown to an institution of 140 faculty members, 500 part-time lecturers and more than 7,500 students.

On Jan. 13, 2004, RVC President Dr. Roland "Chip" Chapdelaine was fired from the college nearly one year after Rockford-based, weekly newspaper, The Rock River Times, launched an award-winning, year-long series of news articles that spotlighted corruption at the college and Chapdelaine's mismanagement at RVC. [2]

The news articles were authored by Jeff Havens, staff writer for The Rock River Times, who was illegally fired by Chapdelaine and the RVC Board of Trustees in 2002. Havens was Laboratory Manager in the Physical Science Department at RVC from 2000 to 2002. Havens employment was illegally terminated by RVC after Havens publicly criticized Chapdelaine and RVC Board Trustees in print and broadcast media. Havens also spearheaded a union organization effort for staff at RVC.

The RVC Board of Trustees voted unanimously to fire Chapdelaine after the newspaper launched its news series, which culminated with an article that detailed RVC Board Chairman Chris Johnson's wife's land sale to RVC during the time she was a real estate agent.[3]

Approximately five months after the news series began, Havens and The Rock River Times were named defendants in a lawsuit filed in Winnebago County Circuit Court on June 5, 2003 by Donald B. Johannes, former RVC trustee and board chairman the evening Havens was illegally fired in Aug. 13, 2002 (Winnebago County Circuit Court case 03-L-219).

In the lawsuit, Johannes alleged he was defamed when the newspaper published an article on April 23, 2003 in which Johannes denied benefiting from the sale of insurance to RVC. Johannes was an insurance agent for more than 20 years, in addition to being an RVC trustee.[4]

Johannes' lawsuit was thrown out of court on Jan. 22, 2004 after the court ruled Johannes failed to prove anything in the article was false—just nine days after Chapdelaine was fired as RVC president. However, the court allowed Johannes a second chance to file his complaint.

Johannes re-filed his allegations the following month, but they too were thrown out of court for a second time on May 28, 2004 after he again failed to provide any evidence the article was false. When Johannes re-filed his lawsuit, he admitted in his filing there was a conspiracy to fire Havens for his written criticisms of the college—a violation of Havens' First Amendment right to exercise free speech.

In the first amended complaint filed with the state court, Johannes wrote: “On information and belief Jeffrey Havens…was fired…for writing negative articles about the college as summarized above.”

Observers of the proceedings speculated the real purpose of the lawsuit was to discourage the newspaper from continuing its investigation and reporting on events at the college, persuade owner Frank Schier to fire Havens as a reporter and financially ruin the newspaper.

In October 2004, the news series was recognized by the Illinois Press Association for outstanding reporting in their "Best of the Press" contest.

Although no specific reason was ever cited by the Board for terminating Chapdelaine, his tenure included the following:

1. Complaints. Numerous complaints from the college's employee groups to RVC Trustees

2. No confidence. Three "no-confidence" votes by all three employee groups that totaled 204-28

3. Status downgrade. Downgrade of RVC recognition status by the Illinois Community College Board. As of 2008, no other locally funded and operated community college in Illinois has ever had such a downgrade in status. The status was upgraded by the state two weeks after Chapdelaine was fired in January 2004

4. Deficit spending. Five consecutive and unprecedented years of deficit spending that totaled more than $7.3 million

5. Political donations. Illegal use of taxpayer funds by Chapdelaine for two political contributions, which were allegedly reimbursed only after inquiries about the expenditures were made by The Rock River Times

6. No-bid contract. Controversial awarding of a no-bid $5.6 million construction contract to Robert Stenstrom of Stenstrom Companies Ltd., for whom RVC named their Samuelson Road facility after he allegedly made a $1 million donation to the college. RVC never produced documentation the $1 million was ever received, despite requests from The Rock River Times.[5]

The $1 million was to be derived from construction services offered by Stenstrom,and sale of Stenstrom's personal jet. Part of the $1 million Stenstrom proposed was for "in-kind" construction management services. But the services were tied to a condition in which the services would only be offered if his company received the building contract for the Support Services Building. The Support Services Building was originally slated at $4.2 million, but ultimately cost $7.9 million.

The other half of the $1 million "gift" was contingent upon the sale of an aircraft owned by Stenstrom. However, at the time of the awarding the contract, and the alleged donation, the aircraft was being flown around Illinois for a political campaign. The campaign involved former Winnebago County Board Chairman Kris Cohn's failed bid for Illinois Secretary of State's office in 2002.

After RVC hired Stenstrom under terms of Illinois construction management law, Stenstrom awarded the contract to costruct the Support Services Building to himself. However, Illinois law prohibits construction managers from awarding contracts to themselves. Trustees, Chapdelaine and Stenstron also linked the hiring to Stenstrom's proclaimed $1 million donation to the college.

Despite the obvious abuse, and likely breaking of construction management law, Winnebago County State's Attorney Paul Logli refused to investigate the issue because he claimed the statute was "undeveloped," and was not interested in developing the statute.[6] Four years later, Logli was appointed to the position of Winnebago County Circuit Court judge in 2007 after holding the same job during the 1980s.

7. Recruitment scandal. Double payments to Chapdelaine in 1997 for airline expenses for his recruitment to RVC. Prior to that time, Chapdelaine was president of Cumberland County College in New Jersey.

In 1997, Chapdelaine charged $770 to his Cumberland County College credit card for three round-trip airline tickets from Philadelphia to O’Hare Airport at the same time he was being considered for his RVC position.

RVC also issued Chapdelaine two checks during the same period totaling $2,107.53 for his recruitment to RVC.

Cumberland County College documents show Chapdelaine charged Cumberland County College for two July 17, 1997, airline tickets to O’Hare, the day after he secured the RVC presidency on July 16,1997. Chapdelaine charged $612 to Cumberland County College for tickets and flight insurance for himself and his wife on July 17, 1997.

8. Construction overuns. At least $9.6 million in construction cost overruns, which included the Stenstrom-named facility on Samuelson Road, and the Support Services Building that Stenstrom constructed on RVC's main campus.

Chapdelaine's supporters argued he was a "change agent" who ushered RVC into a bold era of needed construction projects. Critics countered Chapdelaine severely mismanaged the college.

Epilogue

RVC hired Dr. Jack Becherer as its new president in 2004. Becherer has connections to the same corruption network that gave rise to Chapdelaine through his previous employment at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills,Illinois during the 1990s.Jack Becherer, president of ...

