Next FPC Meeting 7/1

The school district’s Facilities Planning Committee will meet July 1 at 6:30 p.m. in the Admin Building boardroom. The FPC Advisory Committee will meet the same day, same place at 3 p.m. Says Ivan:

You do know that the money they have from the sale of the bonds is in an account drawing interest already? Now you do. You see, that interest money they make does not have to be used for the purpose of the referendum or for the purpose of paying down the bonds. They can use it for ANYTHING they desire. My guess is talks may be coming around for contracts but I may just be guessing. Several of us still believe that there are many in the administration that did not believe the referendum would pass and now that it did, they are off to the races with their hidden agendas.

I notice they are working on the high school parking lot.

13 thoughts on “Next FPC Meeting 7/1”

  1. Hmm, I think I see contract negotiations on the horizon. I will get $.05 per hour more at Job #3 (which ends up being 4/10 of a percent), coincidently 4/10 of a percent more for job #2, and I expect no increase from my primary job. I am very lucky because not everyone is getting a nickel more per hour.

    How about for all of these contract negotiations, the citizens get together, find out *if* they are getting a pay raise, and offer the school people (and the city people) an average of what all of us will be getting for raises at our jobs, for their raises?

    By the way, avoid looking at Wall Street’s results for today. It was an ugly blood bath.

  2. Kay, average zero of zero and you got my vote… I have not seen a raise for nearly 6 years, and today alone the company layed off 50 people, I am happy to have a job at all at this point.

  3. “Several of us still believe that there are many in the administration that did not believe the referendum would pass and now that it did, they are off to the races with their hidden agendas.”

    IF ANYONE EVER wants another school referendum passed EVER AGAIN, there should be NO hidden agendas. Period.

    The architect and the bond company donating to the last referendum is enough for me to vote NO for the next referendum.

  4. The custodians’ contract was just approved. The teachers are negotiating, and a strike is not outside the realm of possibility. With current budget constraints and the referendum, the Board will need to get creative to accommodate any pay raises. Looking at their salaries already makes me cringe, but, again, it sure is easy to spend other people’s money!

  5. Thanks Ginger! I still go back to what my mother (the retired assistant principal) said about how much DeKalb spends per kid. Right after she said it should be $4,000 (probably closer to $5,000 in this area of the state), she asked how much the teachers made.

    A strike in this economic situation is not very smart, nor would it be smart for the school board to cave and give them unrealistic raises.

  6. Well, you fine people gave the school district a blank check, and now you are surprised that they are spending it on their “private agendas”? Of course they are. I try not to let my own miserable experiences at the hands of the Deweyites color my views of all public educators. I did know a few good ones in my long trudge from kindergarten through my senior year of high school, and some competent ones, but they were generally rather lonely. But, what you are all going to discover is that administration eventually captures the elected officials who are supposed to represent the interests of the people, and keep the bureaucracy under control. Max Weber predicted this, and his insight is plainly obvious in both District 428, and the City of DeKalb. The only check left on bureaucratic empire building is defeating referendums. Any tax increase should be only approved when okayed by the taxpayers. It would also help if both appointed and elected officials were subject to an easily invoked recall system. The current system is obviously not working in the interests of the taxpayers. This is why it is imperative that home rule be revoked in our fair city. It is necessary, though not sufficient in the quest to take the governmental institutions out of the hands of far too powerful appointed officials, and put it back under appropriate democratic control.

  7. That’s fine to think that way Steve. I did not give the school district a blank check. I gave them a vote of support to build a much needed high school. What I did not think is that behind the need of the high school was the agendas that I’m beginning to see. What I did not see is that deals were worked out prior to the referendum with the architect firm and the bond company. What I did not think is that common sense would not prevail in the final steps of drawing the school.

    Much has happened to the economy since the referendum and I do not think that many of us voters realized the economy to be headed for the state it currently is in or fuel prices to increase as they are. Many did not think the city of DeKalb would pull their little budget fiasco the way they did.

    What I’m getting upset with is that we now know that growth is at an all time slow down. We know that sales are not where we anticipated them to be and the chances for the previous numbers projected by the school board for growth within the district is going to be smaller and slower. We DO have the opportunity to divert some the economic backlash that is surely to hit us with we proceed using the original pre-referendum numbers.

    I am happy to hear and see how many times our elected officials and hired staff are wheeling and dealing under the table and behind the scenes to help themselves in other areas. If any interest money from the school bonds are being used for any other project than the schools that were in the referendum, to me it is a crime. I don’t care about the loop holes in the system. What is at stake here is the trust of the community which seems to be something that our officials don’t seem to be too concerned at maintaining.

  8. Ivan, I am not against education. I hold 4 college and university degrees and have taught at the College of Lake County, and currently teach at NIU. I owe the College of Lake County and the Public Administration Division and Department of Political Science here at NIU a great deal. I have also voted for a referendum for Kishwaukee College and one for the DeKalb County Forest Preserve District. Where I see money put to good use, I am not averse to paying more in taxes.

    I also have some public administration experience, and worked mostly in towns hard hit by globalization. I have watched this financial storm as it developed for at least 5 years. We are only now seeing its initial stage here in DeKalb. If you want to see where it is more advanced, take a look at Galesburg, Illinois.

