Another Nationwide Search To Round Up The Usual Suspects? (Updated)


We confess to being a bit bewildered, and dismayed, to read in last week’s Park Ridge Journal that the Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 board has hired BWP & Associates to conduct a “nationwide” search to replace Supt. Philip Bender. (“D64 Plans National Search,” Oct. 23)

Bender is moving on at the end of the current school year after four years as superintendent.  During that time there appears to have been little in the way of educational achievement to distinguish his tenure, or that of the School Board members who engineered his hiring – a semi-secret, arrogant and petty process orchestrated by then-president John Heyde, which we wrote about in our 04.07.10 post.

We can’t imagine similar nonsense occurring this time around, especially under the leadership of new school board president Tony Borrelli.  But Borrelli wasn’t even on the D-64 board back then, so he may not be aware of the problems with that previous hiring process; and he might be a tad too trusting of the folks who may have suggested the “nationwide” search process.

The threshold question that needs to be asked and answered is a simple one: What are we expecting to get from a nationwide search that we can’t get from one of our current D-64 administrators?

Yes, we see the irony of this blog asking that question, given our past criticisms of the lack of measurable performance produced by the D-64 teachers and administrators.  But for those who think our criticism has been off-base, the question becomes: Is D-64 so bereft of home-grown managerial and leadership talent among its current administrators that the Board thinks it necessary, or even desirable, to conduct a “nationwide” search?

The term “nationwide search” might sound impressive, but what is the practical value of such an effort?  But unless the District’s well-paid headhunters are looking to bring in a well-recognized education authority – like a Michelle “StudentsFirst” Rhee from California, or an E.D. “CoreKnowledge” Hirsch, Jr. from the Univ. of Virginia – to really shake things up academically, culturally and/or financially (and we haven’t heard even a whisper of that being considered), what’s the point of recruiting candidates from around the country?

Does anybody reasonably believe that so much innovation and proven success in elementary school education is being implemented generally in other parts of the country that D-64 would significantly ratchet up its educational quality and achievement simply by importing any random administrator from another state?  What does that say about D-64’s “farm system” for training, developing and promoting administrators?

Four years ago D-64 imported Bender from Indiana, and he didn’t move the academic performance needle one bit.  Nor did he do much for D-64’s finances.  And back in 1995, the District imported Fred Schroeder all the way from Schaumburg.  He didn’t move the academic performance needle much, either – although he did sell D-64 taxpayers on the 1997 “Yes/Yes” referendum for the brand new Emerson Middle School to replace what, at that time, was the District’s newest school: the “old” Emerson Junior High.

That sent D-64 into a downward financial spiral that almost put the District’s finances under the control of the Illinois State Board of Education, a situation that was avoided only by an emergency back-door issuance of $5 million of “working cash” bonds in 2005, and the multi-million dollar tax increase via the “Citizens For Strong Schools” referendum in 2007 – with plans for another one in 2017.

And for what it’s worth, the City’s importing of its previous city manager from Michigan didn’t turn out to be a successful four-year experiment, either.

Home-grown Sally Pryor filled the gap between Schroeder and Bender.  And while some people had their issues with her, we didn’t notice any appreciable difference from her predecessor or her successor, performance-wise.  At the very least, Pryor had greater familiarity with the District and the community, which probably was an un-measureable plus.

So rather than trying to entice some nobody school administrator from Tucson or Toledo to relocate to Park Ridge, why shouldn’t D-64’s first step be to seriously evaluate the administrators already on its own payroll – people who already know the District, the community and the culture and do not need a year or two of ramp-up time?

And if those senior administrators aren’t worthy of such first-line consideration, maybe they aren’t progressing well enough to retain their current positions, either.

To read or post comments, click on title.

UPDATE (11.01.13)  Dr. Paterno raises a number of good points in his comment to this post, and we take him at his word that he and his fellow D-64 Board members truly want “the best candidate for the job.”

We also understand that he is correct when he states that there currently are “less than a handful of D64 administrators who have the credentials or certification to become a superintendent,” as it appears that specific certifications are required by the state for those who will fill superintendent positions.  But we will take Dr. P at his word that any D-64 administrators who apply for the position will be given a fair shake – albeit with the knowledge that none of them likely will be able to demonstrate “a proven track record” of appreciably improving student performance either district-wide or in their own schools, given D-64’s unspectacular performance on standardized testing over the past several years.

