Tonight’s Main Event At D-64


The “Big Game” in town tonight doesn’t involve the Maine South Hawks football team.  Or even another bizarre episode at City Hall involving Ald. Joe Sweeney (1st).

Tonight’s Big Game takes place at Franklin School’s gym (2401 Manor Lane), where the Park Ridge-Niles Elementary School District 64 will be voting on the new teachers contract and approving its new budget.  Kick-off is 7:30 p.m.

For those who don’t pay attention to these things, the D-64 budget represents about 1/3 of our property tax bills.  It also is a significant factor for our property values – because the quality and cost of schools is a significant element in assessing the desirability of a community.

We discussed the new teachers contract in our post “Will D-64 Taxpayers Get Sold Out Again?” (09.12.12), so we won’t repeat the points made there.

The central issue, as we see it, is what objectively measurable benefits will both the D-64 students and the taxpayers of this community receive from this new teachers contract and this new budget. 

So far, we haven’t heard any D-64 Board members or administrators promising anything concrete for the extra money that will be extracted from the taxpayers, such as better ISAT scores – one of the primary criteria many people use in determining the quality of education offered by a particular school or an entire school system.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of the D-64 Board members seem to be little more than rubber stamps for both the teachers and the administrators, so objective performance standards are rarely, if ever, demanded.

Which brings us to the 6:30 p.m. Committee of the Whole (“COW”) meeting to discuss a “transition” of the District’s before-and-after-school child care programs (a/k/a taxpayer-funded babysitting services) to the Park Ridge Recreation and Park District, which the Board is expected to vote on at the 7:30 Board meeting.

That sounds like a questionable fast-shuffle by the D-64 Board, as it gives the Board and the public basically no time to understand and think about the wisdom of such a move.  That’s been a hallmark of D-64 decision-making for years; and it seems to have become even more pronounced since Supt. Phil Bender arrived from Indiana.  This move is even more troubling base on our understanding that the Park District administration pushed this “transition” past the Park Board with basically no information and discussion.

When bureaucrats try to push something through with little or no study and debate by our elected representatives and the public, the usual outcome is usually less than optimal.

And District 64 has become far too accomplished at burning money with less than optimal results.

To read or post comments, click on title.

10 comments so far

Lots more going on tonight than expected. Here’s a question: If they’re having a COW (tee hee) at 6:30, is there any chance they will finish early and start the 7:30 meeting at…let’s say 7 or 7:15 pm? Many of us are juggling family and children’s schedules.

EDITOR’S NOTE: By law, they cannot start earlier than the posted time for each meeting.

As a parent who uses the After Care program, I have many questions about the before-and-after-school child care program. And I have scoured all D64 links and cannot find ANY information on what they are planning to do with the kids at each school site. I find it irresponsible of the Board to push this thru so quickly with zero parental communication.

EDITOR’S NOTE: “D-64” and “irresponsible” are becoming redundant, but don’t feel bad: we use them in the same sentence all the time.

On another topic…..

I hear that all the Mayor’s ass-kissers were at his house on Sunday. Were you there too Puppet-Master?

EDITOR’S NOTE: No “ass-kissers” or marionettes observed – just a couple hundred happy people having fun at an early-Autumn barbecue.

Zippy, if you’re going to go all People magazine on us, you’ve got to get your gossip right. Come back if/when you have something meaningful to say about the issues.

Fear not, Monica 9:02 am. Lots of parents spoke up about government-funded babysitting last night (perhaps you were there, I couldn’t tell from the video) and the school board promptly backed down from whatever they were planning to do. I confess I didn’t understand what the fuss was all about.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’re not sure, either, FWT, but we suspect it has to do with concerns that the taxpayer-subsidized after-school babysitting service that D-64 has been providing will be more expensive or less convenient to the beneficiaries of it.

