Monday, February 22, 2016

UPDATED: D181's Director of Communication's Lack of Transparency is So Transparent it is Laughable!

Sometimes, we are left shaking our heads and laughing as we ask ourselves, "Could they really be that calculating in their lack of transparency?"  By "they," we are referring to Dr. White and his team of administrators.  This time, our focus is on his Director of Communications, Bridgett McGuiggan and in our opinion, the answer to this question is Yes.

Today, D181 families received the weekly E-news Update Ms. McGuiggan pens each week and sends out to all D181 families by email.  We have copied it in its entirety below, but are front loading this post with the first half of our Commentary.

As everyone in the community is well aware, and if not everyone is, certainly the Board Members are, for years now D181 parents, board members and community members have been asking the BOE and Administration to host a real Town Hall Meeting.  In the past, the request was to hold one at which community members could ask questions and raise concerns in a public setting at which any D181 issue would be addressed on the spot.  All such past requests were denied.  So it was refreshing when D181 announced a couple of months ago that it would be hosting a Town Hall meeting on the upcoming HMS referendum, a forum at which community members could ask questions and make comments about the proposed plans to build  a new HMS.

Sadly, it has become clear that the D181 Administration really has no desire to host such a Town Hall meeting, but apparently having scheduled one, it is now doing its best to ensure that it is NOT well attended. Rather than send out Email Reminders to Parents reminding them specifically about the upcoming Town Hall Meeting, the very week the meeting is scheduled for, the weekly D181 E-news literally BURIES all reference to this important opportunity deep within the email that is packed full of detailed information on other upcoming events.

Let's take a look now, before we return to our commentary.

E-News Letter emailed to Parents earlier today:

E-News for Families - February 22, 2016
  • Preschool Open House Tonight
  • Kindergarten Registration Begins Tuesday
  • Documentary Film Screening This Week
  • HMS Open House, Tours Scheduled for March 13
  • Simplify Summer Planning with the Summer Camp Expo 
  • School News and News from Our Community 
  • SELAS Connections: A Look Behind the Mask
Preschool Open House Tonight
Tonight (February 22), we are hosting a Preschool Open House at Oak School (6:30-8pm). All community members are welcomed to stop by and learn more about the Early Childhood Education program we offer for three and four year-old students. Preschool registration is now open and can be completed at Oak during school hours. Space is limited, so we encourage parents to enroll their children as soon as possible. Visit the Preschool section of our website to learn more about the high quality curriculum, outstanding teaching staff, and five-day per week program structure.

Kindergarten Registration Begins Tuesday
We will welcome families for kindergarten registration on Tuesday, February 23 and Wednesday, February 24 at the child's neighborhood elementary school (9am-3pm) and on February 24 at Prospect School for any District family (5:30-7:30pm). Visit the registration section of our website for details on paperwork that will be needed to complete the registration process. Re-registration for current students will begin in April, after spring break.

Documentary Film Screening This Week
The next event in the D86 Community Speaker Series is a screening of the documentary film "The Mask You Live In" which explores the topic of masculinity and its impact on society. Presentations are scheduled for Wednesday, February 24 at Hinsdale Central High School (7pm - Register) and Thursday, February 25 at The Community House (9am - Register). After each presentation, there will be a panel discussion led by local social workers, counselors, and educators. Due to the sensitive and graphic themes presented, viewer discretion is advised. Presentations are free but registration is required.

HMS Open House, Tours Scheduled for March 13
In an effort to provide another opportunity to share information about the HMS referendum and facility challenges at Hinsdale Middle School, we are hosting an Open House and guided tours on Sunday, March 13 at HMS (1-3pm). Parents, residents, and members of the business community are invited to stop by HMS to talk with staff and get an in-person understanding of building issues. Additional upcoming events include a town hall meeting this Thursday, a webinar on Monday, February 29 (live at 12pm) and a presentation on Tuesday, March 1 (10:30am). Click here for event details, and please visit the HMS Referendum section of our website for a variety of resources, reports, FAQs, and information about voting in the March 15, 2016 election.