That being said, you can contribute to the new superintendent hiring process by going to the D-64 website between now and November 4 and taking the survey of priorities for the new superintendent established by the District’s hired headhunter firm, BWP & Associates. Just go to the D-64 home page (, go to the “News & Announcements” block on the right-hand side of the page, click on “District 64 Board of Education Invites Input on Superintendent Search…” and have at it.

Frankly, we put virtually no stock in “anonymous” surveys of this type because they usually are designed either to yield a specific intended outcome, or to produce random results that can be interpreted in any way the surveyor (and the entity commissioning it) desires.  And it appears that this one can be taken multiple times, so ballot-box stuffing is to be expected, especially by the special interests like the teachers and administrators who have the most immediate interest (i.e., their jobs) in this decision.

Since this is the way the School Board’s headhunter wants to go, we have to face the fact that it’s the only game in town – and it’s better to be a player, no matter how rigged the game might be, than to sit on the bench.  But since it’s an anonymous survey that permits multiple voting, we’re suggesting that you “cheat” a bit when taking it – because we suspect that the PREA will be telling its members (perhaps overtly, but more likely with typical Chicago-style winks and nods) not to check the “I am employed by Park Ridge – Niles School District 64” box or the “School Teacher” box but, instead, to identify themselves as merely a resident (and maybe also a parent or retired person) when checking off “Strengths” such as “Excellent teachers and staff,” “Financial management” and “Academic achievement”; and issues such as “Funding,” “Instruction” and “Personnel.”

All you ordinary taxpayers should identify yourselves as employees, teachers, administrators and/or, at the very least, parents of current D-64 students – if only to neutralize the anticipated camouflage the PREA members are likely to be wearing.  And take the survey as many times as you can, since that’s another acceptable way to play a rigged game.

Then contact each D-64 Board member and demand that the District post not just the compilation of the results of the survey but also its raw data – including all of the individual surveys – online in real time, so that those results can be assessed by the taxpayers in their original, unadulterated state rather than after being sanitized by the District and/or its headhunter.

Because as a long line of t.v. and movie Westerns have taught us, when facing a rigged poker game you either hold a gun to the dealer’s head to ensure an honest shuffle, or you kick over the table.

27 comments so far

Please. You’re really reaching one this one. I’m guessing if D64 announced that they were only looking at internal candidates you’d be ripping them to shreds for not looking beyond their own inept, overpaid, (inset other derogatory term from among your many standards). Nice try.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Obviously, we have been critical of the lack of objectively measurable student academic performance by D-64; and that criticism would most certainly lead to questions about anybody currently within the District. But unless the District is affirmatively going after a proven high-achieving educational top-gun superintendent candidate, how is an out-of-state candidate going to be inherently better than our in-house (or neighboring district) candidate?

Was Phil Bender some educational gunslinger in Indiana with super-achievement being the hallmark of his old district? Because if he was, we must have missed those headlines.


You are 100% correct. What I find puzzling is that you seem to find this a revelation. This is his blog and he can comment on what he chooses and from what ever angle he chooses. This blog has a great deal of value but he never said he was going to be fair and balanced or unbiased.

It is up to us to do the research and get information for ourselves and take what we find useful while filtering out all the crap.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This blog strives for consistency: think through an issue, take a policy-based position on it, and stick with that position – unless and until there’s a darn good reason for changing that position or its underlying policy.

And yes, you SHOULD do the research and get information for yourselves rather than trust anybody to do it all for you. You might actually learn something more than you learn here – which, in turn, is a darn sight more than you’ll learn from most local newspaper stories about these topics where most of the “reporters” (with one or two notable exceptions) barely scratch the surface.

Your editorial makes a solid point: A basic task of a manager is to groom subordinates to perform the manager’s own job. The board should have been insisting on this. If the second and third tier staff at District 64 lack the capacity to execute the Superintendent’s duties, the School Board should replace those people with professionals who demonstrate the capacity to earn promotion.