I attended the meeting last night and learned there are many unresolved issues regarding the proposed Park District Aftercare program. It seemed the Board was entirely unprepared for any dissension from the community, and backed down quickly from any decision-making. I am neither for, nor against this change, but I was deeply disappointed in the lack of information regarding program specifics.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We understand Bender sprung it on the D-64 Board just like the Park District’s executive director sprung it on the Park Board last Thursday night. Your governments in action.

I know you call it the “taxpayer-funded babysitting services” but what percentage is taxpayer funded? There are fees that the parents pay for each week their children attend, does this not cover it? If not do you know what is the financial shortfall on this program?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Per our 5/29/12 post (“D-64’s Subsidized Babysitting To Continue”):

“So, as reported by the Journal, a 6-1 vote of the D-64 Board ensured that those parents will continue to get dependable, well-supervised after-school babysitting for the low, low price of $5/hour – less than most of them pay the neighbor kid for less-dependable services when they go out to dinner and/or a movie on Saturday night. And because of those low, low rates, the District projects a $5,866.93 loss for FY 2011-12, and a $17,540 loss for FY 2012-13.”

I use this program 5 days a week, at $12 a day. A monthly bill is about $264. Last night the board said there is a waiting list, so Jefferson must be at full capacity. If I recall last night’s discussion correctly, the bussing fees are the money pit in the Jefferson equation.

here is the fee structure per D64 website:

FEES: There are three fee options: Pickup by 4:30 = $6.00 per day; Pickup by 5:30 = $12.00 per day; Pickup by 6:00 = $15.00 per day. There is a late pickup fee of $10.00 per day. The late fee is assessed each day a child is not picked up by their designated pickup time. An emergency day of daycare is $21.00 per day. Emergency days of daycare must be approved by the Jefferson Extended Day Coordinator. Fees for emergency days are due upon approval. All billing will be done in advance. Any child with a balance that is more than 30 days past due will be dismissed from the program.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The threshold questions that need to be asked are: (1) do the fees cover ALL the costs of the program; and (2) as a matter of public policy should the program charge a value-based fee that exceeds the fully-loaded cost to reflect the convenience and dependability, and in order to generate surplus revenue (i.e., “profits”) that can be applied against other costs?

Once again you are assuming everyone agrees that the children of working parents in our town are private property of those parents with no value to our community and country at large. Once again you don’t seem aware that there are not enough folks around who can live here on one increasingly unreliable solo income. (Those folks are all on the North Shore or out in Hinsdale or Barrington.) Two parents working is the norm, even in Park Ridge. So, um, yeah; the evil Gub-Mint has a reason to want to provide decent, affordable before- and after-school care for the next generation of citizens/taxpayers/human beings.
What a concept!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Hmmmm…let’s see if we’ve got this straight: because people who want to live in Park Ridge need/want two incomes to live here, the government (a/k/a all the taxpayers) owes them taxpayer-subsidized child care to enable them to do so? Really? Seriously?

As Wolfgang Pauli would say: “That’s not even wrong!”

But, hey, if you’re going to go in that direction why not throw in a taxpayer-subsidized housekeeper so that those double income couples don’t have to struggle with the full cost of cooking and cleaning after their stressful and strenuous workdays?

Dear Anon yesterday at 3:47 pm: The school board obviously “wants” to provide this service, because they voted for it. The question PW raises is a legitimate one: Should the taxpayers subsidize it? Why not charge a higher price for this service? The demand seems to be there.

As for working on one or two salaries, that’s the choice of every household. Those who choose one salary obviously can’t afford the same stuff as those on two salaries. Those who choose two salaries obviously must make other arrangements for their children. They can use part of their two salaries to do so.


FWIW, in a system as broke and broken as Chicago, we paid far more for before and after-school care. You’d think D64 would look at what the going rate is in other districts before giving away the store.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Your suggestion assumes other school districts are run any better than this one is. Don’t bet on it – virtually all of these school boards, administrations and teachers union locals sing from the same hymnal.

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