After a two-year presidency at Cuyahoga Community College's Eastern Campus in Cleveland, Ohio in which Chapdelaine proposed changing the institution into a center for "holistic medicine," he was hired in late 2006 as president of Los Angeles Trade Tech College. According to a Jan. 26, 2007 press release from the Los Angeles Community College District, Chapdelaine was presiding over $230 million in construction projects at the college.

Approximately five years after Chapdelaine was terminated, RVC began more building projects that included the following, which were featured in the Rockford Register Star in 2009.[7]:

  • $28.5 million science and math building
  • $1 million for renovations to the Stenstrom Center for Career Education
  • $13 million for renovations to the Physical Education Center
  • $2 million for updated parking lots on the main campus during
  • $7.5 million remodel of the Estelle M. Black Library in 2007

DeKalb Schools: Bus company could be close to strike

 School Bus Transportation ...

Administrators with DeKalb Schools are working on contingency transportation plans in case drivers with the busing company the district uses vote to strike today.

[The district] contracts with First Student to provide busing services for its students, district spokesman Russ Fletcher said late Wednesday night. But the union that represents the drivers has been negotiating for a while with the company, and may vote to strike if talks today are not successful, he said.

Click on the following for more details:  DeKalb Schools: Bus company could be close to strike | Daily Chronicle

Little ire over outgoing U of I leaders’ salaries

 University of Illinois

Joseph White will step into a tenured faculty job and says he expects to work on a fundraising campaign, earning three times the $101,000 that the average professor at the campus is paid.

Such deals, much like the generally more lucrative payouts that corporate executives routinely receive when leaving jobs, are common in academia.

Northwest Herald | Little ire over outgoing U of I leaders’ salaries

BLOG COUNT for District 100 Watchdog: 536 visitors since 9-16-2009; 260 Unique visitors

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at 2:42 PM 0 comments

Labels: blog count, blogging

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Male literacy focus of club

1971 to 2008 show that girls do better on reading tests than boys at every grade level tested. And the gap between girls and boys is increasing.

how to make reading more boy-friendly:

• Make reading active;

• Provide plenty of informational/nonfiction texts;

• Provide male reading role models;

• Make literacy hands-on;

• Incorporate technology into reading;

• Create competitions;

• Match books to interests/allow choice;

• Encourage audio reading;

• Encourage reading of humorous, gross and silly books.

Click on the following for more details on what a Carpentersville school is doing:   

Northwest Herald | Male literacy focus of club

Rock Valley College’s Salary Schedule

Rock Valley College campus

The following is the teaching faculty’s salary schedule:

2009-10, 2008-09 plus 4.60%    2010-11, 2009-10 plus 4.75%
Lane Minimum Maximum              Lane Minimum Maximum
L7 49,071 96,377                                  L7 51,402 100,955
L6 47,276 92,561                                  L6 49,522 96,957
L5 45,483 88,393                                L5 47,643 92,592
L4 43,688 84,494                                L4 45,763 88,508
L3 41,892 80,596                                 L3 43,882 84,424
L2 40,098 76,698                                L2 42,002 80,341
L1 38,303 73,009                                 L1 40,123 76,477
 

Lane Advancement
Faculty will be eligible for lane advancement on the faculty salary schedule by successfully
completing pre-approved graduate courses as follows:
1. Graduate courses in the faculty member’s teaching area.
2. Graduate courses in education such as: Community College, Educational Psychology,
Philosophy of Education, Administration of Higher Education, Guidance, Evaluation and
Testing, Educational Statistics, Instructional Technology, or Adult Education.Applications for coursework approval shall be submitted to the appropriate Dean at least thirty (30)
days prior to commencement of the graduate course. Evidence of coursework completion must be submitted to the Dean as provided in Section 7.1.2.
Faculty members shall not be advanced to a lane for which the degree has not been earned. For example, a faculty member who has not been awarded a Master’s degree shall not be advanced to the Master’s lane or beyond until the degree is awarded and the coursework completed. A faculty member who has not been awarded a Doctoral degree shall not be advanced to the doctoral lane.

The initial step placement will be rounded to the nearest whole number (with .5 rounded up to the next number) and the initial step placement will not exceed Step 6.
All current faculty members will be advanced one step for each year of service from their step placement on the 2007-2008 salary schedule for each succeeding year of the contract.

Within each lane --a year of additional experience will be rewarded by $1000 or more per year of experience.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Some nonunion employees in Carpentersville’s D300 to get raises

2 percent increase in pay will affect 76 school district employees and cost the district an additional $89,000 each year

raises come at the same time D300 is negotiating with a similar number of employees who now are represented by DESPA, the District 300 Educational Support Personnel Association.

Click on the following for more details:  Some nonunion employees in D300 to get raises :: The Courier News :: Local News

Monday, October 26, 2009

Strike threat ends as bus drivers agree to new contract

Indian Prairie Unit District 204, Oswego Community Unit School District 308, a small portion of Naperville Unit District 203 and Pace, came to terms Monday with First Student after more than a year of negotiations.

First Student, prompting the company to warn the school districts last week about the possibility of a driver strike.

Daily Herald | Strike threat ends as bus drivers agree to new contract

Outbreak subsiding at St. Charles East High; flu not main problem

data may prove the majority of sick students didn't even have the flu.

about 26 percent (about 569 students) of students at the school still felt too ill to come to school. That's an improvement over Wednesday when 34 percent of the student body said they were still sick. The high point for the outbreak was about 45 percent of the student body on Tuesday.

less than 10 percent of students saying they were sick had symptoms that fit the strict definition of the flu. Another 15 percent or so of the sick students had symptoms indicating some other respiratory illnesses, such as bronchitis. Then, at least another 25 percent of the ill students experienced gastrointestinal problems that included vomiting. The remaining 50 percent were absent due to what Kuehnert described as a "variety of other causes."

Daily Herald | Outbreak subsiding at St. Charles East High; flu not main problem

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Middle schoolers to join BHS food drive - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Belvidere High School - IL ...Belvidere South Middle ... 

Roughly 15 middle schoolers will be chaperoned around the streets and neighborhoods that border the middle school and high school, while the older students will drive through subdivisions and neighborhoods farther away to pick up donations.

Middle schoolers to join BHS food drive - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Belvidere North students win journalism awards

 Belvidere North High School

North View received first place in the newspaper competition. Nick McDowell won second in editorial writing, Thomas Ashley won second in news writing and Carin Cameron won third in editorial cartooning.