EDITOR’S NOTE: That’s why it’s usually better and more economical to build a successful baseball team through a farm system than by high-priced free agents.

11:36 Of course the editor can talk about whatever he wants. But you are incorrect that I find his angle to be a revelation. The fact that he’s trying to put D64 in a bad light is par for the course. My point is that the “story” he’s seizing on is a stretch. A “gotcha” with nothing solid to grasp.

EDITOR’S NOTE: D-64 has made a habit of putting itself in a bad light by charging its taxpayers top-shelf prices for second (or third?) shelf academic performance.

As for the “nationwide” search: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Santayana.

Let’s have more discussion on the actual hiring of a new superintendent instead of discussing the blogger’s treatment of the hiring process.

They can search in whatever corner of the Earth they want… I’m just hoping they emphasize fiscal responsibility. The new superintendent should know about the history of tax-and-spend in D64 — and see proof positive in the offered compensation package that the board has learned lessons from the past. To put a fine point on it: D64 needs to spend less on this superintendent than they did the last one. If s/he brings up academic standards, then I’m sure the community will support a salary increase.

Of all the criteria they could put together to find someone to lead D64 forward and face the changes that are obviously taking place in education (like it or not), of all the things they could look for to fill this critical role, your number one criteria is they have to find someone that they can pay less???

EDITOR’S NOTE: That should NEVER be the number one criterion. But pay should always be tied to performance, and nothing but performance.

I want to correct some misperceptions here.

Although the news report is true, it seems to suggest that the board is emphasizing the nationwide aspect of the search. This is not the case. While we are open to candidates from anywhere, we are not particularly looking for some hotshot from out of state. Frankly, I personally would prefer someone who deeply understands the culture, history, and divided temperament of D64. Our goal in broadening the search is simply to find the best candidate for the job–something I would hope that every stakeholder would believe in–and we felt that limiting ourselves only to local candidates was unwise.

As for the notion that the administration is something of a farm system out of which we could or should pluck the next diamond in the rough…we are most certainly open to looking at current D64 administrators. However, there are less than a handful of D64 administrators who have the credentials or certification to become superintendent. If any of them put their hat into the ring, I can only speak for myself in saying that I will give them every opportunity to convince us that he/she is the right person for the job.

Perhaps one of the superintendent’s tasks should be to build that “farm team”, but I can’t envision that being one of the sup’s top priorities. What I CAN see as a top priority for us in looking for our new superintendent is someone who not only has a plan to appreciably improve performance, but who has a proven track record in doing so. None of the current crop of D64 administrators can make that claim–again, another reason we broadened our search.

Someone made the suggestion that the board replace administrators with new folks who could perform the superintendent’s duties. While the board cannot do that–the superintendent hires his/her team–we can certainly emphasize that notion with the new superintendent. It’s not a bad idea.

Finally (I’m only speaking for myself here), I have no interest in overpaying for a superintendent (or an assistant superintendent, principal, teacher, teacher’s aide, janitor, or secretary). I will weigh cost with prior performance. I won’t vote for a liberal compensation package that isn’t very closely tied to performance; top-notch compensation demands top-notch performance. I’m not interested in giving away raises for average or even solid performance. This hiring process is one of those opportunities where the board can prove–or disprove–its commitment to fiscal responsibility.

EDITOR’S NOTE: All good points, Dr. P.

But if you mean what you say about looking for a superintendent candidate “who has a proven track record” in improving performance, we’d like to hear exactly what that translates to in objectively measurable criteria that the District will use to make that assessment.

We don’t want nobody nobody sent.
That’s the Chicago way.
I would not worry about Borelli being taken to the cleaners. He’s unlikely to fall for the usual drivel, from what I’ve seen.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We tend to agree with you. But there are still a lot of shallow-thinking rubber-stampers on that Board; and Borrelli has never gone through this process before.

Dear Anon. at 6:40 p.m., I assume your comment, an incredulous “the number one criteria is to pay less?”, was in response to my comment just above yours that “D64 needs to spend less on this superintendent than they did the last one. If s/he brings up academic standards, then I’m sure the community will support a salary increase.”

