Hey, D-64 Folks: It’s Not “Your” Money!


We have often written about the seductiveness and delusional effects of “OPM” – Other People’s Money – on our public officials.

At the federal and state levels, the budgets and expenditures are so mind-numbingly large that we suspect it all seems like Monopoly money to the folks in Washington.  The late U.S. Sen. Everett McKinley Dirksen (R. Ill.) was reported (although perhaps apocryphally) to have observed, in response to a discussion about federal spending: “A billion here and a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking real money.”

Today, however, a billion dollars barely qualifies as a rounding error at the federal level.  Even at the state level, it’s about 3% of the budget – which might explain why it took the state’s unfunded pension liability to reach $100 billion before our Springfield spendthrifts actually began talking in earnest about – although not acting on – that problem.

Only at the local government level do we still talk about money in understandable amounts that don’t instantly make the eyes glaze over.  Which is why it always pains us to hear and/or read about our local officials apparently succumbing to the Sirens’ spending song and throwing around OPM like confetti, seemingly just because they legally can.

The most common and most consequential example of such profligacy is the way our local officials throw money at our local public employees, almost always without any objectively measurable relationship of the amounts of that money to individual or collective performance, or to a measurable benefit to the taxpayers.

No local governmental bodies do profligacy better than our school districts, perhaps because they have become so adept at talking and acting as if teaching upper-middle class Park Ridge children for roughly 8 months a year is the work of the angels – even if the measurable results of that teaching are less than angelic; e.g.,  according to admittedly two year-old reports, Park Ridge-Niles Elementary School District 64 had the 4th highest paid administrators and the 25th highest paid teachers in all of Illinois, but with student performance on standardized ISAT scores coming nowhere near those lofty compensation rankings.

Yet just last month the D-64 Board gave out the latest round of arbitrary, non-merit based pay increases that, over the past decade or so, have made employment there one of the sweetest deals around.

Secretaries and custodial staff got arbitrary, non-merit based 3.5% increases, while an assortment of “exempt” staff members got arbitrary, non-merit based 2.0% raises – for no apparent reason other than Supt. Philip Bender thought it was a good idea and such raises were “within a modest range of 0-4%.”   Actually, had Bender been left to his own devices, he would have saddled the taxpayers with a 2.75% increase for exempt employees, so the School Board did save the taxpayers 0.75%.

But before anybody suggests that those Board members deserve a parade for their frugality, a closer look at how they did what they did suggests they are guilty of the same basic fiscal irresponsibility as their drunken sailor predecessors who gave both our teachers and administrators their lofty compensation rankings.


Obviously, 2.0% is better than 2.75%.  But that 2.0% appears to be no more objectively justified than the 2.75%, which itself appears to have no more justification than 1.25%, or 5.75%.  And we could find nothing in the public record that indicates even one of the 7 Board members had the insight or the cojones to ask Bender or finance director Rebecca Allard the $64,000 (or more) question: “Why exactly should we be giving out any raises at all to these employees?”  Or the other $64,000 (or more) question: “What specific objective criteria justify these raises?”

That’s because this D-64 compensation process, perhaps even more than the compensation processes of our other local governmental units, is little more than a fun-with-numbers exercise – with raises having become an institutionalized entitlement that require no demonstrable increase in productivity by the employees, no demonstrable increase in performance by the students, and no demonstrable increase in economic benefit to the taxpayers.  And the process of giving them out illustrates one of the most pernicious evils of what the political class and the political media love to extoll as “compromise.”

To see the evils of unprincipled compromise writ large, one need look no further than Springfield – where for 26 of the past 36 years “Let’s make a deal!” horse-trading between a Democratic General Assembly and 3 different Republican governors (“Big Jim” Thompson, “Slim Jim” Edgar and George “No. 16627-424” Ryan) has left our state perilously close to bankruptcy and with a bleak future, despite increasingly higher taxes.  That’s because feckless compromise, unlike principled, policy-driven up-down voting, encourages factions to stake out positions based not on their inherent merit but merely on their bargaining value.

In the case of these recent D-64 raises, Bender and Allard were effectively able to manipulate the Board into approving an arbitrary and boneheaded 2.0% raise for exempt employees by recommending an arbitrary and ridiculous 2.75% raise.  Worse yet, Bender and Allard could also use that compromise process to bamboozle the more simple-minded townsfolk into thinking that their elected School Board members, by driving the proposed 2.75% down to 2.0%, were being tight-fisted defenders of the public purse rather than mere pawns in a Bender/Allard-orchestrated chess game that benefits themselves and their fellow administrators.

Not only did nobody on the Board ask Bender or Allard any $64,000 questions about those raises, but it appears that nobody on the Board cared enough about transparency and accountability to even make public the actual dollar cost of those raises – preferring instead to stick with just the sterile percentages that serve to conceal from taxpayers the actual cost, in hard dollars and cents, of those raises.