Click on the following for the full story:  Belvidere North students win journalism awards - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Free high school plays, concerts and musicals and sports events for Woodstock Seniors

Woodstock High School

residents who are 60 years of age and older can apply for an activity card.  Since the program began in 1992, more than 650 passes have been issued. The cards are good for life and do not need to be renewed each year

The card allows them free admission to all school plays, concerts and musicals as well as all regular season home athletic events.

Click on the following for more details:  Northwest Herald | D-200 activity card available

McHenry County College tops enrollment increases

... - McHenry County College

State as a whole:  Illinois Community College Board, full-time equivalency fall enrollments reached an all-time high of 223,353, an increase of 9.5 percent from the fall 2008 semester.  Of 48 community colleges in Illinois, 44 reported increases in full-time credit enrollment,….more people attending community colleges, they are taking on heavier class loads.

MCC’s total headcount including adult education was 6,811 – a 26.7 percent increase from last year, according to records. The credit enrollment stands at 4,222, a 29.4 percent increase.

Northwest Herald | MCC tops enrollment increases

Elgin Community College tops among Illinois community colleges in enrollment growth :: The Courier News

... IL : Elgin Community College

-- the current economic situation, people looking for job skills and the school's affordability….$91 per credit hour.

Enrollment for adults 41 and older entering ECC has jumped nearly 40 percent, and enrollment of transfer students has climbed by 44 percent compared to the 2008 spring semester's numbers, according to ECC officials.

1,883 more students than at the same time last year, according to a report released by the Illinois Community College Board.

ECC listed a total of 11,704 students

Click on the following for the rest of the story:  ECC tops among Illinois community colleges in enrollment growth :: The Courier News :: Local News

Letters: Taxpayers have a right to know | Daily Chronicle

Malta now annexed to DeKalb schools is questioning the big city’s board of education. 

Malta Elementary Home Page ...

Here are some more arguments about Malta:

Ten years ago, Malta schools merged with DeKalb District 428,…Ten years later, the 2008 Illinois Board of Education reports Malta’s ISAT test scores are No. 1.[in district 428] Malta Elementary has the third lowest yearly cost to operate …..

The closing of Malta Elementary. I stand with my community very confused. I have seen future district-wide building plans, and find myself wondering: If education is the goal, what am I missing?

Click on the following for more details on this letter to the editor:  http://www.daily-chronicle.com/articles/2009/10/24/62118531/index.xml

Click on the following for further allegations and responses:  Letters: Taxpayers have a right to know | Daily Chronicle

Cause unknown in apartment fire just off NIU Campus

about 30 residents, all Northern Illinois University students, were displaced

Old Orchard Place Townhouses, The amount of damage is estimated at $250,000

Click on the following for the rest of the story:  Cause unknown in apartment fire | Daily Chronicle

BLOG COUNT for District 100 Watchdog: 542 visitors since 9-16-2009; 253 Unique visitors

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Friday, October 23, 2009

NEWS FLASH from the Tax on Time meeting—a settlement with Chrysler’s tax bill is in the making

I attended the Tax on Time meeting on Thursday morning at Belvidere Township Hall.  Curt Newport, Boone County Treasurer, reported that a tentative agreement has been reached with the parties involved.  Chrysler’s bankruptcy lawyers will pay the tax bill and a small “penalty”.  The remaining penalty will be considered an unsecured debt by the bankruptcy court and grouped with other unsecured Chrysler debts.

Payment should be coming soon but no date was disclosed.

Bill Pysson

BLOG COUNT for District 100 Watchdog: 527 visitors since 9-16-2009; 242 Unique visitors

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bus drivers threaten strike in District 204

The district includes portions of Aurora, Naperville, Bolingbrook and Plainfield

Drivers recently rejected a proposed contract with First Student, the company that operates about 250 buses for District 204.

Click on the following for more detailsDaily Herald | Bus drivers threaten strike in District 204

BLOG COUNT for District 100 Watchdog: 513 visitors since 9-16-2009; 219 Distinct visitors

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Moms cite homecoming for St. Charles East’s flu outbreak

heard through the grapevine that a lot of kids at the dance were sick, but that they went because they'd already bought their tickets and their dresses or suits."

Click on the following for the rest of the storyMoms cite homecoming for SCE outbreak :: Beacon News :: Local News

BLOG COUNT for District 100 Watchdog: 498 visitors since 9-16-2009; 208 Distinct visitors

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

U. of I. Chancellor Herman resigns, will join faculty

The Tribune did much of the work which brought this scandal  to light.  It calls Herman, “the enforcers” of the scheme.  I believe the Tribune may receive many national awards for their investigation.

Herman's resignation is effective Monday, Oct. 26, according to U. of I. spokesman Tom Hardy.

Herman, 67, was the principal enforcer of a shadow admissions system that allowed subpar but well-connected students to get into the state's premier public school

Herman will continue to receive his current salary in a new position: special assistant to the interim president, Hardy said. But he will forgo a $300,000 retention bonus that was due in June.

In June, when his chancellor contract would have been up, he will take a one-year paid sabbatical at a new faculty salary of $244,444. The following year, he will be required to teach two courses a year as a tenured mathematics professor, fewer than his original contract that called for teaching four courses a year.

Herman was arguably more involved in preferential admissions than any other administrator.

Click on the following for the rest of the story:  U. of I. Chancellor Herman resigns, will join faculty - Chicago Breaking News

BLOG COUNT for District 100 Watchdog: 470 visitors since 9-16-2009; 214 Unique visitors

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Illinois Youth Center 'dangerous,' study suggests

40 percent of all incarcerated juveniles in Illinois are in prison because of parole violations rather than new offenses, and it costs $70,000 a year to house each one.

Incarcerated youth deserve to be safe and housed in a humane environment that speaks of care, not abandonment and neglect,"

Click on the following for more detailsDaily Herald | Illinois Youth Center 'dangerous,' study suggests

Request District 100 to no longer deposit at Blackhawk Bank

I addressed the school board this evening requesting that the district no longer bank at Blackhawk because District 100’s Treasurer is a bank director at Blackhawk.  The board voted 5-1 to continue to deposit at Blackhawk.  Mr. Fox voted “no”.  Mr. Smiley was absent.  I am submitting this letter to the editor of the Boone County Journal for publication.

October 19, 2009

Board of Education
Belvidere Community Unit School District 100
1201 Fifth Avenue
Belvidere, Il 61008

I object to the inclusion of Blackhawk Bank on the list of authorized depositories for District 100 funds. (This is Item #6, on this evening’s consent agenda)

This school board appointed James E. Metz, School Treasurer for the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years.  A school treasurer’s duties and responsibilities are specified by statute and cannot be granted to anyone other that the treasurer.  Among other duties the School Treasurer has the ultimate responsibility to balance and reconcile monthly bank statements with the school’s accounting of cash and investments. 