Simplify Summer Planning with the Summer Camp Expo
All community members are invited to attend the D181 Summer Camp Expo, taking place Thursday, March 10 at Prospect School (6-9pm). This one-stop shop for summer fun and learning opportunities will include representatives from a variety of organizations with camps for sports, fine arts, educational enrichment, special needs, advanced learning, and more. Offerings include programs for children ages preschool through high school. The event is free, and no registration is required. Children are welcome! Please visit the Family Education Events page of our website for information on each of our upcoming events.

School News and News from Our Community
Visit our website's News page to see the latest press releases on school stories, like service learning projects, an interactive in-school field trip on simple machines, and our most recent Ambassador of Excellence Awards where students were honored for success in art, language arts, and athletics. In our Community Backpack, you can view and download the latest in local organization fliers. Also, be sure to visit The Community House website for information on the annual "Band Together" event being hosted Saturday, March 5th. The event includes live performances, an art sale, and food/drinks, and benefits the Willowbrook Corner Youth Learning Center.

SELAS Connections: A Look Behind the Mask
By many measures, boys struggle more than girls do as they grow up today. Rates for learning problems, substance abuse, violence, dropping out, and suicide are more prevalent among boys. The question is how America’s definition of masculinity is impacting boys, men, and society at large. The documentary film "The Mask You Live In" explores masculinity in American culture through the lens of the media, athletics, and gender stereotypes.

The 87-minute “Youth Version” of the documentary will be presented as part of the Community Speaker Series, as noted above. The film aims to provide a compelling look at the difficulties many boys and men face in American society today as well as strategies to develop media literacy and understanding of the ways gender stereotypes impact our self concepts and interpersonal relationships. Please remember that viewer discretion is advised. There are two versions of the documentary, the 90-minute feature length film and the 87-minute “Youth Version.” While neither version has been rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), both sessions of the Series will feature the “Youth Version.” This documentary contains language that some may find objectionable as well as some graphic footage related to drinking, drugs, sexuality and abuse. 

"The Mask You Live In" is relevant to both men and women - anyone who has boys and men in their lives. It presents a new perspective on the role masculinity plays in our culture, how it affects all of our interpersonal relationships, and how we raise and treat our boys. 


Have a great week!

Bridget McGuiggan, APR
Director of Communications
Community Consolidated School District 181
On Twitter @CCSD181
We have highlighted in RED the portion of the E-News that deals with the HMS Referendum.  We would like to point out the obvious:
1.  Other than the HMS Referendum events, all of the other upcoming events are referenced with a Heading that explains the specific topic being addressed.  
2.  The "Heading" dealing with the HMS Referendum not only does NOT mention the Referendum, it also does not reference the FIRST upcoming event -- namely, the February 25, 2015 TOWN HALL MEETING.  
3.  In fact, not only does the Heading NOT refer to the 2/25 Town Hall Meeting, the paragraph within the email, DOES NOT provide the ACTUAL DATE of the Town Hall Meeting (it just says "Thursday"),  nor the TIME the town hall meeting will start or the LOCATION of the Town Hall Meeting! Instead, it suggests parents take an extra step to click on a separate link to take them to the full D181 website.  (Now really, how many parents are going to take the time to do this, since most will expect that the critical information will be highlighted in the E-Newsletter?)
4.  The BRIEF reference to the ALL IMPORTANT Town Hall Meeting is literally BURIED --  sandwiched --  between reference to a March 13 Open House and a February 29 Webinar, both events specifying their actual date, location and time.
We could spell out in great detail the significance of this LACK OF INFORMATION provided by Ms. McGuiggan, but we know our Readers don't need us to do that.  It is plain as day what Dr. White allowed Ms. McGuiggan to do with this newsletter.  By simply referencing the Town Hall Meeting they can say they "got the word out." The two of them can claim LATER (probably on Friday morning, February 26) that "Oops" they made a mistake in not providing more information.  Or perhaps, they won't even acknowledge their "mistake" and instead will simply tell the BOE that the Town Hall Meeting was SO POORLY attended that it is clear that the community doesn't really want to have such engagement events.
Whatever happens, their lack of transparency SHOULD NOT be ignored by D181's parents, community members and taxpayers.  Ms. McGuiggan makes an awful lot of money to be making such "mistakes.''  According to a Report posted on Board Docs, in 2014-2015 she made a base salary of $89,065 and received additional benefits totaling $31,340.16 PLUS 20 sick days and 20 vacation days (and of course, those don't include the Legal Holidays that all D181 employees get off).  And that's before the raise she got for the 2015-2016 school year.  (Source:$file/D181%202014-15%20Teacher%20%26%20Administrator%20Salary%20%26%20Benefits%20Report%20Sheet1.pdf)
Is it too much to expect that in her detailed E-Newsletter, such a highly paid director of COMMUNICATIONS can provide the parents with FULL information about the ONLY TOWN HALL MEETING that has EVER been scheduled in D181's history during the VERY WEEK it is being HELD?
Really, is it too much to expect? 