Don’t “2% raises” sound so much more innocuous than “$125,000 (or whatever the actual amount turns out to be) of raises”?

Despite this latest spendthrift performance, we still have high hopes that new Board president Tony Borrelli can somehow bring sorely-needed transparency and fiscal responsibility to D-64, notwithstanding that he’s surrounded by a majority of Board members whose carelessness about fiscal matters seems exceeded only by their cluelessness.  Not surprisingly, it was Borrelli who led the push for cutting the exempt staff raises from 2.75% to 2.0%.

And even the 3.5% increase for secretaries and maintenance staff may have a silver lining, thanks to Borrelli: at what we understand was his insistence, it was accompanied by the elimination of arbitrary “step and lane” increases for those employees that guaranty annual raises based on seniority (“step”) and additional training/education (“lane”), mimicking the way teachers are guaranteed their annual raises.

Hopefully the elimination of those step-and-lane increases for secretaries and maintenance workers will begin a serious discussion about eliminating such increases for teachers before it’s time to negotiate the next PREA contract a couple of years from now.

But counting on Borrelli as the only Board member out of seven to be the taxpayers’ champion means that he has to bring his “A game” every single day – and avoid becoming the seventh dwarf on significant issues like these most recent arbitrary, non-merit based employee raises.  Even if he does bring his “A game” every day, however, for the time being he’s likely to be outvoted by those D-64 Board members who, like so many of their predecessors, have happily jumped into bed with the PREA-led teachers and the PREA-sympathetic administrators in a kind of mini-“Combine” to fleece the taxpayers while producing relatively unexceptional results, as objectively measured by things like the ISATs.

All of which causes us to wonder, yet again, whether anybody (other than Borrelli) with autority over the roughly 40% of our property tax dollars that D-64 grabs every year truly comprehends one of the most important facts of government: that the money they so cavalierly toss around isn’t really theirs.

It’s ours.

To read or post comments, click on title.

48 comments so far

Much of what you say is accurate and here, but not all.

Dr. Borrelli indeed is and has been leading the charge toward transparency, financially restraint and responsibility. But the latest decisions to reduce the exempt staff raise from 2.75% to 2% was not a lone ranger act. I supported and argued for this reduction just as vociferously as Dr. Borrelli. I also DID ask why we were giving any raises at all. The answer? Because the previous Board gave Dr. Bender the task of reviewing the exempt employees and determining what raise should be given, within, as you accurately report, the range of 0-4%. His number was 2.75%, which, if I recall, was his estimation of what the PREA negotiated for. Dr. Borrelli and I rightly corrected this to 2.0% AND noted that Dr. Bender was supposed to have come up with some metric for merit pay. He failed to do so.

Multiple members of this Board, from my perception, were all for giving a raise of at least 2.75% (and were somewhat offended that Dr. Borrelli and I were pushing for less). I would have voted for a raise of less than 2%. The 2% figure was indeed a compromise. I DON’T view it as some courageous victory. It certainly isn’t an ideal solution, based on the criteria you mention. It wasn’t a cut big enough for me. But it was something the Board could agree on.

The 3.5% number is certainly better than what was status quo–including some raises for maintenance staff of 9%+. And yes, Dr. Borrelli has so far been doing a masterful job in leading the changes. I supported (and will continue to support) them 100%.

I think I understand your perspective: nothing less than perfect is good enough. But we have to work on changing minds, changing our vision of where we are going as a Board in terms of cutting costs while not just maintaining but improving the level of education we offer our children. I believe we can do both, but understand that small steps are necessary.

Another thing to remember is that the previous Board blew it with the PREA negotiations and we are suffering the consequences of this debacle. When they gave away the store with a 2% across the board raise, PLUS a 1.8% step increase, AND the lane increases, the average raise was 5%, every year. Of course, teacher salaries and benefits comprise the vast majority of the cost for D64; all other salary decisions are PEANUTS in comparison. The problem is that this contract set the standard for both other employee groups and several current D64 Board members. When teachers get 5% with no insistence on merit or increased test scores, etc., it is very difficult to expect other groups who work just as hard and who negotiate in good faith to expect less. Yet this is exactly what we pushed for and got.

So, be patient with this Board. We are going on the right direction. Slowly. I’ve only been on the job for a few months.

You also didn’t report that I was the one insisting on NO RAISE for our superintendent’s new contract. This was debated in closed session (which is why you wouldn’t know about it), but it was agreed upon.

Let me say one more thing: since I started on the Board three months ago, not ONE taxpayer has come to a meeting to insist (or even suggest) financial restraint. So if taxpayers really do want financial restraint, it certainly doesn’t appear so. At least they don’t care enough to show up to board meetings–or even write something that a board member can read aloud in board meetings. If Borrelli and I are going to have any impact on changing minds on this Board to do more than shave a mere .75% here and .75% there, we need people insisting as much IN PUBLIC.