    I am not a DeKalb native. I moved out here to go to NIU in 1973 and fell in love with the place. I grew up in Lake County and was in the first graduating class from Stevenson High School in 1966. I saw the destruction being wrought by greedy and short sighted developers back there, and this was an island of sanity by comparison. I am not averse to development if it is done right, as you do. My father built some of the first houses in Rolling Meadows for Kimball Hill, and most of my relatives worked in construction. I could still mix mortar if needed. But, when you overbuild an entire county, as happened in Lake County, there are considerable and very expensive problems that crop up. During my time here, I have commuted to Schaumburg, Grayslake, Geneva, and the south side of Chicago. I wore out a fair number of cars. My experience is that long distance commuting ensures that your car keeps you in the poorhouse. Now, a large number of people moved out here to buy bigger houses cheaper and then would commute to the Fox Valley for work. I knew all along that this was not sustainable. There simply is not enough work out here to support the growth. Now, with the permanent increases in gas prices, such commuting is doomed. No wonder that growth is faltering. So, the projections for the increased enrollment are faulty. The real need for the referendum is also shaky, and the ability for the repayment of the mountain of debt signed up for by our local governments is not really sustainable, either.

    I feel really sorry for the kids on the south side of DeKalb who are going to be walking all the way to Dresser Road to go to school. Jack Bennett was right about building more neighborhood high schools, and I supported that, even if it cost more initially. But, that would interfere with interscholastic sports, and we certainly could not do that! If the growth stops, and the EAV plummets, along with increased fuel costs, how are we going to afford busing?

    I will shut up. I probably have gotten enough people ticked off at me already on this thread.

    Steve

  9. “Much has happened to the economy since the referendum and I do not think that many of us voters realized the economy to be headed for the state it currently is in or fuel prices to increase as they are. Many did not think the city of DeKalb would pull their little budget fiasco the way they did.”

    Although DHS is in dire straits, I voted “no” to the referendum for 2 reasons: The economy was already heading South, fuel costs were increasing, and with the reassessments and tax increases, it is going to be difficult to stay in my home as it is. Secondly, I don’t trust the School Board and Administration one iota, nor am I surprised there are “unforeseen” problems and hidden agendas. I can only hope that the new Superintendent will bring a fresh perspective to the table. He seems like an approachable and practical guy, but you never know.

  10. Steve, I went back and read my post and I’m still trying to see where I referred to you being against education. I never even once during the referendum accused any no voter to be against education, just against spending those dollars. I voted in support of the referendum because I felt the children of this community needed to have better facilities to ready themselves for the real world. My problem is that I trusted the committee that proposed the new schools. What I failed to do is go a step further and look into the school board and staff to see what they were planning.

    Congratulations on your education accomplishments, truly Steve, but I also don’t think that I questioned any of that either. I believed that staff and school board had learned that without trust from the community, there would be no chance in hell to every pass a referendum. I have strongly reiterated this sentiment during the FPC meetings and I feel that it is falling upon deaf ears.

    I do have to wonder if staff would think differently if they were required to live within the community that they work in. That they would have to pay the same taxes that we pay and that the results of their actions or inactions would be felt in their pockets. I get more and more upset every time I see that government takes advantage of its citizens. Treats us like we don’t know what is good for us and that they are their to protect us from ourselves. The “loop holes” or the “shell games” that are played with the hard earned tax dollars. They know how to work these advantages to their favor and realize that they just legal enough for them not to get into trouble. This is not right and should not be accepted.

    Steve, you also mention feeling sorry for the south side kids having to walk to the north side. What about the north side kids that have walked to the south side since the late 60’s. Jack’s idea of multiple high schools doesn’t work in this community. The community is just not big enough to handle the extra administrative staff that would have been required. Duplicates of everything with 2 high schools. We would have had the fuel problems and busing problems you speak of even if the new schools weren’t being built. At least now with the fuel crisis, more parents may actually put their kids on the bus instead of driving them every morning themselves. Don’t blame this on the new schools and the referendum. When DeKalb High School was initially built, it did not look much different with regards to being in the middle of nowhere. There was not much construction around the site at all.

    And one last thing. DeKalb County is nowhere close to the counties that you mentioned in terms of overbuilding and growth out of control. According to the numbers by the county, only about 8% of DeKalb County is improved. That means 92% is still rock, dirt, water and prairies. I think there is a really good plan in DeKalb County to preserve our farmland and yes it could always be a little bit better but there is room for both as long as managed properly.

  11. Questions…

    1) The bond repayment schedule presented to voters (less than $30 per mo, $200,000 home) was dependent upon $20 million in new construction EAV annually ($60 million total each year). What will the monthly payment be if those numbers fall short?

    2) A debt bond must be repaid regardless of scenario. If property assessments go down, as is expected, how much will the tax rate increase to meet debt repayment obligations?

    3) The architect stated at the last construction committee meeting that the building construction budget for the Cortland grade school and the new high school was $105 million. That figure did not include Dresser Road improvements or Wildflower St improvements. Will there be enough money to convert the existing high school to a jr high; the existing jr high to a grade school; and repurpose Chesebro to a Pre-K facility?

    4) Will the school board force adjustments necessary to reflect the changing economy?

    It is time for faces at the FPC meetings.

  12. Tomorrow evening, July 1st, is the next FPC meeting at the Dist 428 administrative offices.

    Bodies are important here at this time. Everybody needs to understand the importance of making the correct decision today. We DO have the ability to control this.

    I have no problem in stating my feeling one more time at the meeting with my concerns of the projected growth of this community which definitely gives us a different enrollment number over the next 10 to 15 years. Having supporters outside of the FPC committee itself will help drive home the point.

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