New D-64 Contract, And Secrecy, A Page From The Madigan/Emanuel Playbook


Four weeks ago tonight the Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 School Board did exactly what we knew all along it would do: it approved a new four-year contract with the Park Ridge Education Association (“PREA”), a/k/a the teachers union, that will lock the taxpayers into over $200 million of teacher expense over the next four years, without even letting those taxpayers see the document and comment on its terms.

That’s what craven politicians with utter contempt for their constituents do – which is why Mike Madigan has made a career of doing it down in Springfield, Rahm Emanuel does it in Chicago, and Richie Daley did it before him. And that’s one of the biggest reasons why the finances of both Illinois and Chicago are in shambles.

Craven politicians also don’t believe they owe their constituents honesty, transparency and accountability.

That’s why they try, usually with much success, to bamboozle their generally inattentive and downright stupid constituents with waves of propaganda intended to obscure actions designed to benefit those special interests whom the politicians can count on for political contributions, boots on the ground at election time, and the assorted favor or two when nobody’s looking.

So, one big reason why the current D-64 Board members don’t give a flying firetruck about the average taxpayers is basic math.

Three of the current Board members – Vicki “Who? What? Where? Huh?” Lee, Dathan “Just say ‘No!’ to Common Core” Paterno and Scott “I’m with stupid” Zimmerman – were elected by a total of 9,887 (31.13%) of the District’s 30,772 registered voters who showed up to vote in April 2013. The top vote-getter, the incumbent Zimmerman, receiving a shade more than 5,000 votes. That’s less than 17% of the total registered voters.

That modest turnout, however, still trounced the pathetic 4,588 (14.84%) of the District’s 30,924 registered voters who showed up in April 2015 to re-elect Tony “Who’s The Boss?” Borrelli and elect Mark “Help!” Eggemann, Bob “I look like a school board member, don’t I?” Johnson and Tom “Can you believe I’m a lawyer?” Sotos – with non-incumbent Eggemann leading that field with just under 2,800 votes, or barely 9% of the total registered voters.

Do the math.

Roughly 500 PREA members and D-64 administrators live and pay RE taxes here – NOT including Supt. Laurie Heinz, who carpetbags her $250,000+ per year salary and benefits out to a more distant northwest suburb where RE taxes are almost certainly lower than here. That’s basically 500 votes pretty much guaranteed for any candidate who promises to grab his/her ankles to keep those teachers and administrators happy.

Then add just one vote from each family of the almost 4,500 D-64 students who might, at the high end, be paying $5,000/year in RE taxes to D-64 for $30,000 of D-64 education for their two kids – compared to the $9,842/year tuition for two kids at St. Paul of the Cross, or the $6,930/year for two at St. Andrew’s Lutheran – and you can see why those parent-voters have little incentive to elect fiscally-responsible Board members who will stand up to the PREA’s demands and thereby risk a strike that would cause those parent-voters the inconvenience and cost of securing non-D-64 daycare for the strike’s duration.

That’s why, like Madigan and his General Assembly minions, or Rahm and his alderdopes, any D-64 Board member with designs on re-election knows that pandering to, and appeasing, public-sector unions like the PREA and bureaucrats like the D-64 administrators will also placate the parent-voters. And that basically ensures their re-election, as well as a fan club likely to endure beyond their Board terms.

With re-election and a fan club secured, who needs honesty, transparency and accountability?

We’ll talk more about this D-64 Board’s perversions of representative democracy (a/k/a the republican – small “r” – form of government) in our next post.

To read or post comments, click on title.

12 comments so far

Welcome back, ‘Dog!

Good analogy of Madigan/Rahm/Daley-style gov’t to our locals. Disrespect and contempt is the rule rather than the exception with D-64 (and D-207).

Why SHOULD, not why can (because I know about IOMA exceptions), these negotiations be held in secret? Why SHOULD, not why can (ditto), the contract terms be kept secret? Why SHOULD, not why can, raises be guaranteed and based not on merit but on the CPI?

Not one of these school board members is representing me. But to your point, they could care less.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Your questions suggest the coarse joke about why a dog licks his private parts.

When you don’t truly believe in honesty, transparency and accountability, however, your default mechanism is secrecy. The less the taxpayers know, the fewer reasons they have to beef.

Welcome back!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Good to be back.

The PREA should be ashamed of demanding that negotiations be conducted in secret. I guess they don’t want us taxpayers to hear their demands, watch their posturing, listen to the reasons why they deserve more money for working 9 months a year. What a joke!

EDITOR’S NOTE: The PREA is doing whatever it can get away with to get its members a better deal for no more effort or measurable achievement.

It’s our elected alleged “representatives” who failed, once again, to do their jobs – unless their job descriptions start with “clueless” and end with “rubber-stamps.”

More people show up at a city council meeting to oppose construction of a building on Talcott than at a school board meeting to demand honesty and transparency from a $200K deal. Priorities, people.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Are you suggesting that fighting a “mixed use” building on Talcott that complies with the Zoning Code isn’t a higher priority than demanding transparency and accountabilty re a $200,000,000 contract?

Where were you?

At your suggestion I watched that meeting where Ms. Reardon criticized the board for lack of transparency and Borrelli was an empty suit. On the other hand, Sotos sounded like an idiot, asking her why he should listen to citizens and, if he does, how many should he listen to and for what purpose while the rest of the stiffs just sat there. How depressing.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Busy with the day job.

That exchange between Mrs. Reardon and Sotos – a rapier dueling a spork – may well be the most instructive lesson on just how our marvelous form of government given us by the greatest collection of political thinkers and doers ever collected in one place in the same era can still crash and burn when elected officials are little more than puppets for the people they are supposed to be overseeing.