Dr. Borrelli is not going it alone. Other than the Chromebook decision–which I know has caused you great consternation and about which you make good points–I have supported Dr. Borrelli’s vision and spirit of change on the Board.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We apologize if we missed your tag-teaming these matters with Borrelli, Dr. P., but the local newspapers do a horsebleep job of reporting this stuff; and D-64’s own Board meeting minutes aren’t all that more helpful. So one big reason why taxpayers aren’t coming out to meetings is because they are so uninformed they aren’t aware of reasons to make the effort.

For you and Borrelli to succeed, you need to realize that you are strangers in a strange land. When you and he are the only Board members even asking questions about this stuff, it’s pretty clear that the rest of the folks on this Board prefer business as usual, with Bender and staff getting a very long leash.

Of course the previous Board “blew it with the PREA negotiations” – and that’s without even knowing (because we never read it ANYWHERE) that the teachers are basically getting 5% average annual raises. Just like we don’t even know – because neither the Board nor the administration told us – what the actual cash cost of those raises is.

Finally, if you want public support you’ve got to earn it: by making every decision in ways that make as much (or more sense) to the taxpayers than to anybody else; by making sure those decisions and the debates over them are well-publicized, even if it means you and Borrelli have to issue press releases; by calling out Bender and staff, loudly and publicly, on EVERY bad recommendation and mistake they make; and by saying “no,” loudly and publicly, to EVERY bad recommendation and mistake.

By the way, I agree with this statement wholeheartedly:

“That’s because this D-64 compensation process, perhaps even more than the compensation processes of our other local governmental units, is little more than a fun-with-numbers exercise – with raises having become an institutionalized entitlement that require no demonstrable increase in productivity by the employees, no demonstrable increase in performance by the students, and no demonstrable increase in economic benefit to the taxpayers.”

Borrelli and I are pushing the rest of the board to change this silly pattern and agree to develop metrics that will make ANY raises contingent on merit, productivity, etc. For now, it seemed to Borrelli and me that using CPI was a fair measure (i.e., not giving a raise at the level CPI would be tantamount to a pay decrease). It’s certainly not the best measure, but while we develop a merit-based system, it is certainly better than the status quo.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It sounds like you’ve left the reservation when you claim that not giving a CPI-equivalent raises “would be tantamount to a pay decrease” – unless, of course, you think D-64 taxpayers are obligated to provide D-64 employees with higher wages as a hedge against inflation!

Sorry, Dr. P, but that’s just plain whacked out.

My last three pay changes have been pay decreases.
Flat salary and increasing cost of benefits that get crappier with each renewal. Not to mention that increasing CPI that no one is protecting me from.

WTF Doc?

EDITOR’S NOTE: From your comments we take it you didn’t have the foresight to become a Park Ridge teacher or school administrator.

I agree: it’s whacked out to believe that taxpayers owe D-64 (or any other public sector) employees any raise at all. Again, what Dr. Borrelli and I sought to do was find a reasonable change that was less extreme and palatable to at least two other board members UNTIL we came up with more reasonable metrics (including merit) for next year. CPI seems a more reasonable temporary marker to me and Dr. Borrelli. I should have clarified that I don’t believe it is tantamount to a pay decrease, but that others on the board would, which would have likely made any change less likely.

When one is going 100mph due east, one cannot immediately go 10mph due west. One has to slow down and turn around first. That is what we are doing. Not fast enough for some, we understand. Be assured: I am not satisfied with merely slowing down to 90mph.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Taking up with your metaphor, whatever manuver you make on the highway should be prefaced by a signal – preferably one that flashes brightly and can be seen and understood by all.

Your point re: issuing press releases is well taken. I will address this with Dr. Borrelli as soon as possible.

Bender runs the show while the monkeys on the board see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil about raises that require nothing more than just showing up eight months a year. And by the time your 40 you can make a hundred grand and have a guaranteed pension of 3/4 of that. What’s not to like, unless your a taxpayer?

Anonymous, your opening sentence is untrue and therefore unfair. Ignoring your sophomoric jab (although who doesn’t love being called a monkey?), you suggest that the board is doing nothing. Well, that’s not true. In sum, the superintendent got ZERO raise, the exempt staff agreed to forego step increases in exchange for a one-time 3.5% across the board raise (lower than previous raises), and the raise for admin was reduced from 2.75% to 2.0. If that’s doing nothing in your perception, then you’re living on a different planet.
As for Bender running the show, it is his JOB to run the show! The Board decided that in fact, he needs to do a better job leading and following–something the Board is going to address head-on in August at our Board retreat. I’m hopeful that he can and will respond to the Board’s direction–something the Board has continually failed to do in the past–and run the show so well that both the district’s performance and the students’ education will improve.

Enough with saying teachers “work 8 months of the year.” Now you have anonymous commenters repeating it. I don’t disagree that administrators in D64 are overpaid but for the most part the teachers do a great job. Yes they get summers off but they put in countless extra hours and are adept at doing work many of us — myself included — would find stressful and exhausting.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Puh-leeze…they get summers off, they get Christmas break off, they get spring break off, they get most holidays off, etc.