UPDATE:  We encourage all of our readers to attend the FIRST EVER D181 Town Hall Meeting. 

Date:  Thursday, February 25, 2016
Time:  6:30 to 8:30 pm.
Place:  Hinsdale Middle School
Topic:  The HMS Referendum


HMS Parent said...

Bloggers: Your latest post is really timely! Today, the pro-referendum Facebook page posted the following: "If you're like us, and believe in the the administrators we hired to run our schools--the officials we elected to represent us on the Board of Education-- and our fellow citizens with expertise in architecture, engineering, and construction who volunteered hundreds, if not thousands of hours, on the facilities committee to bring us the plan for HMS that is the best solution for our students, our property values and our community then the vote is simple."

When I read this Facebook post it really shocked me that such smart community members as the ones I know are running this committee could possibly "believe in the administrators", let alone suggest that they -- "we" -- hired them! The administrators were NOT hired by the community. If the community had any say in their employments, most if not all of the administrators would have been fired long ago. Actions such as the ones pointed out in today's parent blog post should make the pro-referendum committee pause and question just what the heck is really going on.

They are right on one thing, the vote is simple and my vote will be NO!

Anonymous said...

The Director of Communications should be embarrassed. And fired!

Anonymous said...

A public school system shouldn't have a pr person. It should have factual straightforward communication that clearly spells out the good and the bad. No fluff. No glossing over. No manipulations. Wasn't communication ranked ridicously low among all stakeholders in the ECRA report?

Anonymous said...

Anyone see the article on the front page of the Tribune today about Highland Park District 112. They are building a huge middle school to house all their middle school students (1800), they are closing some neighborhood schools and consolidating others to save administrative costs, principals salaries etc. Very controversial and divisive in the community. Worth looking at given what is happening here.

Article is here:

I went on D112 website and found their project information here:

Cost of middle school for 1800 students is projected to be $84 million I believe.

Anonymous said...

Misinformation (or lack thereof) seems to be the way the Administration and the Pro-Referendum committee have decided to play this game. On the Vote Yes For HMS Facebook page this morning, someone posted a comment saying that while a supporter of the referendum, more information is needed about what will happen if the referendum fails. The Vote Yes for HMS reply was:

"Vote Yes For HMS A 650-point building audit identified an estimated $3.4 million in system / operational repairs and replacements that are needed over the next ten years, in addition to a complete roof replacement, previously estimated at over $2.33 million. All of this information can be found at Also, a Regional Office of Education report found over $50 thousand in other findings. But that's just financial. Some of the things we've heard from community members is that if it doesn't pass parents will perhaps want other options considered such as a redistricting to take some pressure off of that building, or a lottery system for randomly assigning district students to a school."

Note the last sentence that suggests that a lottery system may be implemented to randomly assign district students to a school? It is really unbelievable that this committee would attempt to convince people to vote yes by fear-mongering. Anyone who has listened to the Facilities Committee meetings and the BOE meetings knows that this option has NEVER been discussed.

So word to the Vote Yessers -- STOP LYING!

jay_wick said...

Hopefully the folks who have the FB page that supports the current proposal will at least stick to the facts.

I shared this to politely remind them there has been no list of dire consequences to student learning if the status quo is maintained; the potential for a poorly thought out "solution" may be worse than simply slowing down and having a comprehensive view of what is the best way to move forward:

"There has never been any discussion by the current BOE or administration about any immediate changes to the current situation should the referendum not be approved this March. The preliminary construction schedule laid out by the architects shows that building on the current HMS site would take every bit of two full school years, necessitating several costly reconfigurations of the mobiles as well as destruction and eventual reconstruction of the athletic field west of the school. None of the issues in the maintenance report are so pressing as to been undertaken with haste.
Neither has there been any discussion by the BOE or administration of changes to attendance boundaries, lotteries or any other such changes. To suggest such things is simply not in the realm of facts and enters into distasteful fear-mongering..."