For readers who haven’t yet seen rapier v. spork, you can watch it at , starting at the 1:03:20 mark. And for readers who already have seen it, watch it again in light of the events that have transpired since.

Two number surprised me, leading to two questions. (1) 500 D-64 employees live within D-64 — which is more surprising, that (a) there are at least 500 employees, (b) these must amount to more than maybe 75% of all employees and (c) 500 live and vote in D64? (2) 4,500 students — does that mean (a) we’re spending big bucks to educate just 10% of the D64 population, (b) 4,500 students implies maybe 3,000 households, so are we subsidizing fewer than the 1/3 of households often cited on this blog?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry, we can’t seem to derive any coherent questions from your comments with question marks attached; and we can’t afford the time trying to translate them.

But while you’re at it, can you please point out specific posts in which we “often cited” to “subsidizing…the 1/3 of households” re D-64?

Was agreeing with your general point that D64 has a hard-wired, live-in voting bloc that accounts for most of the votes in favor of tax-and-spend board members. I was expressing surprise that the voting bloc includes 500 employees of D64, and surprise that there are only 4,500 students. Implications: There are too many employees, too few students and too many taxes paid by a supermajority of the community for the benefit of a few.

Which leads to the question about the 1/3 thing. It’s been said on this blog and elsewhere that only 1/3 of households in D64 actually send kids to D64 schools, while the other 2/3 of households just pay the tax bills. If there are 4,500 students, assuming more than one child per household, it could be that there are only 2,000-3,000 households sending kids to D64 schools. Is 2,000-3,000 less than 1/3 of households?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry, but we seem to have totally missed those points.

The 500 employees is, as best as we can tell, just the teachers, teachers assistants and administrators. The “1/3” figure perhaps was a rough-cut based on approximately 13,000 Park Ridge (not District) households and 4,500 students, implicitly attributing only 1 student to a household.

So you’re right: knowing anecdotally that many households have more than 1 student in a D-64 school DOES supports the conclusion that D-64 spending is concentrated in significantly fewer than 1/3 of the District’s households; and the taxpaying is being done even more disproportionately by households without D-64 students.

Which makes the D-64 Board even more guilty of taxation without representation.

Your insults make the substance of what you post lost to most people.

Here is a challenge. Try to write a post on your blog without using insults. My father always told me “use of insults and swear words make you sound stupid, even if your not”.

I accept all your criticism. However, your insults show your ignorance.

Looking forward to your comments about the contract in your next post, this time minus the unnecessary insults.

I know you are capable of making a point without them, so how about you try it.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Goodness, Tom, what a delicate flower you pretend to be!

And how shameless a daisy at that – especially in light of the regular insults to the taxpayers you and your colleagues perpetrate with your ubiquitous closed sessions, not the least of which having concealed the negotiations and the PREA contract’s terms until AFTER their approval.

Feigned insult is a tried-and-true political trick, albeit a cheap and reprehensible one. Your facility with it suggests that your transformation from rank apprentice to full-fledged Illinois politician appears complete.

Tom Sotos wrote: “…even if your not.”

Is it insulting if I wonder why a Board of Ed. member can’t seem to mind his spelling?

EDITOR’S NOTE: We see your point, but after slightly more than a year on that Board Sotos has insulted taxpayers far more by his ideas, policies and votes than by his spelling.

Thanks for posting!

Re: The Video—Could Tom Sotos be more smug? Facebook hero Sotos should lose his anti-taxpayer arrogance.

Mrs Reardon was the adult in the room.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks for reading.

Borrelli’s ending the Reardon/Sotos colloquy was like a boxer’s corner-man throwing in the towel. You’ll rarely see such an obvious mismatch between somebody who really understands representative democracy and somebody who couldn’t find Col. Mustard in the Conservatory with the Candlestick – not unlike the rest of those Board members, past and present, unfortunately.

I am not sure if your math is wrong or I am miscalculating, but it has to be greater than $200 million for the next four years in salaries and benefits.

I believe this year’s salary and benefits was $54 million. Total expenditures of $65 million multiplied by 83% for salaries and benefits per D64 website gets $54 million.

So I would think the number would be at least $220 million over four years with less than a 1% increase.

Although maybe it is salaries alone without benefits that makes up the $200 million; then that would be a substantial increase.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Whether it’s $200 million or $220 million makes little difference to these Board members who happily conducted these negotiations in secret and then joyously baked another round of secret negotiations in this contract to tie the hands of the Board that negotiates the next sweet heart contract four years from now.

I just had a chance to watch the video cited above.

The most amazing thing was the fact that the Board allowed ANY dialogue with a citizen who showed up to speak. I’ve had the audacity to comment in front of the D64 Board three times, and each time they just sat there waiting for me to finish. I asked for answers to my questions, and none came. “Next speaker?” So in a way I admire the fact that Sotos was willing to engage in a discussion — and wasn’t surprised that Borrelli squashed it.

If you keep watching the video, though, you’ll see that Borrelli takes ten minutes to respond to my comments from the last meeting I attended in August. Why couldn’t that have happened in the moment, at the very same meeting?

Humorously, in the same ten minutes on this video, he also responds to comments made in August by Mr. Mike Reardon — who then comes to the podium to correct how Borrelli quoted him.

Wish I had been there. Borrelli should be glad I wasn’t.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Borrelli doesn’t have the chops to address public comments in real time, so he’s capable only of reading what Heinz and/or propaganda minister Bernadette Tramm write up for him.

Unfortunately, save for you, Joan Sandrik and the Reardons – Jayne and Mike – the only folks who tend to show up at meetings are the freeloading “gimme” crowd. And with the PREA already recruiting favored candidates who will be on the Board to negotiate the next sweetheart deal four years hence, prepare for more of the same old same old.

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