As for their putting in “countless hours,” cry us a river. So do most white collar, non-government workers these days – and they do it for 11 months a year, under threat of termination for any reason or no reason at all, at constant risk of their employer closing or moving to another state or country, and without a taxpayer-guaranteed pension.

As far as their doing “for the most part…a great job,” let us know when the ranking of D-64’s objectively measurable academic performance catches up with the ranking of D-64’s teacher compensation.

The question I am bringing to the Board for future contract negotiations is why are employees who “for the most part…do a great job…” entitled to yearly raises at all?

In my opinion, employees who “for the most part…do a great job…” are doing the minimum requirements of their job. They get paid to do a great job. They get paid to toil hard, utilize all of their gifts and abilities to their maximum capacity. They should ALL be expected to put forth great effort and do great work. That should be the minimum expectation for a public servant (i.e., all district/city/township employees).

Raises aren’t entitlements–if employees are entitled to them, then by definition, they aren’t earned. If they must be earned, then employees should regularly be doing something far above and beyond minimum expectations. This is why we must move toward a merit system and why across the board raises are not only unfair, but foolish and irresponsible.

Abolish tenure! Teachers show up for what, 3 years or is it 5 and they’re guaranteed a job for as long as they want it. That sure isn’t the real world.

Let’s have merit raises for teachers doing a better than satisfactory job. Good teachers are wonderful, why shouldn’t they get more than the one who does the minimum?

Radical? Maybe, but why not try it?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Not sure you can abolish tenure, but thinking outside the box is required when continuing to think inside the box isn’t making things better for anybody but the teachers and the administrators.

And then people wonder why the Ts & As like the current system so much!

“Retreat?” Who the hell is paying for a retreat, and why aren’t the taxpayers who pay Bender’s salary invited to join in the discussion AS REQUIRED BY THE ILLINOIS OPEN MEETINGS ACT!!!!!!!!!!!!

Your very FIRST act as a new board member should have been to put the kibosh on the “retreat.” Maddening.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!

We were waiting to see if any of our other readers would pick up on the “retreat” comment. But you’re the first, “Huh?”. Congrats!

In fairness, D-64 has not yet posted any agenda or materials for the retreat – scheduled for August 16 and 17 – so it’s possible that “retreat” is just another catchy name for some regular-style meetings. We note, however, that the D-64 calendar has a “Closed Session” notation posted for the August 16 session, so we’ll be interested to see what the agenda and materials identify as being proper “closed session” topics; and whether any Board members will challenge the need for and wisdom of a “closed session” for those topics.

I can understand your consternation, but “retreat” isn’t what it sounds like. I had thought when I was elected that it was a trip at some nice cabin or hotel or something enviable. It’s simply an evening meeting followed by a day-long meeting in the gym at Emerson. Not exactly Four Seasons…

And yes, it is normally a closed session, but because this board wishes to really shake things up (e.g., increase transparency, specify what in the world we’re doing as a Board) we are doing things differently during this “retreat”. I believe it is going to be an open meeting AS REQUIRED BY THE OPEN MEETINGS ACT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (not sure I got all the exclamation points, but I’m close).

I should give credit to Dan Collins and Scott Zimmerman, who joined Dr. Borrelli in expressing a desire to change the “retreat” into something much more practical and productive. Terry Cameron, Vicki Lee and I followed the rest of the Board on this one.

Dr. Borrelli is doing an excellent job preparing for these meetings. We are purposing to develop our goals and mission, communicate our direction to the superintendent, as well as allow him to share his mission, goals, and direction for the district.

Frankly, one of the things I will be suggesting is that we change the name of this soiree from “retreat” to “formal strategy session” or something similar. I agree that “retreat” doesn’t sound good; and besides, it’s inaccurate.

By the way, I’m cutting my yearly vacation short to attend this thing, which will decidedly be far less luxurious than what my family will be doing. I know, boo-hoo.

Dr. Paterno-why do taxpayers need to show up at a D64 board meeting or send you a note you can read at a board meeting to state the obvious-the taxpayers expect financial restraint. Is there one taxpayer out there who thinks D64 should spend whatever it wants to provide a public education to its students? It is the fiduciary responsibility of the school board to act with “financial restraint” and to create the best educational environment for the children that they can with the money given to the district with our tax dollars. Isn’t that what was promised to the voters when you ran for a position on the school board? The D64 board should not need a taxpayer to come to a school board meeting to remind of your responsibility.

“The D64 board should not need a taxpayer to come to a school board meeting to remind of your responsibility.”

Exactly what I was thinking, and what a cop out. It implies that if no one is standing up and demanding fiscal restraint in meetings then Dr. Paterno can’t be held accountable for his decisions/votes. Ridiculous deflection. Almost as ridiculous as him letting us know he’s cutting his vacation short to attend the retreat/meeting thing.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Unfortunately, that’s EXACTLY the attitude the vast majority of our local public officials have had for decades. And that’s why so many of them would fold up like cheap lawn chairs any time a big enough group of vocal residents showed up to demand or beef about something.