Mr. Metz is a director at Blackhawk Bancorp, the bank holding company for Blackhawk Bank. When Mr. Metz reconciles District deposits with Blackhawk Bank an obvious conflict of interest exists.  If a discrepancy occurred, just the appearance of such a conflict of interest may cause the public to question the objectivity of Mr. Metz’s reports.

For the above stated reasons, I request that Blackhawk Bank be deleted from the list of authorized depositories. 

Mr. Metz is bonded to insure that his functions are performed without loss.  If you permit District funds to be deposited at Blackhawk Bank, I request that District 100 notify the bonding company that Mr. Metz is a director at one of your depository banks.  Not to do so, might jeopardize this District’s Treasurer’s Bond.

Respectfully, 

WILLIAM J. PYSSON

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Swine flu: Palatine children will be among the first to get free H1N1 vaccine -- chicagotribune.com

Children in Palatine are expected to be first in line for free H1N1 swine flu vaccinations offered through the Cook County Department of Public Health, which is scheduling inoculations by ZIP code.

The distribution schedule could be adjusted as the vaccine arrives and school districts are ready for it,

Swine flu: Palatine children will be among the first to get free H1N1 vaccine -- chicagotribune.com

Why Can't Quinn Fix Chicago State? - Carol Marin

Read this article from the Chicago Sun-Times.  The alleged abuses are incredible and lack of action by the state even worse. 

How come Gov. Pat Quinn, in the wake of a clout scandal at the state's premier university, can sweep out the University of Illinois' board of trustees (with two notable exceptions) but can't do the same for our most beleaguered university

the mostly African-American school [with 7,000 students] on the Far South Side with a horrifically low 16.2 percent graduation rate.

Hosick's firing, the suit contends, came when he blew the whistle to "the Executive Inspector General and the Auditor General [about] the Trustees' intricate involvement into the University's personnel matters and files, and its demands to approve the hiring of all full-time employees . . ."

Click on the following to read this Sun-Times storyWhy Can't Quinn Fix Chicago State? - Carol Marin

Saturday, October 17, 2009

BLOG COUNT for District 100 Watchdog: 450 visitors since 9-16-2009; 200 Distinct visitors

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NIU Panel seeking public input on Grady

The committee will accept signed, written statements about Grady until noon Wednesday, according to a written statement released late Friday afternoon by NIU. 

NIU administrators named the panel – which is being chaired by retired Illinois Supreme Court Justice John L. Nickels – on Thursday. Also serving on the panel are Marlon C. Lynch, associate vice president for Safety and Security at the University of Chicago, and Robert T. Marshall, Jr., who recently retired as vice president for Student Services at South Suburban College in South Holland.

The team is expected to issue a final report to [President] Peters and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Eddie Williams, who oversees the police department. They in turn will make public final decisions after reviewing the findings and recommendations.

Click on the following for more details:  Panel seeking public input on Grady | Daily Chronicle

Warrenville’s Dist. 200 statement about Drury departure won't be expanded

But Wheaton resident Mark Stern, whose dispute with the district regarding the openness of a former superintendent's contract ended up in the Illinois Supreme Court, said the statement doesn't really answer the question of what happened.

He said the school board owes taxpayers an explanation for why it sought Drury's resignation in August - just one month after it granted Drury a one-year contract extension in July, through 2012.

"That's a very dramatic change," Stern said. "Unless they give me some compelling reason, which obviously they're not going to do, I can't consider that to be justified

Click on the following for more of the detailsDaily Herald | Dist. 200 statement about Drury departure won't be expanded

DISTRICT 100 Budget Hearing

I read the following letter to the Board of Education at their mandated public budget hearing on 9-22-2009.  The same letter was published by the Boone County Journal on 9-25-2009.

September 22, 2009

Board of Education
District 100
1201 Fifth Avenue
Belvidere, Il 61008

Public Hearing Regarding District #100’s Final 2009-2010 Budget

I object to the $45,000 consulting fee which District 100 contracted with Mr. James E. Metz for the 2009-2010 budget year. This is an excessive fee for only 600 hours consulting with an individual with Mr. Metz’s qualifications.

Mr. Metz was a member of this Board of Education when he was selected to succeed the retiring business manager, Assistant Superintendent Biesiadecki. Mr. Metz worked with Mr.Biesiadecki for more than one year before Mr. Biesiadecki‘s retirement. Mr. Metz held the title of Assistant Superintendent for a period of approximately one year after Mr. Biesiadecki retired. Mr. Metz did not possess or pursue the required certification for a business manager.

School districts are mandated by law to have a business manager with state certification. In part due to actions by the Regional Office of Education, Mr. Metz’s title changed several times to insure that Mr. Metz’s title would reflect that he was not the “business manager” of District 100. As stated to me by Dr. Houselog, the Regional Office of Education considered Superintendent Houselog the “business manager” of District 100 after Mr. Biesiadecki retirement.

In January 2009 Greg Brown, a Certified Public Accountant with experience with Coopers and Lybrand, was hired by the district with the title Director of Business Services.  Mr. Brown began work shortly after that date. With a CPA, Mr. Brown possesses the requisite education for testing for the business manager certificate and is currently enrolled in formal coursework to that end. Mr. Brown’s credentials would certainly indicate consulting from Mr. Metz should not be necessary especially after four months on the job. Additionally, Dr. Houselog was the official business manager at District 100 for many years and should be able to advise Mr. Brown.

I am raising objection at this time because the financial details of Mr. Metz’s consulting contract were still being negotiated when the board approved the contract back some months ago. My review of board minutes disclosed no approval of the actual amount of the contract by the board. Your actions approving the contract appear to be in conflict with the openness and transparency principles under which a school district should operate. I had to obtain the financial details under the Freedom of Information Act in August 2009.

In these economic times, every dollar is so precious.  I object to such an expensive consulting contract, especially to an individual who is not qualified to independently perform many of the tasks about which he is consulting.

Respectfully,

WILLIAM J. PYSSON

Friday, October 16, 2009

Warrenville’s Superintendent Drury to resign from District 200

This the school district who refused to reveal a former superintendent’s employment contract and lost the case in the Illinois Supreme Court. 

"No issues related to Dr. Drury's integrity exist or were a consideration in the differences which arose between the board and Dr. Drury," the statement reads.

