Spotlight on District 109

The power of prayer is what we need in District 109.

Well, the Superintendent search continues full steam ahead, even though the Board was presented with 500+ signatures from people who have no confidence they can do an effective job.  In a school system with 3,000 students and just over 1,500 families, that’s a significant number.  Those folks have seen the decision making process in effect for 7+ years now.  They have seen instructional decline, bad hirings, employee unrest, and questionable spending practices.  They have had their concerns fall on deaf ears.

A good board, whether it is in the private or public sector, provides oversight of management.  When things go wrong, the board usually wants to know why.  It’s called a post-mortem and successful organizations conduct them all the time.  Our BOE, which currently consists of attorneys, captains of industry, and “management consultants” should know this.  You can’t run a successful organization without learning from your mistakes.  The community has been asking for this at board meetings for months.  The response from President London is ”Most of the issues that have come up in the past year have been examined and dealt with”.  Really.  That’s news to us.

We need a Superintendent who will reach out to the teachers and parents and repair the damage incurred over the last 7 years.  Honestly, we are not asking for much.  Is it too much to ask to get a reasonable response to your inquiry?  The answer doesn’t always have to be “yes”.  A “no” is fine with a valid and reasonable explanation.  “Mrs. Jones, we understand your concern, but we can’t accommodate you at this time because……”.  And I’m not talking about a gobbledygook management-speak answer.  I’m talking about a valid and heartfelt response that shows you really care.  Of course, it is much more effective when it comes from a person who ACTUALLY DOES care.

According to a recent Patch story, one consultant recommended getting input from “clergy, parents groups and men's and women's groups”.  I think we just may have found the answer to our problem.  I think we definitely need to consult the clergy.  The clergy of the community must lead us in prayer for the superintendent search.  Since the BOE will not listen to community input, this is what we must fall back on.  So please proceed expeditiously to your church, synagogue, temple, or mosque, and pray for the children of District 109.  Pray that somehow we will hire a caring, dedicated, and capable leader who will return us to the world class school system that we all expect and demand.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

David Greenberg September 02, 2012 at 07:49 PM
"”Most of the issues that have come up in the past year have been examined and dealt with” - you may want to consider a FOIA request of the District asking for the results of the examinations that were conducted. Memos, emails, reports, and so on. If it exists, it could provide some insight. If it doesn't, well, there's insight there too. And if it supposedly exists but the Board refuses to release it under some FOIA exemption, there's even more insight... Finally, you may want to review some of the materials promulgated by the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) - they're the ones who often provide the reference materials used by School Boards. These materials provide "best practices" to follow - and once you start looking at them, you might just get that "ah ha!" moment about the Board's actions. In the meantime, Prayer is a wonderful thing. It can lead to insights, and peace. But in this instance, the power of the VOTER will likely be more powerful for the cause. Vote out every single one of the Board members who aren't listening and who voted to retain the current Superintendent. Then vote in the candidates who will listen, change the Superintendent, and change the District for the betterment of the taxpayers and the Students.
Frank G. Karkazis September 03, 2012 at 01:09 PM
John and David, great comments from both of you. Can one of you kindly provide a list of the candidates that will listen, and a list of those who won't. It is mind boggling that after being presented with 500+ signatures of taxpayers that demand change, the board turns their back on them. This is unacceptable in our town.
John Russillo September 03, 2012 at 03:02 PM
I've only heard rumors about who is running but I certainly hope all candidates will be thoroughly vetted. I would like to see candidate forums run by the local media to start, and anything else you can think of would be great. I think one thing that is sorely lacking on the board is one or two members who have an education background and understand how a school system is run. This board was caught off guard too many times when their only input was the superintendent and they did not have the knowledge to suspect that something was wrong. We need REAL oversight, not rubber stamping.
Go With the Flow September 03, 2012 at 04:40 PM
I think this is another great written piece! It is so sad that this school board, will not listen to the community members of families who have or have had children attend district 109. These signatures show that there is no confidence in what the school board decisions have been. They can care less about the students and definitely can care less about the staff members. The only thing that we as a community need to make sure of since they are refusing to listen to us about waiting for a superintendent, is that the new person has exceptional skills in rebuilding the foundation of collaboration and success in 109. If they don't have amazing communication skills and are not willing to get out of his or her precisious office....then forget it! As for the school board, I so wish we can vote them all out! Your services are no longer welcomed or trusted within our community!


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