Anon, you’re preaching to the choir; it’s certainly not necessary to convince me. My point of having taxpayers showing up at board meetings or sending notes is for those board members who couldn’t give a crap about saving the district money, cutting costs, and who in effect, DO think that “D64 should spend whatever it wants to provide a public eduction to its students”. I have heard one board member recently say, “Frankly, I’m not interested in cutting costs.” (I almost choked on my tongue when I heard that)

I don’t need taxpayers to come to board meetings to remind me of my responsibilities. I and Dr. Borrelli need taxpayers to come to board meetings to convince OTHER board members that fiduciary restraint is a high priority for taxpayers. The hard truth is that we need at least 4 board members to prioritize financial restraint and cutting unnecessary fat from our bloated budget. If no one shows up, when I and Dr. Borrelli speak about financial restraint, it is far too easy to dismiss us as lone wolves. We NEED the help of the public.

As Dog wisely suggests, it is also my responsibility to convince the taxpayer that they have voices on the Board who will speak for THEM, hopefully energizing them and giving them hope that their voices can make a difference. This is the partnership I seek.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry, Dr. P., but you and Borrelli are surrounded by people who wouldn’t know “financial restraint” if it bit them on the derriere and announced: “Here I am!” Heyde, Zim and Collins have already shown from their years on the Board that they don’t understand what that term means; and, as best as we recall this past April’s election, neither Cameron nor Lee talked up “financial restraint” on the campaign trail.

That doesn’t mean you don’t try, but we can’t think of one local official who came to office as a spendthrift and left as a fiscal conservative. Unfortunately, the converse isn’t equally true.

“Ignoring your sophomoric jab (although who doesn’t love being called a monkey?)….”

The idea that you would call someone out for a sophomoric comment or a bad analogy is beyond ludicrous!!! Read your own twitter feed!!!

EDITOR’S NOTE: This site is a free-fire zone on all purveyors of “sophomoric comments.” And stupid comments.

@3:59. I’ve read the Twitter feed and it is indeed disconcerting. I am encouraged, though, that Dr. Paterno’s inflammatory rhetoric hasn’t come up in the context of the school board. I’m sure it’s a lot easier to preach to like-minded Twitter followers — a group of vile haters if I’ve ever seen one — than it is to a constituency made up of a variety of political and philosophical persuasions.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Funny how one person’s “vile hater” is another’s “truth teller.”

I’m still going to try; that’s what I believe in.

EDITOR’S NOTE: And you should. Just don’t bet the Vegas line on converting them. And watch out for all those “vile haters.”

Why all negative comments about former Park Commissioner Dr. Steven Vile?

And why all the hate?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry, Shiny, free association night is Wednesday. Until then, stay on topic.


My point was not about vile haters. My point was about hypocrisy. The doctor is not wrong to say that the monkey argument is sophomoric (adolescent, juvenile, immature). What he fails to see or perhaps does see but does not care is that much of the “stuff” he throws out there on his twitter is every bit as sophomoric as the monkey argument.

The other part of that same post by the Doctor says “Anonymous, your opening sentence is untrue and therefore unfair”. Now that is even more hysterical!! Is the Doctor claiming that all those things he states/posts on the internet are verifiable?? Of course not. Much of it is his spin and his opinion on the world. Is he saying that makes them unfair??

So a post about him is “sophomoric” and “unfair” but when he uses the same tactics against something (elected official, world view etc) he does not agree with it is somehow something noble. Hypocrisy. Do as I say, not as I do.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you’ve got a beef with Dr. P’s twitter posts, take them to his twitter account.

Dr. Paterno,

Thanks for your service to the community. This taxpayer is grateful that you’re cutting your vacation short to attend the meetings. Please ignore those who like to criticize but won’t take any actions of their own.

Quick follow up on the hypocrisy issue (and to be clear I am not perfect in this area either).

What it comes down to is trying to figure out who the hell our elected officials actually are. I think it is fair to say that, so far, Dr. Paterno is not what some thought he would be.

I will grant that it is very early but it is almost like there is the twitter guy and the board member guy.

In a reply to you on this thread he states the following….”The 2% figure was indeed a compromise. I DON’T view it as some courageous victory. It certainly isn’t an ideal solution, based on the criteria you mention. It wasn’t a cut big enough for me. But it was something the Board could agree on”. So in this quote he is the compromise guy!!! Let’s all sing Kumbaya!! So let’s say a conservative senator came forward with a compromise on Obamacare. What do you think he would tweet on that??

It seems to me that in trying to justify the issues you point out with his vote(s), board member Paterno uses the same defense that twitter Paterno would demonize. Who is this guy???