The board even went so far to say the consensus to seek the resignation agreement was reached in August - before District 200 was among several suburban school districts that decided not to broadcast live President Barack Obama's message to schoolchildren in September. The district taped the speech for later showing in the classroom.

Click on the following for more details:  Daily Herald | Superintendent Drury to resign from District 200

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chrysler balks at paying overdue property taxes -

On October 2,  I posted a Rockford Register Star article regarding  attorneys for Chrysler offering to paid 2008 taxes but refusing to pay penalties.  See:   http://boonecountywatchdog.blogspot.com/2009/10/chrysler-balks-at-paying-overdue.html

The question remains, what are the local taxing bodies going to do?—Nothing?  Could each of the district’s waive the penalty?  Do each of the taxing districts need statutory relief so the late fees can be waived?  Should we contact our state legislators for a change in the law.  More than a mere legal opinion, the taxpayers needs some action-- a strategy for relief.  The final settlement to this bankruptcy could be months or years away.

Below is the county treasurer’s notice to the taxing districts and Chrysler’s nearly $884,000 tax bill. Look at the tax bill:  our school district cannot afford $448,000 not being paid, Belvidere needs the $115,000 and the county its $85,000.

 

Click on the photocopy to enlarge:

Chrysler Tax 1 Chrysler tax 2

Letter to editor of Daily Chronicle: Support Chief Grady

A key element of a campus police chief is (within the laws) to keep what happens on campus private. Our chief has done that to his detriment. He should be applauded, not criticized.  Outside law enforcement agencies like campus police chiefs who “tell all” about students and faculty and criticize those who don’t.

Read the rest of  the letter and readers’ comments by clicking on the following:  Letters: Support Chief Grady | Daily Chronicle

DeKalb Daily Chronicle’s View: No confidence in NIU police chief

DeKalb’s newspaper joins NIU’s Northern Star in questioning the actions of NIU’s Police Chief. 

We have lost confidence in the ability of Northern Illinois University Police Chief Donald Grady to perform his job to the standards deserved by the university and the surrounding communities.

Click on the following for the complete editorial: Our View: No confidence in NIU police chief | Daily Chronicle

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Zero Tolerance = Zero Sense?

 

His crime--bringing his new Cub Scout combo eating utensil to school, excited to try it out at lunch

The California education code includes a zero tolerance provision “to send a ‘get tough’ message to the community that violent behavior, incidents and crime would not be tolerated. “  But, and it’s a big but, California recognizes, for instance, the distinction between “brandishing a knife at another person” which requires mandatory expulsion and “possession of any knife….of no reasonable use to the pupil” as a “significant but discretionary infraction” with punishment left to the discretion of the principal or superintendent.  Common sense!

Click on the following for more details:  Zero Tolerance = Zero Sense? - The World Newser

Suburban schools raise their hands for new building funds

How the $31 BILLION Capital Program will work for school projects?  Will  projects already built allow the school to spend the money on other items?  If a school is not already in line there may be no hope.

By law, it's first-come, first-served construction spending. That means the 94 districts including Maine Township High that beat the April 2002 deadline for the state's 2003 budget year now get first crack.

Such districts could still qualify for state help. What's unclear at this point is what, if any, strings will be attached to construction funding for projects already finished.

A slightly different count concerning who is in the line.  Source:  http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=328406&src=109 

Number of requests pending: 326

The fine print: Nearly two dozen school districts promised state money before the account ran dry are the first to get any new funding. Those projects account for roughly $150 million.

How it works: Schools apply, the state ranks them by need and then doles out money until there is no more.

Construction co-pay: The most the state will pay is 75 percent of a project and the least is 35 percent, depending on a district's ability to raise funding locally

.

Click on the following for more details concerning the rules:  Daily Herald | Suburban schools raise their hands for new building funds

Monday, October 12, 2009

Court rules against Pingree Grove charter school union

The Union/school are not subject to Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board;  it is the same as regular non-education union.  The union has until October 28 to appeal the case.

The appellate court agreed both that the act does not apply to charter schools and that Northern Kane does not meet its definition of an educational employer, according to the court opinion filed Sept. 23.

With that decision, the court also dismissed two unfair-labor-practice complaints filed against the corporation, Fuhrer said.

Court rules against charter school union :: The Courier News :: Local News

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Illinois school hired jailed teacher despite felony

METAMORA - A central Illinois school district said it was trying to give a young man another chance when it hired him as a teacher and coach despite a felony conviction in Tennessee.

In 2003, he was charged with attempted rape in an attack on a classmate at Vanderbilt University. He pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and was put on probation.

Metamora Superintendent Ken Maurer said the district was aware of Chromik's history.

But officials hired him after he wrote a letter of appeal and presented stellar references from Bradley University, where he graduated in 2006.

Illinois school hired jailed teacher despite felony

Illinois facing college cash crunch

Potential enrollment losses sparked by the huge cuts to the Monetary Aid Program could force schools to slash programs and staff -- and might even lead some to struggle to keep their doors open, college officials say.

The fear is particularly acute at private schools, where average MAP awards are higher, in part to help students pay for generally higher tuition costs and in part because more students attend full-time.

Students at the state's private schools received $155 million in MAP funds last year -- $5 million more than students at the state's public universities and nearly three times as much as community college students

Click on the following for the rest of the story:  Illinois facing college cash crunch :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Education

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wauconda’s District 118 residents may get to vote on borrowing plan

Citizens stop a  back-door referendum in Wauconda.

District 118 approved selling the bonds to acquire the $16.9 million following a special meeting on the plan Sept. 3. Officials said they need the cash mostly for payroll and other expenses to offset delays in expected state funding.

The district didn't need residents to approve the borrowing in a referendum, but state law allows a ballot question to be forced if 10 percent of registered voters signed the petition within 30 days of the Sept. 3 meeting

Wauconda Township Trustee Mary Schorr said she submitted a petition with 1,576 signatures - 33 above the minimum - requesting that residents vote on whether District 118 should borrow the money.

Click on the following for more details:  Daily Herald | District 118 residents may get to vote on borrowing plan

Perhaps the issue is the amount of the working capital loan—originally it was a smaller amount. Also, other units of government would be running referenda.  And of course, did the board prepare the voters for an increase in taxes without a “voice” in a referendum.  The following is taken for the district’s minutes of August 20, 2009.