I did not say that lower pay should be the #1 criteria. My issue is that cost-savings has never, ever been a criteria for D64 administrators or board members. State law allows them to raise the budget by up to 2-3% per year without any voter agreement, so they go ahead and do just that.

The board has equal duty to run great schools and write smart budgets. I’m sure they will find a good superintendent. But do they really need to pay him or her more than what Dr. Bender makes? Can’t we just be in the ballpark?

It would send a signal to the community if they found someone great, at a reasonable price. The community would respond in kind with a pay increase if that new superintendent delivered higher academic standards.

I hope that clarifies for you.

‘Cheat’ a bit? I don’t know if you meant that tongue and cheek, but I am surprised that you would even cross that bridge.

You are making an assumption that a group of people are going to enter in the survey multiple times. So your recommendation is to counter your expectation with ‘ballot’ stuffing from another set of individuals.

Doen’t this seem to be an unethical recommendation? Before you respond that I am naive, which I probably am, I would not recommend doing something unprincipaled or misguided. If one side ‘cheats’ that doesn’t mean the other side should cheat too? Two wrongs don’t make it right, etc., etc.

This isn’t an election ballet, but it is not an ‘American Idol’ vote either.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Maybe if this weren’t Crook County but some small rural town in Vermont, we might actually dare to assume the process would be honest. But we don’t.

Yes, we ARE making that assumption. And, no, it’s not “unethical” because when someone – who claims to be a “professional” in this area – creates a process as FUBARed as this survey process patently is, they are INVITING the exact conduct that we are anticipating from the special interests, and to which we are encouraging a rebuttal. Or viewed through a baseball metaphor: if a particular umpire is calling high strikes it’s not unethical to throw high pitches and and expect them to be called strikes, even if you know they are outside the normal strike zone.

Frankly, this survey is such a joke in so many ways – actually too numerous to point out in this limited space – that it’s inferior to both an election ballot AND an “American Idol” vote. And, therefore, it’s a fraud on the poor trusting stiffs who think that (as the late Jay McMullen used to say) “it’s on the legit.”

8:39 hit the nail on the head — “two wrongs most definitely don’t make a right” when it comes to “cheating” on the survey. I think your assumptions and suggestions about this are abhorrent. We can only hope you are joking because if you’re not then you’re hypocritically stooping to the very behavior you purport to want to weed out.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We wish we could joke about this.

What truly is “abhorrent” is a public body proffering a phony/fraudulent “survey” ostensibly propounded by its hired-gun headhunter for the principal purpose of creating a manufactured “reality” of community beliefs and preferences that can be used by that public body to mislead naive, trusting taxpayers about what an indeterminate, unidentifiable and unverifiable number of respondents – who don’t even have to be D-64 residents or taxpayers to respond – want in a new superintendent.

All we’re doing is calling a spade a “spade” – or, in this case, a fraud a “fraud” – and suggesting ways for potential victims of this dishonest endeavor to diminish its authoritativeness and credibility.


As I said to another poster earlier in this thread the owner of this blog never said he was going to be fair and balanced. I would not be surprised if the survey results are shared with home before the general public so he can write a post on it. He clearly has inside sources in a variety of governing bodies and boards in town.

That said, I feel his general position is correct. Surveys such as this should be given ZERO value or weight in the hiring decision. It is nothing more than a PR stunt.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Okay…so you agree with us that surveys such as this have “ZERO value or weight” and are “nothing more than a PR stunt,” but our criticism of this one is not “fair and balanced”? How so, pray tell?

We have all sorts of sources, both “inside” and “outside” ones, many of which have been developed over a number of years. We also get a surprising amount of information “over the transom” from people we don’t even know, often with a notation along the lines of “you might be interested in this.”

If the local newspaper reporters would make the effort to sift through all this stuff, understand it, and write about it meaningfully/critically rather than superficially, they likely could acquire most or all of those same sources…and maybe more. But in their defense, when they have to write 10 or 20 stories a week so that their respective newspapers can look like something more than the glorified advertising circulars they’ve become, journalism and critical thinking are bound to suffer.