The Doctor said the following:

“In my opinion, employees who “for the most part…do a great job…” are doing the minimum requirements of their job. They get paid to do a great job. They get paid to toil hard, utilize all of their gifts and abilities to their maximum capacity. They should ALL be expected to put forth great effort and do great work. That should be the minimum expectation for a public servant (i.e., all district/city/township employees)”.

Dr. P knew that meetings would be a part of the job and he ran anyway. There is no need for “the taxpayer” to be grateful that he cut his vacation short….as a public servant and board member attending meetings is a minimum requirement of the job, right??


Yes, I express a different side of me on Twitter. I generally don’t discuss district stuff on Twitter; it’s more where I practice my sophomoric jabs, especially on social issues and national politics. Those issues are irrelevant for Board work, so of course I’m different during Board meetings and here.

And of course I’m involved in compromise. We couldn’t get anything done without it. At the same time, I make no bones about it: I’m proudly and categorically for cutting unnecessary costs, increasing accountability and transparency with staff, administration, and the Board. That’s why I write on this blog–I’m sharing my vision, my goals, my perception of what’s going on, my recollection of how things have transpired, etc. If no one values that, I’ll gladly bow out; I have plenty of Tweeting I can do.


All that is fine except you essentially responded to a poster by diminishing what he said for a sophomoric jab (you) and for not being untrue and therefore unfair (also you), which makes you a hypocrite.

As an aside, I agree with you on compromise… as we head toward the far right attempting to shut down the government as a way to stop the implementation of Obamacare, I look forward to you calling for compromise, right???

Lastly, I want to note for the record that after only a few months in office you have played the “I’ll take my ball and go home card” (gladly bow out)….people (like PD) offer much more well founded and well thought out comments on some of your decisions then you normally do as “twitter man” and this is your answer?!?!

EDITOR’S NOTE: “[F]or not being untrue”? Don’t think so.

The problem with compromise is that it has become almost interchangeable with appeasement. Hence, the “Combine” of Democrat legislators and Republican governors who have, over the past 36 years, “compromised” the State of Illinois into the worst financial condition of any state in the Union.

Twitter generally appears to be the refuge of people who think they’ve got something worth saying, won’t (or can’t) say it more thoroughly and comprehensively, but aren’t competent and disciplined enough to say it in haiku.

sorry…typo…..lack of coffee!

I am sorry. Perhaps I am just having a bad week but this guy has my crap-o-meter pegged!!

He states the following…..”At the same time, I make no bones about it: I’m proudly and categorically for cutting unnecessary costs, increasing accountability and transparency with staff, administration, and the Board”.

Holly political speak Batman!!

I bet if you asked every single person in PR if they were for cutting unnecessary coast they woulde say Hell yes…..and “make no bones about it”.

Hell, I bet if you asked D64 teachers if they were for this they would all say yes!! “No, we would actually like to increase unnecessary costs!!”

The issues is exactly what costs do you or they deem to be unnecessary….like the size and scope of Chromebook tests for example…..or raised attached to performance for example.

You already were elected Doctor. You can stop giving the campaign speeches.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s not a “campaign speech” to tell the public, or the readers of this blog, what he thinks about D-64 issues, even if it sounds like a campaign speech.

As for “unneccessary costs,” this editor listened to a CTU official, just this morning, talk about the many ways CPS could close this year’s $1 billion budget deficit, including TIF revenue redirection and property tax hikes – without ANY cuts to teacher compensation or benefits. And three years ago (2010) the CTU didn’t make a peep when CPS, faced with a similar (but smaller) deficit, came up with a brain-dead plan, approved by our buffoons in Springfield, to reduce CPS’s pension fund contributions by hundreds of millions of dollars which…SURPRISE!…are now due to be paid this year.

So when you say even the D-64 teachers would support cutting “unnecessary costs,” you’re probably right – so long as nobody touches their escalating pay and benefits for their 8 month/year jobs.

Hey Dr. Dan, Please don’t spend my money foolishly! There, I said it, do I still need to come to your meeting when I don’t have kids to spell it out for you? Do I need to bring my #2 pencil to write it out for you? Educators are ALL getting out of hand and need to be reminded to do more with less. They all got into teaching knowing the environment.


That is exactly my point!! It is nothing more that a political speech to say “……I support cutting unnecessary costs”. It is virtually meaningless. If a particular side (the teachers in your example) stand for not cutting something the simply define it as a necessary cost. I guess that the Doctor defines the Chromebook tests and the raises as necessary costs.

The rubber meets the road in defining, reaching agreement on and standing up against those unnecessary costs.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We don’t, but apparently he does – which certainly seems to take a little of the wind out of his “conservative” sails.

One more thing about twitter and Dr. Paterno. BOOK SALES!!!! Look at the very first thing in his profile…..”Author of LADIES AND GENTLEMEN and DESPERATELY SEEKING PARENTS”…….His co-author has her own WAAAAAY right radio show. No wonder he loves Beck. He is trying to follow the Beck model only on a smaller scale. Trying to cash in on the movement! Twitter is a great way to get the word out to the target market for his book but ya gotta be controversial. Ya gotta speak the language.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We assume that your reference to the “Beck model” also implicitly refers to the Maddow model, the O’Donnell model, the Schultz model, etc. for “speak[ing] the language” to their “target market” in order to enhance the sale of their books and other money-making entertainment ventures, right?