A. DIRECTION CONCERNING NON-REFERENDUM WORKING CASH BONDS
Dr. Coles stated that this was an extension of the Board’s discussion at the August 6th Committee of the Whole meeting regarding options to improve our revenue stream and stabilize the budget. At that time the Board directed Dr. Coles to bring this option forward for discussion and possible direction. Dr. Coles introduced Ms. Elizabeth Hennessy from William Blair & Co., the district’s Bond advisor. The Board waived the rules regarding audience participation for this discussion.
The Board discussed the option of initiating $13.7 million Non-referendum Working Cash Fund Bonds. Board members voiced their opinions based on the conversations they have had with district residents. The majority of the Board favored the option and felt the community would support it. Mr. Midkiff indicated that he was not in favor of this option, although he realizes we need the funds.
Ms. Hennessy outlined the process to follow if someone wanted to file a petition. Discussion continued regarding our tax rate and low CPI. Mr. Armstrong polled the Board and all gave direction to proceed with the exception of Mr. Midkiff who dissented.
Ms. Hennessy spoke about a legislative update which would allow the district to borrow up to $16.9 million instead of the $13.7 million originally being considered. The Board discussed this and considered how to word the initial resolution. Following further discussion, Board direction was given to include the wording, “not to exceed $16.9 million” in the resolution of intent to issue bonds. This would give the Board the option to issue up to the full amount of $16.9 million if needed within three years.
Audience member, Andy Hanson, 2304 Trailside Lane, Wauconda, expressed to the Board that he is supportive of the schools, but there will be other village referenda on the ballot. Mr. Hanson indicated that it is a tough time out there and it matters how this is presented to the community. Mr. Hanson asked how someone would find out about all this as it is hard to understand. Mr. Armstrong spoke about the need to establish a Working Cash Fund for internal borrowing to cover costs due to reduced state funding and late payments from the state. Further discussion occurred regarding state funding, the current budget outlook, the June issue of the Community Link and the public hearing on September 3, 2009 which will be posted in the Daily Herald and on our website.

The following is a statement published by the Daily Herald:  http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=325864 regarding Mrs. Schorr’s campaign to petition for a referendum. 

Wauconda resident and parent Mary Schorr said there needs to be a referendum and taxpayers need to have a say in the funds. Schorr and other parents have started a petition against the bonds that would force it to referendum. The petition needs 1,543 valid signatures by Oct. 8 to force the bonds to referendum. As of Thursday afternoon, Schorr said they had about 1,200 signatures, but are striving for 2,000 by the deadline.

Friday, October 9, 2009

NIU Police Chief Donald Grady needs to be removed from his position

The following is from The Northern Star newspaper at Northern Illinois University, you may view it at:  http://www.northernstar.info/article/8439/

 

NIU Police Chief Donald Grady needs to be removed from his position

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

Last updated on 10/08/2009 at 11:07 a.m.

Enough.
At some point, NIU has to draw the line with its police chief.
Donald Grady’s level of paranoia appears to have reached a fever pitch.
The empirical reign of NIU’s contentious head of Public Safety has reached the point that his continued presence as police chief compromises the well-being of this university.
He must be removed.
Since coming to DeKalb in 2001, Grady has established himself as a polarizing figure who ignores other police departments, often shuns the media and uses intimidation tactics to expand his power within the administration.
Throughout his NIU tenure, Grady operated his police department without open opposition and without any glaring failures. Until this past summer.
On July 14, NIU police officer Dexter Yarbrough resigned.
Yarbrough, a former Colorado State University police chief who was hired on June 29, became the subject of scrutiny when both local and national media brought to light his previous transgressions at CSU, which included accusations of sexual harassment and remarks he made to a classroom full of students, telling them it was acceptable for police to pay informants with drugs.
His resignation simultaneously became a source of tremendous embarrassment for the university while finally piercing Grady’s seemingly impenetrable armor.
The Yarbrough incident, it seems, was the fatal blow to Grady’s psyche.
Some university administrators — even ones above Grady in NIU’s distorted hierarchy — confided to the Star their own tales of run-ins with the hostile police chief.
Stories of Grady screaming and being described by those on the receiving end of the tirades as “crazed” and having “lost it” are growing horrifically commonplace among university employees from all walks of campus.
One official even described him as “not fit to be a police officer.”
Grady’s desire to undo his judgmental error in hiring Yarbrough was so great that he went as far as to bring the Star’s editor in chief into his office and dangle the possibility of post-graduation employment in exchange for a glowing retraction of the Yarbrough story, while similarly implying a negative outcome as a result of refusal.
Unfortunately for Grady, unlike him, we understand our true purpose: serving the public.
Grady, in his own mind, is infallible.
This logic is largely the reason NIU Police and the DeKalb Police Department have bickered like children for years, as Grady shuts out all other police agencies and won’t even converse with DeKalb Police Chief Bill Feithen.
His battles with fellow police departments are just puzzling; his battles with the media are simply frustrating.
For years, Grady has had the UP operate under a policy of forcing media to file Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain material that any sensible, legitimate police agency — such as DeKalb’s — will readily provide to the media in the interest of informing the public.
At least they pick up the phone when we call; Grady’s hatred toward the DeKalb Daily Chronicle is such that he won’t even allow the department to converse with other papers owned by the same company, much less the Chronicle itself.
According to NIU’s online police blotter — which is about the best we can do when it comes to giving you any news about crime on campus — most all offenses are resulting not in arrests,
but in judicial referrals.
That must be doing wonders for the crime statistics on campus.
But the offenses of Grady’s regime go well beyond sugar-coating numbers.
Feb. 14, 2008 was a day of unspeakable tragedy and heartbreak on this campus.
For Grady, it was a day to shine his medals and soak in the national spotlight.
“Clothes. He was wearing clothes,” Grady responded at that night’s press conference to the question of what the shooter had been wearing.
When asked what the hardest part of the day had been, he responded, “Dealing with the media.”
Yes, Chief Grady. You hate the media. You especially hate anyone who dares question your authority.
You’re tough. We get it.
NIU has yet to release an official report on the shootings. Grady told the Star no such report exists, nor will one be released.
The only report is Grady’s “personal notes” on the incident, which he doesn’t plan to make public.
Not yet, at least. After all, why divulge your intimate knowledge of the events of that day to
soothe the still shaken hearts of the victims’ families when you can keep it to yourself simply to
tease all the people who keep asking for it?
Grady would have you believe that he’s a victim.
That he’s a hero under attack because the world has it out for him. How do we know this?
It’s a pattern that’s followed him his entire career.
He’s traveled the world and held a number of police positions across the country, almost all of which have resulted in Grady getting shown the door under a cloud of controversy where he believed he was being victimized.
The only constant in this changing equation is the esteemed police chief.
Grady started in 1979 at the Rock County Sheriff’s Department in Wisconsin.
He sued the county and Sheriff Joe Black in federal court in February 1986, claiming he had been passed over for a promotion because of his race.
He was promoted to sergeant in 1986 and reached an out-of-court settlement with the county for $45,000, well short of the $160,000 in damages he was seeking.
He soon left Rock County and has never elaborated why.
In 1994, he became police chief in Sante Fe, N.M. Grady’s militaristic approach was not well received in the Southwest, as he was ultimately ousted by the police union in February 1996 by way of a 103-to-5 no confidence vote.
City councilman Frank Montano in 1995 told The New York Times Grady lacked “the skills, experience and cultural sensitivity necessary to lead the Sante Fe Police Department.”
Grady retorted by saying that dissenting officers in the mostly-Hispanic community said “incompetent” when they meant to say “black,” according to the Times’ article.
Current Sante Fe Sheriff Greg Solano said in his personal blog that “to this day the bitterness over Chief Grady is such that every chief’s photo hangs in the police station except Chief Grady’s. Whenever one is put up to replace the missing one, it goes mysteriously missing.”
It’s impossible for us to say if race was a factor in Grady’s departure from his previous jobs.
But when it comes to here and now at NIU, it’s not about race; it’s about a man who simply is no longer fit to be responsible for the safety of this campus.
If Grady is responsible for all this strife, who is responsible for Grady?
When is his boss, Eddie Williams — described by one NIU official as Grady’s “guardian angel” — going to put a stop to all this?
Is he too stubborn in his desire to protect his friend? Is he afraid?
Where are President Peters and the Board of Trustees?
Can it be that one man has become bigger than the university itself?
We’re not sure if Grady will read this. After all, he apparently isn’t even on campus currently and hasn’t been for weeks.
The peak of the crime season is an odd time for a vacation.
Perhaps someone told him to take that United Nations job offer in Liberia. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking.
Donald Grady has worn out his welcome everywhere he’s gone, and NIU is no different.
It’s time to put an end to this mess. It’s time for a change.
Enough.