Anonymous said...

Way to go Jay Wick!

Anonymous said...

The Facebook page deleted Wick's comment and did not correct their misinformation

Yvonne Mayer said...

I am disappointed that the Facebook page deleted his comment. I posted an inquiry about their deletion and they deleted my question. I have just copied his comment from this blog and resubmitted it to their Facebook page, asking them not to delete it since it really is relevant. I hope they keep it up, because they look silly to keep deleting it. He was obviously responding to the question another parent asked. So now they get to decide whose answers to publish, and delete those of a highly respected community member who recently ran for the BOE? They look silly and childish to be deleting his comment.

Anonymous said...

Not enough families know this blog exists. Families that regularly read this blog need to forward the link to this blog to every D181 family they know.

We need to combat the propaganda being shoved down our throats by Doc White and his sheep.

Anonymous said...

We have administrators who couldn't administrate their way out of a paper bag. We have teachers who can't teach. We have a special education department that allows our special education children to languish. We have no advanced learning program to speak of. Of course, we have a PRopaganda person who is a tool for White. Bridget is no communications director. Talk to her sometime; you would be shocked and amazed that she is so overpaid. Our taxes dollars are at work for White.

Can't wait to see our pretty, new school and watch our children continue to decline.

Anonymous said...

Yvonne Mayer -- What a great idea! Maybe others should start copying information found on this blog and submitting it to the Pro-referendum Facebook page? Bet they'd love that!

Anonymous said...

I believe the Administration and the Facility Committee are not talking about future needs because they want the HMS issues to stand on their own. Focus should be on the current facility issues that are impacting half of our middle school children. Not adding the "if not, then what" component is very responsible in considering this referendum.

Take a few moments to consider the impact of this referendum not passing and what that will mean for this Community that has in the past, valued the best for all our children.

When the CHMS referendum finally passed, there were so many concerns throughout our entire Community as to 1) who would attend that school, 2) what would it mean to our students and their teachers, 3) how would this impact our neighborhood school
preference, etc. It turned so positive for our middle school kids then. And that is what we should be focused on now. What is the very best for all our middle school children.

Anonymous said...

11:36, hopefully we won't see a pretty new school. Hopefully, after the referendum fails, we will see a new administration and some common sense and a full vetting of all options.

This blog has never really criticized teachers. Most of the focus is rightly on weak overpaid administrators and the spineless Boards that are supposed to oversee them.

I know they are generously paid, but don't think we should make blanket statements that "we have teachers that can't teach". Our children had several tenured teachers that were getting up in years that were clearly mailing it in, but the majority were good hard working people. D181 teachers are very hamstrung by the constant changes of direction and the lack of a good curriculum and clear differentiation standards.

Anonymous said...

12:02, I agree. The administration is the chief concern. We need competent people who know their stuff and have a passion for their jobs, not people who only go through the motions until they find a superintendent position. There may be a few truly bad teachers here and there, but the rest just can't keep up with the changes and don't have the appropriate administrative support. I just wonder how many things the teachers know about the curriculum that the department of learning has no clue about.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Doc White should go on a "journey" and have some "conversations" with the pro-referendum group to set them straight on their talking points.

Yvonne Mayer said...

I am glad to report that the Vote Yes For HMS Facebook page has not deleted John Czerwiec's comment now that I resubmitted it. I do agree with 12:35 above that if the administration and BOE have not discussed a lottery or redistricting as steps that will be considered if the referendum fails, they should ask the Vote Yes people to point this out. Best not to have the Vote Yes committee members disseminating or publishing misinformation. That won't help their cause.

Anonymous said...

I want to compliment this blog for their willingness to publish all opinions that address specific D181 issues.

Administration issues seem to be the focus for the above statements. That is not the cause behind this referendum and needs to be separated. This referendum is about the facility needs of our children and what is necessary to give them our very best. While concerns about curriculum, leadership and direction are vital and important issues to be involved with, right now we have in front of us a referendum that will impact a very basic foundation for education. Let's give half of our kids, like we did before, a facility that will support student numbers and educationally appropriate space.

Anonymous said...