Of course it does!!! As I have stated here many times, MSNBC is simply FOX in reverse. That does not make their methods any better or any different.

I guess a fair starting point would be with Rush. I mean he has been doing it the longest and with the most success. Ironically it seems like the “conservative” carnival barkers have more success compared to the liberal or progressive. Those that you mentioned have either lost their shows or are getting killed in the ratings. I am not sure what that says.

I am not saying there is anything illegal about it but let’s be honest about what it is.

EDITOR’S NOTE: There is nothing – NOTHING – you can learn from MSNBC or FOX that will make you more knowledgable or competent in understanding and participating in local government. If the ratings of all those “carnival barkers” declined to the point where they went off the air, the country would be better off.


I could not possibly agree with you anymore on this point. The country would be better off.

I guess where we differ is that I take it one step further. Based on his twitter posts, I cannot help but put the Doctor in that same category of “carnival barker”.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Fine, consider Dr. P a “carvival barker” for purposes of his Twitter posts. But that’s all the more reason to judge his performance as a D-64 School Board member by what he does in that role, and not by his Twitter posts.

Now can we get back to a discussion of real D-64 issues rather than Dr. P’s irrelevant (to D-64) Twitter posts?

Fair enough. You are right…….I have taken up way too much or your airwaves on this topic. I have enjoyed the discussion.

“There is nothing – NOTHING – you can learn from MSNBC or FOX that will make you more knowledgable or competent in understanding and participating in local government.”

I completely agree. The fact that it’s non-partisan is one of the reasons I enjoy following and participating in local government. And one of the reasons I enjoy following this blog. This is why I was initially alarmed by Dr. Paterno’s candidacy…it seemed so much more blatantly partisan than most others.

But I’m relieved to see that so far he’s demonstrated no apparent inclination to bring the partisan/neocon posturing he seems to enjoy on Twitter to our local school board, and I hope it stays that way.

Let’s hope that Paterno and Borrelli can do what Paterno is saying they will do. What I don’t get is why he votes for a 2% pay increase when he says he wanted no increase. He votes “yes” on something he doesn’t want?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sounds like “compromise” to us.

Why are the original “articles” on this website anonymous? If you’re a public watchdog looking for transparency shouldn’t you post your name to your article? If you fancy yourself some kind of journalist shouldn’t you post your name to your work? Until you take responsibility for your public thoughts they really don’t mean much. I don’t agree with much you or Fred Klonsky have to post, but at least he has the courage to post his name to his public postings.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Adopting your “logic,” your anonymous comment really doesn’t mean much. But we’ll entertain it anyway, just for fun.

The editor and publisher of this blog does not “fancy [himself] some kind of journalist,” which is why the vast majority of the facts/information contained in these posts are taken from published sources, like city/school district/park district websites, newspapers, etc. He believes that ideas should stand on their own as much as possible, which is why the posts are all made by “Publius” (an homage to authors of The Federalist Papers, but with any conceit fully and vigorously disclaimed) and anonymous comments like yours are accepted.

He’s also not into self-aggrandizement, which might explain why he doesn’t promote his name the way Klonsky does.

Despite your coyness, we suspect you’re well aware of his identity – which is commonly known and has appeared not only in a number of posts (e.g., 10.11.07, 07.21.11, 01.02.12, 05.04.13 and 05.26.13) but also in articles in our two “local” newspapers, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune.


It’s simple. Board member Paterno did something that Twitter Paterno would be very upset about. Don’t worry. I’m sure he will give himself a good talking to.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Too bad the other Board members won’t do the same.

Paterno is Dr. Jeckyll on the D64 board and Mr. Hyde in larger political arenas. That’s what them there shrinky-dinks call “cognitive dissonance,” eh, Doc? The ability to hold two onflicting perspectives simultaneously and fervently by building mental walls. I’m grateful he’s here and not in Congress, as he appears to be at least doing no harm on the local level. And I’m sorry, PubDog, but you will never hear anyone on lefty news do anything like Rush did, calling somebody a whore for explaining that a friend needed birth control for endomitriosis management. The left may indulge itself in mockery and scorn, but the right has a total lock on hate speech.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Your comment about Dr. P’s “cognitive dissonance” echoes F. Scott Fitzgerald’s defintition of intelligence: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

As for whether the Left or the Right is more intellectually bankrupt, Rush Limbaugh is a walking sick joke. But this editor, just last evening, watched an ad for MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, another walking sick joke in his own right and a Harvard education wasted, who had the temerity to say, with a straight face, that “government” led the way out of the Great Depression – while leaving out that inconvenient truth known as…World War II…where it took only 405,000 dead and 671,000 wounded, and the modern-day equivalent of over $4 TRILLION, to jump-start our economy. Where’s Paul Krugman when we need him?

