Former District 300 Board member was out of the country on his new job when I emailed him asking what he thought his accomplishments were.
Interestingly, he did not mention getting elected as a Home School Dad. In 2007, he was one of two McHenry County Home School Dad’s to win a school board seat.
The other was John O’Neill, now a candidate for state representative against veteran incumbent Democrat Jack Franks.
Ryan got more votes than any of the other eight candidates when he ran for the Carpentersville School Board. He defeated incumbent School Board President Mary Fioretti.
I asked him to reflect on his accomplishments. Here’s his reply:
“As you may recall, my campaign was based upon a pledge of both fiscal and ethical accountability and transparency.
“To that end, there are several accomplishments I have particularly strong feelings about.
“I am very pleased that I was able to disprove the image of me that was portrayed by my adversaries and earn the trust of my colleagues, administration and staff of D300.
“Through my conduct, I believe I was able to show all of them that just because someone aspires to a high standard, and as such will occasionally disagree with group think, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re an enemy.
“Just the opposite – often times you’re the voice of reason and conscience.
“While it has often been referred to as ‘pay to play,’ I think ‘conflict of interest’ describes the policy more accurately.
“Besides the practical benefits of its implementation, such a policy sends a strong message in regard to the values a Board hold important. I am proud that I didn’t give up on it after it was defeated the first time around, and of the collaborative approach used to get it ultimately approved.
“The degree of opposition by a key administrator both times around was initially stunning and proved quite revealing in regard to how entrenched and pervasive the ‘me first’ attitude of educrats really is.
“I am proud of the tasks accomplished under my watch as Chair of the Policy & Legislative as well as the Construction and Facilities Oversight Committees.
“In particular, strengthening D300’s policies on
- bullying, harassment and intimidation;
- authoring the cash reserve policy that saved taxpayers $2,000,000 by producing a 5-tier increase in D300’s credit ratings;
- developing specific protocols for construction change orders (a good topic for an in depth investigative article would be an audit of the referendum projects before these guides were in place);
- implementation of a FOIA policy which proactively posts the D300 ‘checkbook,’
- BOE meeting packets and FOIA responses online; as well as
- working with our local legislators to get a common sense ADA implementation bill signed into law (and subsequently being appointed to the C(aptial) D(evelopment) B(oard)’s ADA Task Force as a result).
“Lastly, although my role was minor, I am pleased that my efforts as Vice Chair of the Finance Committee played a role in implementing the ‘Educational Program Review Technique’ (EPRT) process that was the foundation for eliminating D300’s $27M deficit in two years. (Credit must be given to Dr. (Cheryl) Crates for initiating the process).”
I next asked Ryan to reflect on his activity in the successful referendums passed by District 300:
“I strongly opposed the referendum – specifically the lack of fiscal discipline, integrity and transparency that necessitated it in the first place.
“Even more so, I stood opposed to the less than forthright tactics used by its proponents to secure its passage. The same is true for the questionable interpretation of the Open Meetings Act and the post-referendum bonus paid to Dr. (Ken) Arndt by the preceding Board.
“I made one thing clear upon my inauguration though – what was done was done. It passed and as such, I took it as my responsibility to ensure its promises were kept.”
And, Ryan has a final word:
“In closing, I guess the end of my resignation letter sums it up best.
“I will be eternally grateful to those who placed their confidence and trust in me; and I depart knowing I can honestly say ‘promises kept!’”