Mr. Trizna, you can be insufferable. You can also be a jerk. But although being from Niles, I started reading your blog because of your duels with Niles resident Kenneth Butterly over the Park Ridge Senior Center, to which I also belonged. And I must grudgingly admit that you provide more insight into the local governments you cover, and more thought-provoking commentary about local issues, than any of the local papers, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, or any other blog I am aware of. I am not sure where you get all this information and insight, or whether you are just a prodigious Googler, but I am amazed at the breadth and depth of what you know about Park Ridge’s local governments, local issues, and public policy. Many of your posts, with their comments and your Editor’s Notes, are like mini civics courses. And I love the quotes you use to illustrate many of the points you make.

The best praise I can offer is that I wish we had a PublicWatchdog in Niles. Stay the course, sir.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thank you…we think.

You are correct about ballot box stuffing, because I have taken the survey twice since reading this post yesterday. What is wrong with the current board members that they would let this kind of abuse occur, and what kind of consultant would design something this stupid?

EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s not “stupid” if you are actually TRYING to rig the game – or enable somebody else to rig it, like the PREA and the parents of kids who want another $1,000 of education (in the form of teachers’ salaries, technology, etc.) for their kids in return for their $50 or $75 share of increased D-64 property taxes.

I wish I had known to ask the question about this survey–re: whether it could be taken over and over. I would not have supported it as is. For the record, I did request that it be changed. When we received a copy of the survey (just before it went live), I noted a paucity of responses that might indicate a desire to cut costs or at least be fiscally responsible. “Funding” didn’t make the grade in my book; I saw a bias in the available responses. Alas, my suggestions were ignored (or privately rejected). Suffice to say, I was not impressed with this facet of the process.

When the results are discussed among the board, I will raise this issue and caution all board members to take the results with a grain of salt. I will also admonish BWP for not allowing for time to consider our input into the survey and for allowing such a “riggable” measure.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A reasonable response, Dr. P. But don’t count on your fellow Board members, save perhaps for Dr. Borrelli, to join you in treating the results of this survey as the total dreck they will be.

We would love to deconstruct this survey to point out all its flaws but, frankly, we don’t have the time to waste on something this totally worthless. But this should tell you something about your headhunter if this is the kind of work product they turn out, and then rush you to judgment on it.

GFL on your superintendent search: your going to need if if this is the way you get out of the gate.

Dr. Paterno:

A reasonable response??

Hindsight is always 20/20 but your response fascinates me. Are you telling me that they did not discuss with you at all the survey, what they hoped to gain from it and the fact that it would anonymous?? If the above is true, is it reasonable that you (and the rest of the board) accepted that?? It would seem to me that the simple fact that it would be anonymous (you had to know that, right??) would lead to the strong risk, or should I say certainty, that the same person would enter multiple surveys. I mean if it is anonymous how are they going to not allow multiple entries unless the site is smart enough to read the computer address of the survey taker and only allow it once (which of course it is not)??

As an aside, I think it is kind of freakin’ critical that you and the rest of board remember that a headhunter or consultant works for you (actually the tax payer). The next time one of them gives you a deliverable document in a timeframe that you feel is rushed of does not allow for proper consideration by you or the board, feel free to tell them so…..LOUDLY!!! What was soooo time sensitive about this survey going live that made you allow them to rush you and push this through? Your going to admonish them??? Lovely! It would appear that without this post being written not a single elected official would have caught this.

Sadly, most pertinent thing posted on this thread is written just above…..”GFL on your superintendent search: your going to need if this is the way you get out of the gate”.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Yes, it’s a “reasonable response” from someone who made a mistake, is admitting it, and is explaining how he will deal with it.

It would be nice if these kinds of mistakes weren’t made, so that this blog didn’t have to point them out, suggest ways for average citizens to compensate for them, and have public officials reply. But we’re not there yet.

Hey, PubDog, what about the latest test scores that were just released? Not a lot of good news for D64 or Maine South, is there?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Read tomorrow’s post.

No, the possibility that the survey’s anonymous quality might result in repeat responders was never raised by anyone on the board, including me. I’ve never participated in a survey like this from this end, so the possibility that interest groups might attempt to skew the results never entered my consciousness. I’m not convinced that anyone did “cheat”, nor am I convinced it didn’t occur.