1:37pm - I agree with most of your comment. Where I disagree with you is that what is being proposed for a new HMS is not what we gave half of our kids. CHMS is a very reasonable school.

The plans for a new HMS and the associated cost are way out of line. If we could build another CHMS-like school (adjusted, as needed, for a larger population), I would vote Yes. However, as the plans currently stand and with a cost that will amount to way more than $65 million when all is said and done, my vote is NO.

Parent of 4 kids -- 2 in D181 , 2 in D86 said...

Yes, thank you bloggers for presenting all opinions. My opinion is pretty straightforward. I support a plan to build a new HMS, but it has to be the right plan. In my opinion, the plan needs to be developed in the broader context of everything else the district has to pay for now and will have to pay for in the future. The plan also needs to be developed in the broader context of the state of the economy and the financial state of Illinois. In my opinion, Illinois is in a dire financial state. Anyone who googles "financial state of Illinois" will pull up countless articles addressing the problems Illinois is facing and the questions raised focus on how to straighten out the financial disorder. Many legislative proposals have been, and continue to be, floated and while Dr. White recently (correctly) pointed out that none have come to fruition yet, I believe he is wrong to say that we can't base district decisions on "what if's." At some point, one or more of the legislative proposals MUST be approved or else the state will go bankrupt. So the real question for D181 is what will happen if some of these legislative proposals pass, and the answer is that it will lose funding, either through SPED money it has previously received, or a freeze in property taxes that will result in less revenue being collected (while contracted expenses, such as teacher raises, continue to increase). Or worse yet, there may be a bill that causes school districts to assume the pension liabilities, which will cause D181 to have to spend millions on funding pensions rather than on existing programs. Sure, D181 has a reserve account right now that could be spent down to fund some of these losses, but how long would that last before the administration and BOE will have to discuss and approve cuts. The cuts would come in either cutting teachers, administrators or services. All of these rainy day scenarios should be considered by each one of us -- parents, taxpayers, administrators and BOE members. I don't think they have really been discussed, let alone vetted and certainly, no "plan" has been developed to address the "what if's" that any fiscally responsible person should address before deciding to add to the district's liabilities and debt to the tune of $89 million (the real cost to taxpayers of the $65 million dollar referendum question). So while a new facility may be in order, it cannot be one that requires the expenditure of millions of dollars on wants. At least not at this time. An auditorium might be a nice to have, but it is not a need to have. And it costs millions. An elevated running track might be a nice to have, but it is not a need to have. Kids have run around the perimeter of a gym for decades and can continue to do so. Community members can go run on the outdoor track at Hinsdale Central's football field, or perhaps the high school can open ITS doors to allow community members to run around the indoor track in their field house. A turf field, while a nice to have, isn't a need to have. Same with a $400,000 skylight in the atrium (if that is still part of the new proposal G). I'd rather my kids' class sizes remain smaller, and teachers not have to be fired, because the district runs out of money. I'd rather, the district consider adding more foreign language or other academic programs rather than spend millions on an auditorium. So, for me, its not about the administrators or board members (whether or not they are idiots or incompetent or deceptive or any of the myriad of names that have been leveled against them). For me it is about the plan. And for me, this plan is not the right plan at the right time. If a more responsible plan is developed that is part of a BROADER plan on how the district will address state funding cuts and reallocation of pension liabilities and property tax freezes without having to cut programs and teachers, then I may vote yes in the future. But on March 15, my vote on THIS plan will be NO.

Anonymous said...

1:37, thank you for your comment. I enjoy seeing a variety of opinions about this topic. I also look at the FB page of the YES for HMS from time to time.

For me, it is difficult, if not impossible to separate the D181 administration from the referendum issue. I happen to believe that we need a new HMS, but believe this process is rushed, flawed and way too expensive. This is the administration group that could not get the 4 portables installed at HMS in time for school to start. How are they going to manage a complex construction project?

We have 5th graders that don't know the math facts my children learned in 2nd and 3rd grade. We seem to have stopped stressing basics like vocabulary and spelling. The rollout of common core has been a mess.

How are they going to fix the curricula and special ed, and differentiated learning for our top one third and manage this project?

It is a lot for even a really competent administration to manage.