Geneva teacher accused of making bigoted remarks in class

told students in a consumer education class that tax dollars were wasted on art education.

asked students how they would like "their taxpayer dollars" being spent for one black homosexual photographer to take pictures of another black homosexual man.  Hunter was shocked.  "I'm openly gay. For me, it was personally extremely offensive," Hunter said. ….Hunter said other students told him the teacher made the same statement in other classes that day, so he does not believe it was a spur-of-the moment, slip-of-the-tongue thing

The district released a written statement Wednesday: "The District is investigating allegations that a Geneva High School teacher made an inappropriate comment to students on Monday, Oct. 5. These kinds of allegations are always taken seriously, and, if warranted, appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken.

Daily Herald | Geneva teacher accused of making bigoted remarks in class

Naperville North student's death linked to H1N1 virus

A Naperville North High School freshman who died Thursday had H1N1 flu, according to school officials.

However, the DuPage County coroner and health department have not determined whether the virus caused 14-year-old Michelle Fahle's death and will be doing additional tests to determine

Daily Herald | Naperville North student's death linked to H1N1 virus

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Just how did Elgin’s U-46 get into a $53 million hole?

 Belvidere’s District 100 used modified accrual accounting in the ”old days”; but for the last ten years or more has used cash accounting.

The economic downturn hit U-46 much faster than officials expected, he said. The district saw local, state and federal revenues come in last year at $20 million less than budgeted, $10 million short in property taxes alone. At the same time, salary and benefit costs increased beyond what was projected.

The $53.5 million was tallied according to the modified accrual method of accounting, instead of the cash method, which the district used up until this fall. According to Ally, the new method more accurately represents the current situation - or hole - U-46 is in.

Click on the following for the rest of the story:  Daily Herald | Just how did U-46 get into a $53 million hole?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

AP Poll: Third of parents oppose swine flu vaccine - Yahoo! News

concerned about side effects from the new vaccine — even though nothing serious has turned up in tests so far

Giving flu shots to schoolchildren is also an idea many parents are still getting used to

For some parents, fears are compounded by worries about thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative that will be in roughly 60 percent of the 225 million swine flu doses ordered for Americans….it's in many injectable doses….Fears that the preservative or something in vaccines themselves can lead to autism remain entrenched in some quarters — despite no evidence from the most rigorous scientific studies

AP Poll: Third of parents oppose swine flu vaccine - Yahoo! News

Parking ban suit heads to federal court

Until the Carpentersville Village Board passed the ban on vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds last year, [school bus] drivers had been permitted to park their buses in their driveways between routes and overnight.

The injunction and temporary restraining order granted by the circuit court last month claims the ban is in violation of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act —

Parking ban suit heads to federal court :: The Courier News :: Local News

Students, teachers need to be transculturally literate, expert says

Rather than learn about other cultures from a distance, a transcultural approach moves students and teachers toward learning through direct engagement with a culture's members and its perspectives.

From the point-of-view of teacher education, I think it's absolutely critical that we teach our teachers how to think and communicate from a global perspective, so they can teach students how to look at the problems the world faces through a different prism."

Read more about Dr. Dressman’s U of I course by clicking on the following:  The Courier News :: ::

Cary-Grove High School hit by flu outbreak

cary grove high school

: Cary Grove High School ...

given that H1N1 is the dominant flu strain nationwide right now, it is likely that the swine flu was behind the recent outbreak, according to the McHenry County Health Department.

As many as 130 students were absent because of flu-like symptoms on a single day during the past week, according to Crystal Lake High School District 155.

That number, however, had declined to 90 students by Tuesday and 65 on Wednesday, a district spokesman said.

"The trend is going down, and that's a good thing,"

Click on the following for the rest of the story: Daily Herald | Cary-Grove High School hit by flu outbreak

Microsoft Office training vouchers available

 

Here are the P2K drivers for ...

Elevate America program, a collaboration between the state and Microsoft, is providing up to 51,000 vouchers for Microsoft online courses ranging from intermediate-level Office 2003 and Office 2007 to technology skills for IT professionals.
The vouchers were initially targeted at unemployed individuals, but the state has opened the program up to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. The deadline to activate the vouchers is Oct. 31.

Click on the following for more details:  Microsoft Office training vouchers available - - BusinessRockford.com

Tribune sues University of Illinois over applicants’ names

U of I fans brace yourself—more than the President may fall.

University of Illinois ...

The newspaper Tuesday amended a June lawsuit filed in Sangamon County against the university. The Tribune argues that the names on the list are crucial in determining why politicians and others tried to get special treatment for applicants they knew.