One of the things that I have been awakened to in my 6 months on the board is the lamentable mentality of “This is just how we do things; don’t worry yourself about it.” It’s one of the fundamental problems in the district that I am committed to changing.

I usually regret communicating in a public forum like this, since telling the truth essentially sticks my neck out and a plurality of responders seem more interested in pissing and moaning than offering solutions or anything productive. This is yet another bitter ingredient in the District 64 poison cocktail.

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Pissing and moaning” is what citizens tend to do, especially when they don’t feel capable of doing anything else. Either get used to it or find another line of public service.

If the possibility that an anonymous survey of this type wouldn’t be abused by special interest groups never occurred to you or your fellow board members, then all you folks need to pull your heads out of your derrieres before the teachers and administrators sell you a few square miles of discount swampland in Florida. You have been elected to be the adults in the room, and the “children” are the special interests who want you to believe them when they say that they won’t throw any parties while you’re gone.

By commenting here you DO run the risk of sticking your neck out, Dr. P. But isn’t that a lot better than being a typical elected turtle who spends 99% of the time hiding in his/her shell or flipped over on its back?

Dr. Paterno:

So let me get this straight. You regret communicating in forums where”…..responders seem more interested in pissing and moaning than offering solutions or anything productive” and yet you are a regular user of twitter.

You, on a daily basis, use a service that limits post to 140 characters and often tends to be little more than a flame war for people to get attention and sell books. Without going into the details, there are many tweets that you have written that have been posted in discussions on this site that in no way offer solutions and are essentially “you pissing and moaning” about Obama to people who feel the same way as you do.

To be clear, I have nothing against twitter and I have been guilty of pissing and moaning many time in my life.

What I cannot believe you actually had the nerve to write that statement related to communications and public forums. You do it when it suits you and complain about it when it does not suit you.

Considering it is football Sunday I will dig out an old quote from da coach. “Who ya crappin’?”

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’ve always thought that Tweets are for the birds; and that if you’re going to artificially limit your writing, then do it right and go with haiku.

I think everyone here is giving too much weight to this survey, which looks to be an innocuous way of reaching out to the community. Cheating so that you can skew the results isn’t going to affect this search. And I think Dr. Paterno is giving too much weight the opinion of one blogger. Time to move along to issues that really matter, folks.

EDITOR’S NOTE: There is never anything “innocuous” about surveys, especially the stupid and/or kinked-up ones that are intended to shape the results of any “reaching out to the community.”

But if you’re so concerned about “issues that really matter,” tell us what matters to YOU re the superintendent search.

7:32: the things that matter to me in the superintendent search are probably not the same things that matter to you. As a parent, my biggest concern is making sure my kids have the skills and knowledge needed to get into a good college and to be productive citizens. By all measurable (and anecdotal) accounts, they are on track to do so. But as you well know, test scores for the district overall show there’s room for improvement. To me, one of the biggest problems I see in the district is lack of true engagement/involvement among the parents, but that’s another tangent, too big to be covered here.

To me, a superintendent who has classroom/instructional experience is more valuable than one who has financial experience. There is no way that test scores will ever improve unless the superintendent knows, inside and out, what it takes to maximize student achievement and how to best support teachers in that endeavor. CPS is a perfect example of how choosing a superintendent based on his “business” experience is not the way to go. When it comes to fiscal matters, there are others in the administration and on the school board who can advise and collaborate with him/her.

And to those taxpayers who don’t have kids in the system and care only about the dollars and cents part of the equation, I wish they’d understand that kids having fellow residents who are properly educated does benefit us all.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If CPS is a “perfect example” of what’s wrong with choosing a superintendent based on businesss experience, how do you explain D-64’s mediocre testing performance despite highly-paid teachers and administrators despite the last three superintendants over the past 17 years all (as we understand it) having “classroom/instructional experience”?

Can you translate your last sentence for us (“kids having fellow residents”?) and then explain how you measure the “benefit [to] us all”?

Translation is to take out the “kids,” sorry: “I wish they’d understand that having fellow residents who are properly educated does benefit us all.”