And you can’t imagine how badly we feel about Limbaugh’s use of “whore” instead of “endomitriosis management,” especially when compared to O’Donnell’s disregard of 1 million-plus American casualties and $4 TRILLION in expenses.

Both sides do it. They take a “fact” and half
“report” it to support a position that they already had prior to looking at the story. Of course this is all done to pander to their “base” who are their viewers.

Unfortunately, it is human nature that we tend to give a bit of a pass to those who are more in line with how we feel and are more offended by those who those who whose position we do not agree with. That is why some folks would have no problem with what you point pot about O’Donnell and yet go bonkers over Hannity (or vice versa) when they essentially do the same thing.

EDITOR’S NOTE: That’s exactly why neither O’Donnell nor Hannity should be tolerated.

And why it’s time for a national, non-partisan/bi-partisan “Just say ‘No!’ to vapid overpaid entertainer/propagandists” campaign.

Unless they are on your school board.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We don’t care about Dr. P’s Twitter site, or his book(s), for that matter. We care only about what he does as a D-64 Board member.

But as we’ve seen since he became a candidate for the D-64 Board, some readers/commentators apparently prefer distractions over what really matters. But please spare us another discussion of “Lethal Weapon 5: The Finger Gun.”

I am sure Lawrence O’Donnell will be happy to know all he has to do is get elected to the school board and he will be back in your good graces with all prior comments, ads or indiscretions erased from the record….now there is accountability!!!

EDITOR’S NOTE: O’Donnell couldn’t get into our good graces, in the first place (much less “back”), even if he crawled on his belly like a reptile.

But if you’re going to remain obsessed with irrelevant distractions, why don’t you go chase Elvis – he’s been sighted trying to order a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich at a Denny’s in Owensboro, KY.

BY ANONYMOUS ON 07.23.13 5:15 AM
“Enough with saying teachers “work 8 months of the year.” Now you have anonymous commenters repeating it. I don’t disagree that administrators in D64 are overpaid but for the most part the teachers do a great job. Yes they get summers off but they put in countless extra hours”

Really, how come the school parking lots are empty at 4? Who else gets Christmas break, spring break and the summer off? Not to mention Pulaski Day, Presidents Day …….. It comes out to 180 days of work for the 2013 schedule.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We think you’re a bit high at 180, but that comes out to 8.57 months of work per year. And the only other people we know who get all those days off are…wait for it…school kids!


I am sorry but I live next to a D64 school and my family has been involved in D64 schools for years as parents and students. The parking lots are NOT empty at 4 PM. That is simply factually incorrect.

Yes cause 2 VS 2.75 extra on a lower 30-60k salary is a HUGE increase. It never ends. you get a raise then healthcare goes up. So really if doesn’t matter. for those not making anything over 100k.

EDITOR’S NOTE: So what the cost of healthcare, or anything else, have to do with how much money you should be paid? If you didn’t produce more, or you didn’t produce better, or your organization didn’t do better, why should you get more money?

Your an attorney. When you lose a case do you still get payed?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But we’re aware of no circumstances under which attorneys get RAISES for losing cases.

And attorneys don’t have tenure, or a guaranteed permanent clientele, or a constitutionally-guaranteed defined-benefit pension, or only have to work 8-9 months a year.

So you’re point is…?

I am. Thats my point.
In every field there are people doing a #$% Job and still get raises and bonuses. Thats not what I am even referring to. The common people. People behind the scenes that when employers make blanket decisions effect them.
Their are also secretaries and others who dont get Tenured. Employees who work year round. Employees who are in jobs where there performance cant really get better. I mean how much faster can I type? Is that what I should get payed for being better at? Its more of just doing a good job any time. And as far as why should they get a raise? Who evaluates them? who comes up with this. Some round table of experts that probably dont even associate with the actual employee. Dont even know what the person does in a given day? What about those people?

I think meritorious pay has its place. Just not everywhere.

EDITOR’S NOTE: So you’re back to COLA/CPI/inflation as your answer to the question: “Why should they get a raise?” Sorry, wrong answer.

And, no, people “doing a #$% Job” aren’t all getting raises and bonuses – unless they are part of an organization or department that has improved performance and production, and their raises/bonuses are based on group performance rather than their individual performance.

What can a secretary do? Take on a second, or a third, or a fourth assignment – like secretaries in the private sector have been doing for years. And even then, that might just be to keep their jobs – not to get a raise.

Yea you stay at your job and charge the same as you did 10 years would that make you feel I mean why get a raise you win some you lose some. Cost of living is bs. Gas goes up by 3 bucks. Yet col is like 10cents or some bs number. And paying a secretary the same rate for several years is borderline communism and bad for morale in general

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Gas goes up by 3 bucks”? “[P]aying a secretary the same rate for several years is borderline communism”?

Sleep it off for a few more hours.

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