Arrogant And Disrespectful, Or Simply Petty And Juvenile?


Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 School Board president John Heyde’s got a secret: He knows who the next District 64 superintendant is going to be, and he’s not telling.

Whether they are being arrogant, disrespectful, or just plain petty and juvenile, Heyde and his accomplices on the School Board (Pat Fioretto, Russ Gentile, Sharon Lawson, Ted Smart, Genie Taddeo and Eric Uhlig) have decided to play games with the taxpayers, as evidenced by District 64’s posting of “An Invitation from Board President John Heyde” [txt] to meet the “preferred candidate” that the School Board has chosen as the new superintendent to replace the retiring Sally Pryor.

The superintendent effectively is the chief executive officer of the District, the governmental body that consumes about one-third of our property tax revenue and is responsible for educating thousands of our children.  And as the District repeatedly reminds the taxpayers when it comes to us for more money, “the schools” are what keep Park Ridge property values high.

So why all the secrecy about the identity of the new superintendent and his/her bona fides?

Whether out of more arrogance, disrespect, or just plain petty juvenility, Heyde isn’t saying.  According to yesterday’s article in the Park Ridge Herald-Advocate (“Board won’t share name of ‘preferred’ superintendent candidate,” April 6), all he is saying for the record is: “We’re not ready to let go of the candidate’s name and information yet.”

What are you hiding, Mr. Heyde?

Now that you and your Board have made your decision and have even visited the “preferred candidate’s” current school district, what’s there to conceal?  If you truly want feedback from the community before your hiring decision is finalized, why not get the name of that “preferred candidate” and that person’s credentials out to the entire community as soon as possible?   

Could it be, Mr. Heyde, that what you and your Board really want is a rubber-stamping of your decision from a relatively controlled group of community members – the kind of audience that you are more likely to get when you don’t announce the name and credentials of the “preferred candidate” in advance, and when you schedule a meet-and-greet for only one hour on only one night during a week when the local parochial schools are on Spring break?

Those parochial schools educate over 1,000 students whose parents pay taxes to the District, don’t use its services, but may well have something to say about the new superintendent and about the District as a whole.  But, then again, it may not be what Heyde and his Board want to hear.  So why take that chance?

Even if it weren’t parochial school Spring break week, one hour for “the community” to meet the “preferred candidate” and make any kind of informed decision about him/her that would yield useful feedback is, frankly, ridiculous.  It’s also a slap in the face of every one of the voters who, just three years ago, voted the District a huge tax increase to make up for the questionable financial management [pdf] that occurred for several years last decade, when Supt. Sally Pryor and School Board members Joe Baldi, Rich Brendza, Ares Dalianis, Christina Heyde, Ron James, Barb Jones, Marty Joyce, Dean Krone, Steve Latreille, Steve Lieber, Jane Meagher, Chris Mollett and Sue Runyon were at the helm.

So when Heyde and his Board play this kind of game about the identity and credentials of their choice for superintendent, we can’t be sure whether they are being arrogant, disrespectful or simply petty and juvenile.  But we do know they aren’t being open, honest and transparent.

Badly done, folks.