One More “Residency” Shenanigan From The Jokers At D-64


In our November 28 post we wrote about how Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 had finally figured out that it might be giving away hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars by not confirming that every student receiving a free D-64 education actually lived in the District.

But while it is gratifying to read that the School Board might actually be trying to finally address that problem, a recent Park Ridge Herald-Advocate story (“District 64 considers further residency requirement changes,” Dec. 19) raises new questions about D-64’s ability to be competent stewards of the taxpayers’ money that leave us scratching our heads and reminding ourselves of manager Casey Stengel’s indictment of his own New York Mets back in 1962:

“Can’t anybody here play this game?” 

At the School Board’s December 15 meeting, Board member Dan Collins – the only one with the integrity and fiscal responsibility to have argued against free (i.e., at the taxpayers’ expense instead of the parents’) Chromebooks even though his household would receive two of them worth over $600 – argued for residency checks for every grade instead of just at enrollment, and again at entering third and sixth grades. 

But this Board apparently is still driving under the influence of its senior – and most fiscally irresponsible – member, John Heyde. Consequently, it is continuing to look for plausible ways not to require annual residency checks for kids whose parents expect $14,000 (or $28,000, or $42,000, depending on number of kids in District schools) of free D-64 education. 

Not surprisingly, Heyde is appalled that parents might have to endure what he has called the “pain in the neck” of proving their kids’ residency on an annual basis when, instead, he can simply dump any additional financial burdens of educating kids who don’t live in the District on its beleaguered taxpayers. 

We suggested a no-cost way of doing the residency checks in that 11.28.14 post. But anything that won’t stiff the taxpayers or enrich public employees, preferably at the same time, is rarely (if ever) to Heyde’s liking. So with no shortage of encouragement from Heyde, the Board is having a cost-benefit analysis done, presumably one that will predict a boatload of expense for a mere bucket-full of savings. That’s usually the way these kinds of things are done.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, D-64 is looking to make it even easier for non-resident kids to get a free D-64 education.

The Board is thinking about letting kids who don’t actually live in the District – but whose families are allegedly in the process of building or renovating homes in the District – attend District schools for free for the 18 months prior to the construction/renovation being completed.

The current policy is that kids can start D-64 schools only 60 days before occupancy, although we have no idea what happens if the kid starts school and then the family doesn’t move into their new/newly-renovated home. Given the currently inept state of residency non-checks, however, we suspect the kid could be going to D-64 schools for years while living in Edison Park, Norridge, Des Plaines, etc.

But where the real mental breakdown occurs is in what passes for the thought process of the Board members when it comes to the traditional benchmark qualification for free education: the concept of “residency.” Either kids live in the District or they don’t.

What benefit to the existing District taxpayers is achieved by letting kids who don’t live in the District attend District schools FOR FREE for 18 months?

According to Board member Scott Zimmerman (Heyde’s very own “Mini-Me”), free non-resident education should be extended for at least 18 months, and even up to 24 months, before residency actually occurs.


Zimm blames the slow speed of construction in Park Ridge!  And if that’s not dumb enough for you, try this one: “These people…are building homes and increasing property values in the district. I’d like to encourage that.”

There you have it, folks…further proof that Mark Twain was right when he said: “God made the Idiot for practice, and then He made the School Board.”

Not content to have bungled his assigned task of making sure D-64 is producing the very best educational value for its students and its taxpayers in return for the high taxes we already pay to D-64, Zimmerman is now trying to play economist by shifting his attention to faux-stimulating the local real estate market through giving away as much as $28,000 per kid of D-64 education to NON-RESIDENTS whose parents already are committed to building/renovating a Park Ridge home!

Zimm could have lifted that bright idea right out of a scene from the movie “Dave.”

And it may have inspired fellow Board member Dathan Paterno to chime in with the equally goofy observation: “As long as they’re paying taxes on the property, they’re putting money into the system.”

By that kind of un-reasoning, should a Chicago family living in Norwood Park that owns a Park Ridge condo it rents out for $1,000/month to a senior citizen be able to send their kids to D-64 schools because they are “paying taxes on the property” and “putting money into the system”?

Chalk that up as just another sick joke on the taxpayers passing for stewarsdship from our elected representatives on the D-64 Board – one they are supposed to be voting on at their January 26 meeting, along with whether to do residency checks on the kids of homeowners more frequently than just at the time of initial enrollment.

If your sense of humor runs to the twisted and absurd, feel free to “Ha! Hah!! Hah!!!” Or, given the season, “Ho! Ho!! Ho!!!”

But if you’re a D-64 taxpayer, you’re still getting coal.

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