I don’t know how you measure this. Do I really have to spell out all the benefits of having a well educated vs a poorly educated populace? As economist and law professor Neil H. Buchanan wrote, “Education is good not just for the person who becomes educated, but also for everyone around her. ‘When citizens are more productive, they are able to contribute to the economy in ways that benefit others far beyond the salaries that they receive. They also become much less likely to need public assistance (when the economy is not in a slump), to commit criminal acts, and so on.

Economists call these beneficial aspects of education ‘positive externalities,’ because so many of the good things that education creates are enjoyed by others—people who are ‘external’ to the individual who is deciding how much money to spend on education.”

I realize he’s talking about higher education but I’d hope you agree that the proper foundation needs to be set in elementary and middle school.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Nobody’s arguing AGAINST education. The argument is about whether the value is commensurate with what Park Ridge taxpayers are paying for it, and whether the education is as good as it should be.

But if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it (Peter Drucker). And if you can’t manage it, you end up with what we’ve got: Highly-paid teachers and administrators whose students produce mediocre (for an upper middle class, highly-taxed community) test results that are used, like it or not, to comparably value the quality of the education offered.

MEANWHILE…. hundreds of deadbeat dads and moms aren’t paying their “mandatory” school fees:

So: If I refuse to pay the portion of my property taxes that covers D-64, the government can take away my home.

But if I have children at D-64 schools, and refuse to pay mandatory fees, the school board does nothing.

For the record, my tax bill doesn’t itemize what I’m subsidizing, either.

Get over it, parents! Pay your bills!

Drs. Borrelli and Paterno, what are you and the board doing about this?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Typical government theory: another slice or two off a cut loaf won’t be missed. Kind of like the $600K or so of parking and other fines that the previous city mgr. and deputy city mgr. forgot about after they sent the citations over to the collection agency in Milwaukee.

8:49 am-I disagree with your position. The most important considerations to me (as a parent of school age children and a taxpayer in PR) when looking for a new superintendent for D64 is to find a person with a financial background who understands how to effectively manage a multi-million dollar organization with really only once source of revenue-the PR taxpayer, who can effectively manage a diverse group of administrators and teachers, and is an effective leader. In fact, might be better if he/she was not a teacher. Often the best teachers make bad managers of people and money. D64 has curriculum coordinators and teachers and principals who should be able to implement best practices to handle the issues that come up in a classroom within a budget provided with the guidance of a superintendent who understands limited resources.

If throwing CPS in as your example-wasn’t Paul Vallas a highly respected superintendent who did not have a teaching background? Glad I filled the survey out more than once.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You better fill it out a few more times before the end of the day, because the PREA folks will NOT be checking the “Financial Skills” box on any of their multiple efforts.

Just took the survey. That the board would even consider such horse hockey is scary. Really scary.

@12:30, agreed that the deatbeat parents need to get a grip and pay their fees. And D64 needs to collect. The fact is our tax dollars aren’t enough to cover everything and asking the parents to kick in a couple hundred bucks a year isn’t asking too much. What’s equally sad is the many parents who won’t even kick in the $30 for PTO membership, money that’s largely used for kids’ social activities and other initiatives like anti-bullying programs. The mentality that they should not have to pay a dime extra is, in this parent’s opinion, unconscionable. And to say they’re boycotting fees because they don’t know exactly where the money goes sounds like rationalizing to me.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Too many mice getting too many cookies AND wanting too many glasses of milk.

The idea that these people apparently are “boycotting” paying their fees and D64 is at a loss on what to do is appalling. Here’s a frickin’ idea, the little Johnny or Jenny to stay home until Mommy or Daddy shows up with a payment.
These deadbeats might be right to demand to know where the money is going but how hard should that be for the damn district to provide?

What am I missing ???

EDITOR’S NOTE: There should be no question about “where the money is going” – because all those fees should be explained in an easily findable, easily understandable way on the D-64 website.

That being said, these parents are getting around $10,000 a year of FREE education (assuming they are paying around $3,000 of property taxes to D-64 and have only one child enrolled there), so D-64’s tolerating their deadbeat status seems irresponsible.

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