I am pretty sure the last major expansion effort was headed by Dr. Mary Curley. I thought she was just average and very overpaid, but based on recent history she was Ronald Reagan, FDR, and Abraham Lincoln all rolled into one! But even in that reasonably competent administration, there were accounting goofups and errors with property tax collection, among other things. My point is that we need really good people to entrust with our tax dollars and a very full plate of serious issues.

Our friends at The Hinsdalean stated last week, that the inflation adjusted cost of CHMS in today's dollars is $35 million. So why $65 million for a new school?

Many people do not recall it took multiple votes to get CHMS passed and the other schools built and upgraded. There were some bad ideas that were shot down along the way. Even in this supposedly hyper critical community, I typically hear good things about those buildings we built ( CHMS, Prospect, Walker) and those we upgraded.

We will get HMS fixed. This is likely not the administration to manage that project. We will likely not spend $65 million. It may not even be at that location. It may be two smaller schools. The current building is safe, if not very pleasant to look at or even to work in. I drive by Monroe school and Madison school nearly every day. Those attractive buildings were first started something like 80 years ago. It is an outrage that a school built in 1976 that sits on a prime piece of real estate needs to be torn down and replaced. What ever we do needs to last until at least the year 2100 if not longer. Let's take another 6 to 12 to 18 months and get it done right.

Anonymous said...

Curriculum, Administrative and other personnel issues are not under the same tax/financial umbrella as facility issues. This referendum is only about a physical building that is draining our tax dollars and more importantly, physically restricting the educational possibilities for our children.

Please separate these issues and consider the importance of giving half of our middle school children the very best place to learn and grow. It's what D181 is known for and why so many of us want our children in this system.

Anonymous said...

To me it doesn't matter if the curriculum, administrative and other personnel issues are under a different umbrella. If the administration can't handle their primary role in a satisfactory manner, they probably can't handle something such as a major build.

Anonymous said...

I am a community member that reads this blog and generally agrees with a lot of what is said. While it seems the referendum may not pass this time around, there has been a lot of angst stirred up over HMS. I think the status quo will not continue after a failure of the referendum. The parents of current and future students at HMS are not likely to go quietly into the night. Whether or not there are official statements from the district regarding contingencies post referendum, I think we have to be realistic that there will be calls for rethinking which students get assigned to which schools. I don't think that is fear mongering, nor do I think it's unjustified. The fact that it has been labeled fear mongering, seems to indicated that people are afraid their kids might have to attend HMS; which is telling...

Anonymous said...

Many of our credible and professional Community members have given much of their time to "handle something such as a major build". We need to trust in them for this separate building issue which impacts half of our children. It's relying on those in our District who have expertise,history and experience.

The curricular issues are separate but also need the help of our educated and informed community. Parents who are on the ground level supporting their children. It's good, right and very appropriate.

Anonymous said...

It's probably easier to say curriculum and building are 2 different issues if you haven't had a child caught up in this mess- with another about to enter it. The project will take off any pressure to fix the curriculum mess.

Anonymous said...

3:43 and 4:53, So today's talking point is let's separate the crappy HMS building from the disaster that is our curriculum and the financial mess in the State of Illinois.

What has been lacking from Day 1 is leadership. No one seems to be in charge. The architects and contractors sense this and they respond with last minute changes and massive cost increases.

Pray tell, who is going to lead this project on a day to day basis to completion? Who has been leading this project for the past 12 months? What is the role of the elected school board in all this? They have been very reactive and have clearly not been driving the train. We have a bunch of admin employees making very high salaries ( add the pension, health care, etc.) What is their role supposed to be?

People vote for higher taxes when they trust the group that will spend their money. When they trust that projects are thought through, well vetted, and that common sense alternatives have been fully explored. When they trust that all stakeholders have been consulted. This projects smacks of same old tax and spend.

If you two have specific answers as to who has signed up to be the community representative/construction manager, I would love to hear it.

Anonymous said...

The curriculum issue is for all grade levels in our District and is an appropriate and very concerning issue for every parent. We need to be constantly monitoring and reinforcing the concern that we see with our children at home.

The "construction manager" will be the delegated professionals who have designed and created other educational facilities. Not our District Administration. For me, that knowledge is important. I trust our extremely professional Community volunteers, who have given their time and expertise, with choosing this group.

Jill Quinones said...

"The fact that it has been labeled fear mongering, seems to indicated that people are afraid their kids might have to attend HMS; which is telling..."

