May 14 2015

District 86 Continues Tradition of Excellence

Published by under Association News

US News and World Report ranked District 86 schools among the best in the state, again.  Central ranks #11 and South ranks #32.  Both schools are also among the top 3% of schools nationally.

While rankings do not tell the whole story behind our excellent schools, they affirm that our schools are still the best of the best.

 

 

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May 04 2015

Breaking: Court Denies Manley’s Request

Published by under Association News

According to The Doings, A DuPage County judge denied Claudia Manley’s request to halt an investigation of her alarming treatment of a student.

From The Doings:

But DuPage County Judge Terence Sheen denied the request, saying the Manleys had failed to establish how being subject to the district’s procedure would constitute intimidation, harassment, bullying or defamation.

“By virtue of her position as an elected member of the board, Claudia is a public figure,” Judge Sheen wrote. “Members of the public have the right to question her conduct, file complaints against her, and even request her resignation.”

Manley filed the suit through her attorney, Bruce Davidson, a long-time Skoda ally.  The suit alleged that the investigation of Manley’s alarming behavior would damage Claudia and Noel Manley’s “reputation and personal well-being”.

In his denial of the Manelys’ request, Judge Sheen noted several other problems with their suit.

From The Doings:

The judge also disagreed with another of the Manleys’ argument in their lawsuit, that the board policy, which addresses advertising and sponsorships, clearly prohibits the campaigning Sullivan and Dupont were doing outside Hinsdale South.

“This policy may constitute prior restraint of free speech,” Sheen wrote.

Regardless, Claudia Manley acting alone did not have the authority to enforce a board policy, Sheen wrote.

“Here, she took matters into her own hands to . . . enforce board policy. She has no power to do so, just like any member of the community would not have the individual power to act,” Sheen wrote.

The Manleys and Davidson did not indicate their next step.

 

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Apr 27 2015

“this simple change”

Published by under Association News,Board Notes

From Roger Kempa’s letter on March 3, 2014, suggesting the District invest with IMET:

That will leave an estimated $25,800,000 earning 0.3709%,or $95,692 versus $13,980 without the planned change. As comparative example on an annual basis, this simple change means additional interest income of $81,712.

“This simple change.”  Just drop 43,000,000 dollars into a fund, including tax dollars that are meant to fund daily operations for our schools, then lose access to $1,200,000.

The problem here is the thought process that running schools is “simple.”  Mr. Kempa, the Treasurer under Finance Committee Chair Ed Corcoran, outlines a belief that many “reformers” of public education espouse: that those running our schools just aren’t smart enough to do it. That principles from other industries, like business, technology or medicine are applicable in whole, without modification, to education. That if administrators or board members could just use the wisdom they have gained from other exploits while running school districts, everything would be better.

Losing $1,200,000 ought to temper this enthusiasm.  It isn’t just “simple.”  Running school districts requires experience and collaboration.  Running school districts isn’t about the lowest bidder, but the best outcome.  Running a school district isn’t about pursuing a political agenda but about doing what’s best for students.  Most of the time, those aren’t necessarily “simple” changes.  School districts are complicated.  Not simple.

It’s been an expensive lesson.

 

 

 

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Apr 26 2015

S & P Counters Corcoran’s Claims – Pension Obligations “low”

Published by under Association News

Despite all of the bluster and political posturing from Mr. Corcoran and his allies during recent negotiations, a new report from S & P, a respected, international ratings agency, shows that the District is in excellent financial shape, that the system works as it currently exists, and that no dramatic changes need to be made for the tradition of excellence to continue in the District.

Even though Mr. Corcoran and his allies claimed that the teachers’ contract would create deficits, the report clarifies that District 86 had a surplus of 1.6 million dollars in 2014.

Mr. Corcoran also led many to believe that pension obligations would sink the district’s finances.  The report counters that claim as well, citing pension obligations’ “minimal impact” on District finances.

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Apr 25 2015

A Sad Day

Published by under Association News

The announcement on Friday that a former part-time teacher is being criminally charged saddens us deeply.  Nothing is more important than the safety of our students and criminal behavior like this is reprehensible.

“It’s a tragedy,” said HHSTA President, John Bowman.”This person breached a trust that should be inviolable.”

Teachers in the HHSTA place the utmost importance on the physical and emotional well-being of the students of Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South and will continue to work to ensure the safety of every student.

 

 

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Apr 25 2015

Will Skoda Appoint Himself to Board?

Published by under Association News

Instead of following the procedures outlined in Board policy, Skoda has personally added an agenda item for the April 27th Board meeting which may be a final attempt by the Skoda Majority to disregard its policy and appoint one of their own to the board.

Please attend the board meeting and encourage all current board members to do everything they can to prevent the Skoda Majority from pulling one last deception on the community.

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Apr 12 2015

District 86 loses $1,200,000 from bad investment

Published by under Board Notes

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that District 86 has suffered a 1.2 million dollar investment loss.

According to the Tribune:

The loss hit some public bodies especially hard because they had deposited in IMET property tax receipts received in September. Hinsdale High School District 86, for example, had $17 million in the Convenience Fund in August, said Bill Eagan, chief financial officer. That account ballooned to $43.2 million the next month.

After making an initial investment, the Skoda Majority decided to include tax receipts – money it receives through property taxes – into the Fund.

The devastating financial losses are the 2nd highest loss for a K-12 school district.  Only Proviso Township schools lost more at just over 2 million.

In 2012, IMET began investing investing in sham investments with a Florida company run by a 31 year old CEO, instead of the more typical investments for public entities.

District 86 began investing in IMET shortly afterward in March of 2014 under the Finance Committee leadership of Mr. Corcoran and at the behest of Roger Kempa, a Skoda Majority appointee whose employment was approved less than a month earlier at the February 24th board meeting.

 

 

 

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