The university has denied requests for the names. It says revealing them would violate the applicants’ privacy

Click on the following for the rest of the story:  Tribune sues University of Illinois over applicants’ names - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Elgin’s Gail Borden Library wins top award for US libraries

This library has  a tremendous hands-on activity center for pre-school thru early primary students.  A great place for a free, fun visit for your young readers. 

Gail Borden Public Library

The Gail Borden Public Library has joined a prestigious list of institutions -- including Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, the Birmingham, Ala., Civil Rights Institute, and Michigan's Henry Ford Museum -- that have been named winners of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service

Gail Borden wins top award for US libraries :: The Courier News :: Local News

DeKalb Schools to seek more time to pay back bonds

The move is aimed to keep the tax rate relatively stable for residents in the district, which includes Cortland, DeKalb and Malta

State law requires school districts to pay bonds back in 20 years, but the board wants to ask lawmakers to give them 25 years to pay back bonds that are being issued as part of the $110 million referendum approved last year.

DeKalb Schools to seek more time to pay back bonds | Daily Chronicle

Rumors swirl over Wheaton’s Dist. 200 superintendent

This is the same school district which had a Freedom Of Information request regarding superintendent’s contract go to the Illinois Supreme Court .  Now it may be having trouble with its new superintendent who is taking an unexpected vacation.

Under the superintendent's contract, if he were terminated, the district would have to pay him $200,000 and extend his benefits for one year.

Wheaton resident Mark Stern, whose dispute with the district regarding the openness of the previous superintendent's contract ended up in the Illinois Supreme Court, said the timing of the special meetings concerned him. 

We don't necessarily have the right to know everything that's happening," he said after the meeting. "But my concern is for the process."

Stern said the notice was placed on the district's Web site Monday, just hours before the meeting

Daily Herald | Rumors swirl over Dist. 200 superintendent

FTC to bloggers: Disclose the source of that cash

Just for the record I receive no endorsement money. Nor do I receive advertizing income from this blog.

“… bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.”

Click on the following for more details:  FTC to bloggers: Disclose the source of that cash | csmonitor.com

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Parents want these rules put in corner

Cell-phones, ipods and ball playing.

local school districts [Chicago suburban districts] have drafted many ridiculous policies, some parents say. What's even more annoying is the enforcement of them, or lack thereof, they add.

Click on the following to read more from the Elgin Courier:  The Courier News

Daily Chronicle’s View: Threatening the president isn't a joke

  The president – no matter what his name is – should receive extraordinary protective measures. No one wants the government to overreact or quell free speech.
"They showed up as a courtesy to let me know what was going on," said Genoa Police Chief Patrick Solar said. "I was pleasantly surprised to see them running that type of thing down. There is so much traffic like that on the Internet. The ability to track that was surprising. ... But they take that stuff very, very seriously."

Click on the following to read the entire opinion from the newspaperOur View: Threatening the president isn't a joke | Daily Chronicle

Saturday, October 3, 2009

U of Ill. trustees pick temporary president | Daily Chronicle

Stanley O. Ikenberry ... Stanley Ikenberry

B. Joseph White will continue serving as president until the end of the year. Afterward, Stanley Ikenberry, who led the university from 1979 to 1995, will take over until university leaders find a permanent replacement.

Ikenberry will be paid $62,500 for the rest of this year and then make an annual salary of $450,000 as the temporary president, a university spokesman said.

U of Ill. trustees pick temporary president | Daily Chronicle

Bake Sales Are Banned in New York Schools

Parent groups and Parent-Teacher Associations are conspicuously given an exception: once a month they are allowed to sell as many dark fudge brownies and lemon bars as they please, so long as lunch has ended. And after 6 p.m. on weekdays, anything goes

Roughly 40 percent of the city’s elementary and middle school students are overweight or obese, according to the Education Department

Bake Sales Are Banned in New York Schools - NYTimes.com

Our View: Threatening the president isn't a joke

A commentary by the Daily Chronicle on the “threat” on the President by four Gene0-Kingston high school students.

Our View: Threatening the president isn't a joke | Daily Chronicle

Are school districts really going for transparency?-- A survey of School district’s disclosures of Admin Salaries.

I had some trouble finding District 100’s until directed by Dr. Houselog.  You can reach it directly at:  http://www.district100.com/pdfs/2009_Administrator_Salary_Compensation_Report.pdf

The law mandates districts must post an itemized salary compensation report for every employee with an administrative certificate who is working in that capacity.

a number required a scavenger hunt of sorts to unearth the information.

Elgin Area School District U-46 sent out a news release announcing the move and its decision to go a step further and provide information on noncertified administrators as well as all teachers' salaries.

Kane County's nine school districts met together, looked at different forms, and discussed how to post them, Kane County Regional Office of Education Superintendent Doug Johnson said.

. Nine of 29 DuPage County districts checked, including Salt Creek Elementary District 48, used a maze of drop down tabs and links to access salary information.

Click on the following for the rest of the story:  Daily Herald | Are school districts really going for transparency?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Rising college costs prompt student loan reform

Since the government already guarantees student loans, it should reap the interest payments rather than private lenders that haven't taken on the risk. But the private sector would still be contracted to service and collect the loans, so borrowers should notice little change.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates this shift would save $87 billion over 10 years, which could pay for the Pell Grant increase and other education initiatives.

Other provisions in the bill include funding for community colleges and incentives to improve college graduation rates.

Rising college costs prompt student loan reform | csmonitor.com

DeKalb County Education professionals ask state to fund programs, grants

one in a series of hearings being held throughout the state by ISBE’s Finance and Audit Committee. Members are seeking input on what the Fiscal Year 2011 budget should include. That budget will cover expenses from July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011.

About two dozen educational professionals testified Thursday in front of members of the Illinois State Board of Education, asking them to provide funding for various grants and programs that benefit students and schools.

Education professionals ask state to fund programs, grants | Daily Chronicle

Deciding which kids get to ride the school bus

Matt Vanover, a spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Education, said state law requires all school districts to provide bus transportation to students who live more than 1½ miles away from school or their bus stop.  That's all the state will fund, Strupeck pointed out.

School districts can choose to bus students who live within a mile and a half from school, he said. The state also will fund transportation for students who have special needs if that is required in the individualized education plans developed by their teachers and for routes the Illinois Department of Transportation declares hazardous.

Click on the following for more details regarding busing within 1 1/2 miles:  Deciding which kids get to ride the school bus :: The Courier News :: Local News