Public Watchdog.org

Arrogant And Disrespectful, Or Simply Petty And Juvenile?

04.07.10

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.

5 comments so far

After spending almost 15 minutes wading through tons of self-serving propaganda on the District 64 website, I still could not find the current year’s budget there. Did you know if it’s there and, if so, where?

Heyde addressed his invitation to “District 64 Parents” — but what about District 64 TAXPAYERS? I don’t send any students to Dist. 64 schools but I do send thousands of dollars and I’m miffed not to have received an invitation! Perhaps the candidate wouldn’t like my idea to combine 64 and 203 into a single district with a single superintendent.

Editor’s Note: We assume you mean “207” (as in Maine Twp. H.S. District 207) instead of “203.”

5th Ward:

So let me see if I understand this. You want to be invited to the meeting (by the way I bet you could go if you wanted as I am sure they will not have bouncers) so that you can find out if this person is for combining districts?? Then what?? I mean it is those who we elected to the school board who will choose this new person. You made your choice by your vote for the people who fill those seats.

May I ask have you gone to school board meetings and made your case about your idea?? I mean this is the first time I have ever heard of it.

anon on 04.08.10 6:57 am:

Re: “You made your choice by your vote for the people who fill those seats.”

Not exactly.

The 7 people who currently hold those seats were elected in 2007 and 2009, during which time only 8 people ran for those 7 seats. So anybody who voted during those past 2 elections had only 1 other choice.

And only 1 of the 7 current School Board members – Ted Smart, elected in 2007 – ran without the endorsement of the District 64 Caucus. So one might argue that 6 of the 7 current Board members were handpicked by the Caucus, with their election being just a formality.

And so long as the District 64 Caucus remains the only game in town for school board candidates, and nobody runs against Caucus candidates, school board elections will continue to be no-choice formalities.

Hi 10:19

I like your idea, except that the Trib ran an article in the last week or so that reported that most mergers of school districts result in higher cost to the taxpayers to operate the unified district than the costs of operating the districts separately.

Every operating changes provides an opportunity for the school community to increase costs including salaries and benefits. In this case everyone involved ends up with the salaries, cost and benefits of the most expensive function in either organization.

There might be one Sup let go with a huge parachute, but you can bet that another layer of gophers will be installed to grow the admin empire in the process.

Good ideas don’t ever work in government



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