Our hopes for the D181 Administration:
A calm, of sorts, has settled over the district as Dr. White has spent his first six months getting to know his administrators, teachers, students and district parents. We give Dr. White a grade of "B-" for the job he has done so far. He would probably have earned closer to an "A" if he had made what we believe are necessary changes to the Department of Learning. Rather than promoting Kurt Schneider to run the entire department (regular education services, gifted education services and special education services), and changing Dawn Benaitis' job description and responsibilities to provide her with more "duck and cover" from her inability (in our opinion) to effectively serve as director of assessment, Dr. White should have hired real experts in the areas of curriculum and assessment to run the Department of Learning, make data driven decisions and fix (once and for all) the Learning for All mess.
We want to express our continuing hope that well before the board votes on the possible renewal of any administrators' contracts (by April 1, 2014 -- and something that unfortunately will be one of the last acts the current BOE votes on before the new board is seated), Dr. White will announce that real change will take place for the 2015-2016 school year. We hope that he either recommends that Dr. Schneider be reassigned to oversee Special Ed only -- since that was what he was originally hired to do -- or that his contract not be renewed at all. In addition, we hope Dr. White will not recommend renewing Ms. Benaitis' contract. If he chooses to recommend her contract renewal or the continuation of Dr. Schneider as Assistant Superintendent of the entire Department of Learning, we expect the Board of Education to seriously question these recommendations and do more than simply rubber stamp them. Instead, the BOE should ask Dr. White to publicly discuss what value both of these administrators have brought to the district in their current jobs, and what specifically they have done to fix the problems caused by their insistence on implementing the Learning for All Plan over the last three years.
Our hopes for the Board of Education:
We are thrilled to report that there will be change on the D181 Board of Education following the April 7 election. As everyone knows, 4 seats are up for election. Good riddance to Mike Nelson and Glen Yaeger who thankfully have chosen not to run for reelection. Nelson's chronic absenteeism and Yaeger's nasty attitude towards community members will not be missed. Sadly, Brendan Heneghan will also be stepping off the board. We cannot thank him enough for all of the positive things he has advocated for and the tough questions he has asked about the curriculum debacle the Schuster administration created. Mr. Heneghan, your integrity, commitment, hard work, preparation for and participation during board meetings will be missed but not forgotten.
So we will definitely have 3, hopefully 4, new board members. Mr. Turek, as everyone already knows, has chosen to run for reelection. In our opinion, that is a real shame because we believe he has done a horrendous job as a publicly elected official. We have already published a list of 13 reasons why he should not be reelected, and our list will continue to grow. The list is made up Mr. Turek's specific actions, statements and positions over the last couple of years in his capacity not only as a board member, but also as the Board President. We hope our readers will carefully consider his actions and agree with our conclusion that he must not be reelected.
So who will fill the four board seats? The D181 election will be contested and not just decided with
the rubber stamping by the community of the four candidates the "Caucus" selected. In addition to Turek, the following five D181 residents (in alphabetical order) have filed petitions:
Amy Antrim McCurry
In the next couple of months we will post information on each of these candidates. We encourage all of you to "school yourselves" on the positions the five candidates take on education issues. We look forward to hearing what they have to say during live debates and reading their press interviews and answers they give to the local press's questions. For now, we have chosen to simply let our readers sound off. We have already received comments about the candidates from readers who submitted them to our series on reasons not to reelect Marty Turek. The comments are copied below for all to read.
Let us know what you think about some of the concerns our readers have raised -- especially as they relate to the candidate who will bring an obvious conflict of interest to the BOE should she be elected.
Tomorrow we will continue our series on Marty Turek, so please check back! In the meantime, we hope for a very short Polar Vortex this year! Stay inside and stay warm everyone!
Reader Comments on Candidates (other than Turek):
I was disappointed, however, to read that Amy McCurry is running for D181. She is a paid parent liaison for the district who reports directly to Dr. Schneider. I find it curious that she submitted her candidacy paperwork in the last hour of the petition window. Could it be that someone put her up to it hoping to stack the board with a "loyal soldier"? More importantly, should she win, won't it be a conflict of interest to have a board member who is also a paid employee of the district? How will she be able to vote on any issue that she is involved in directly or indirectly as a paid employee -- in SPED, SELAS and Curriculum issues? She told the Doing's reporter I that she will "likely" step down if she wins. I think she needs to commit to resigning from her paid D181 position if she really expects anyone to take her seriously as a candidate.
The board of education and the administration need to be separate entities. Having a district employee as a member of the boe creates divided loyalties on a whole host of issues, including the hiring and firing of administration officials. It is just wrong and it offends me as a taxpayer.