First, any kind of redistricting, whether because of a bricks and mortar or other reason, is not something most parents want to see NOT because one physical building may be better or worse than another, but because they build relationships within the school, especially if they have more than one child - relationships with teachers, administrators and other staff. Relationships with PTO. Not to mention the relationships among and between the students. Can new relationships be forged - of course, but most families would rather not have to do that if not absolutely necessary. My principal knows me. He knows what a pain I can be, but also when what I am saying can be trusted. he did not know this about me the first year or 2 he know me, however. Same as to some of the teachers. Although my kids are too old to have this impact them, I have taught at HMS. I would not "fear" them going to HMS, but I would not look forward to having to rebuild all of those relationships because of one failed referendum for a building that many other community experts think was not well thought out.

That said, what should be happening is that the BOE, Administration and all of the community members with expertise should be working on 2 plans right now so that we don't have another last minute decision making process. The first should be what happens next if the referendum passes - how do you keep educating kids properly while you build. Where do the mobiles go and how do you get kids across the street in the middle of the winter - and other logistics such as these. The second should be what are the next steps if the referendum does not pass. Re-bid, 2nd referendum for same building? Other options? Neither of these plans should wait until after the election. Perhaps these plans are being worked on. If so, I would like to see this information on the Vote Yes website and being sent to parents. Not lists of "what might happen" thrown out with no basis.

Anonymous said...

Lottery/redistricting involves so much more than switching buildings. It takes away neighborhood schools. Kids can no longer walk to school, friends and siblings are split up, long bus rides and so much more. Most people support a new school. If a fiscally conservative plan is presented that is well thought out and vetted then everyone will vote yes. Unfortunately this plan is not that.

Anonymous said...

If our children can be assigned to a different middle school, I'm requesting McClure Junior High in Western Springs. The most recent ISAT and PARCC scores are higher there than those of HMS students. I looked at ISAT and PARCC because too many administrators in this district claim that PARCC is new, the common core is a know excuses for why our children's scores are decreasing. Check the IL Report Card on

The average per pupil spending in Western Springs is $9608. Compare that to D181's average per pupil spend of $16,674.

That is a difference of $7066 per pupil yet their test scores are higher generally. I wonder how Doc White and the BOE, specifically Turek and Clarin, would account for the tremendous per student difference.

Those statistics should be sufficient for anyone of sound mind to question the administrators in this district and whether they can pull off the construction of a new building.

Anonymous said...

To 343, the idea that we have different pots of money to draw from and one is not dependent on the other is illogical in this environment. Yes, in any organization, including a school district, the capital expenditures and the operational expenditures are treated differently. It makes sense to borrow for one, and not the other. The two are tracked differently. And, in most circumstances, you can plan for each differently. But, it is all one pot of money to divide up. I agree that in normal times, it might make sense to not consider future operational issues in determining whether to float bonds for a new school. What you are missing, however, is that these are extraordinary times in our state and our area. Everyone agrees that our state is out of money--it cannot pay our bills. Nobody can agree on should be done about it. At some time, however, a solution will be forced upon Illinois residents because we will be out of money, as with any other Ponzi scheme. You can already see it starting, as courts order payments to be made without legislative approval. In other states, courts have ordered payments to be made to poorer school districts because the courts have found it unconstitutional to let some kids receive a great education and others learn nothing. CPS is clamoring for more money, its teachers are going on strike. And here we sit, in the judgment of the whole world, sitting in luxury, on our piles of money. Do you really think that when the books of Illinois are balanced, they won't be balanced on our backs, either by radically higher tax rates, or by cutting monies payable to school districts such as ours. Do you think we can just sit out the coming reckoning. Oh, and by the way, despite the judgment of the whole world, not everybody here is sitting on piles of money. So, my fear is that when the reckoning comes, and our operational funds are cut, and we need to go to the community for more money, we see our 65 million dollar luxury HMS going up and we don't get the money. I would much rather wait until we figure out what is going to happen in Illinois and what will happen to us. On top of all of that, the process has been a joke. The entire process was to avoid paying 65 million dollars for a new school, and now we are anyway. I get why people want a new school, what I don't get is why here, in Illinois, after all the years of making decisions based on what people want, rather than what they can afford, we are going to do it anyway. Count me out.