Chris Williams of Grafton-Algonquin-Nunda-Dorr Community Advocates shares a request that Crystal Lake High School District 155 make public details of the most expensive part of the school budget–teacher salaries.
It comes on the rejection of the following Freedom of Information Request:
Here is District 155′s reply to Williams’ request:
April 27, 2011
Mr. Chris Williams
GAND Community Advocates
3951 Willow View Dr.
Lake in the Hills, IL 60156
VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL
Re: Response to FOIA Request – Community High School District 155
Dear Mr. Williams:
This letter is in response to your Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request
dated April 19, 2011 and received on April 20, 2011 by Community High
School District 155 (“District”). You requested “a copy of the Board’s and IEA’s
offer correspondences related to the teacher ’s contract under negotiation.”
Your request is respectfully denied as records relating to collective negotiating
matters between public bodies and their employees or representatives
are exempt from FOIA (5 ILCS 140/7(p)).
Please be aware that our response to your request is pursuant to our understanding of your FOIA request. If we have misunderstood your request, please let us know as soon as possible so we may provide the correct information.
You have a right to have the denial of your request reviewed by the Public Access Counselor (PAC) at the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. 5 ILCS 140/9.5(a). You can file your Request for Review with the PAC by writing to: Public Access Counselor, Office of the Attorney General, 500 South Second St., Springfield, IL 62706.
You also have the right to seek judicial review of your denial by filing a lawsuit
in the McHenry County circuit court (5 ILCS 140/11).
If you choose to file a Request for Review with the PAC, you must do so within
60 calendar days of the date of this denial letter. 5 ILCS 140/9.5(a). Please
note that you must include a copy of your original FOIA request and this denial
letter when filing a Request for Review with the PAC.
Freedom of Information Officer
The follow-up from Williams is below:
Subject: District 155 Teachers Contract Negotiations
Thank you for giving our organization a voice in January 2011. GANDCA remains engaged in the D155 budget and taxpayer impact. We believe that our involvement has influenced the board to abate $2.5 million for FY12 in February 2011 from the tax levy, which they unanimously passed on December 14, 2010. It is also worth noting that D155 did not take the legally available 1.6% budget increase for the 2011/2012 school year as many other districts have; saving D155 property taxpayers ~1.2M. To date GANDCA believes that it has influenced a total D155 property taxpayer savings of ~$3.7M.
We have remained abreast of the teachers’ contract negotiations to the best of our ability.
On April 17, 2011, we shared with Jill Hawk our desire to inquire with the board at the forthcoming board meeting on the teachers’ contract negotiations to learn of the progress, any impact that the local and national teacher layoffs has had, as well as, the Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker’s actions on the negotiations. It would be insightful to learn the mood and atmosphere. Jill Hawk has not replied to date.
We submitted the attached FOIAR and received the attached response, which we are inquiring with Lisa Madigan’s office to learn if D155 correctly interpreted the law.
We urge D155 to make the teachers’ contract negotiation dialog/offer public just as D158 did the last time around.
The public deserves to know how our school board proposes to spend out tax dollars, especially since District 155 teachers are already the highest paid in McHenry County.
The current economic and political environment is conducive to negotiate anything but the status quo contracts of the past.
The record property tax appeals are proof that the property taxes that support D155 are at the tipping point; D155 employees are included in those that appealed.
We are in the process of identifying all D155 employees that have filed for a 2010 property tax appeal with McHenry.
Please share if you are interested in meeting.
Chris Williams, President
GAND Community Advocates
3951 Willow View Drive
Lake In The Hills, IL 60156