Millionaire Enters Huntley School District 158 Political Arena

A Lake in the Hills real estate millionaire named Michael Leucht sent a full-page signal in Saturday’s Northwest that he is willing to drop significant bucks to return the Huntley School Board to the unthinking 7-0 votes that led, to put it in his words, to

“…serious mistakes a few years ago…”

No matter. When you have as much money as Boulder Ridge gated community resident Leucht, what’s a 55-cent unneeded tax rate?

Leucht doesn’t point out the false promotion for that 55-cent tax rate hike was by the ruling clique that he seems to think is now the best thing since sliced bread.

That referendum was even supported by the formerly partially independent, but now pretty much subservient, ruling majority board member Tony Quagliano.

Quagliano added his support to the political action committee called B.E.S.T., led by Cheryl Meyer. Meyer went on to a paid slot pushing for the Advance 300 55-cent tax rate and huge bond referendum in neighboring Carpentersville District 300. Quagliano was rewarded with the vice presidency of the school board.

Anyway, Leucht calls for the resignation of “the two obstructive board members” and promises if they don’t resign,

…”democracy works.”

Not even a veiled threat to incumbents Larry Snow and Airleen Seedorf, it seems to me.

Of course, Leucht could be talking about the two longest serving members, Mike Skala and Kim Sjaka. They both been around long enough to have fixed both the educational and financial irregularities of the district.

Or, maybe Leucht is talking about Board President Shawn Green’s calling Seedorf and Snow “terrorists,” prompting unfavorable, but avoidable, publicity on WBBM-Radio. He, along with board member Tony Quagliano, who disturbed Seedorf enough with a comment about smashing her head together against Snow’s, that she filed a police report.

But, I doubt it.

Leucht seems to have pretty much have blinders on with regard to the majority bloc.

“Everyone has a role to play…,” Leucht says.

But does Leucht have the courage to run himself?

Doesn’t sound like the millionaire does.

It sounds like he wants to sit back and write checks to finance someone else’s campaign.

Leucht praises “the two gentlemen that were not selected for the recent vacant position,” encouraging them to “run in the next election.” Nothing about the woman who applied, though.

Leucht does give a little lecture to Board President Shawn Green, the one incumbent I would presume he is willing to support in 2009.

“I ask the Board President to demonstrate better leadership in the meetings.”

That’s advice is well taken. The decorum of the meetings has really gone downhill since he took over from Mike Skala. A reading of a summary of Robert’s Rules of Order might be helpful.

But, I do find this advice to the board a bit strange:

“…discussion is not necessary…”

Perhaps Leucht has spent no time in public service. Perhaps he thinks decisions can be made ahead of the meetings and just rubber stamped at the board meetings.

Maybe that’s what was done in the past.

Maybe it still is.

Being a businessman, presumably in a hierarchical organization, perhaps Leucht does not know how elected officials make decisions.

It is through D-I-S-C-U-S-S-I-O-N.

Unlike the stereotypical business board meeting, school board members don’t look to their president to see which way to vote. Each has been individually elected, not appointed to the board by his employer or the person paying him a stipend to be a “Yes” man or woman..

Maybe in his private real estate businesses Leucht has better internal financial controls that those developed by the ruling bloc he so strongly supports.

Or, perhaps, Leucht just hasn’t done his homework on how dysfunctional the school district’s finances are. (Catch up on last Thursday’s quite critical report here and here.)

A district that can’t even pay its payroll taxes and teacher retirement payments on time.

Or how the ruling bloc, now with two Certified Public Accountants, needs to be told what the internal control problems are by the district’s new comptroller, who didn’t put the initials “C.P.A.” after her name on the report, but, nevertheless, rendered valuable advice in her scathing critique.

When test scores and graduation rates went down, it wasn’t the majority bloc members who pointed it out.

It was those two pesky board members that Leucht wants to purge.

The lyrics of the song. “Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road,” come to mind for some reason.

But, clearly, Leucht would change the words to, “Come back, Yellow Brick Road.”

No need to have any stinking financial watchdogs on his school district’s board.
Hey, if taxes go up, he’ll handle it like a good entrepreneur should.

He’ll make more money.

Then there is the average household in Huntley and Lake in the Hills.

You know.

The ones who don’t live behind Boulder Hill’s locked gates.

The ones who are having a hard time making the mortgage.

Oh, well.

Maybe a calm and peaceful school board will pay the bills.

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At the top of the page is the ad, which the Northwest Herald placed in the front section, right next to editorial page in Saturday’s edition. If you want to read the ad, I think you will be able to do so here.

All pictures are of Huntley School Board members, except B.E.S.T. spokeswomen Cheryl Meyer, whose name is on the photo from the advertisement produced by students in Huntley High School and shown in all classrooms. Tony Quagliano appears top left. Directly below are veteran members Mike Skala and Kim Skaja. Quagliano appears next to Shawn Green down a little bit to the right. The two Certified Public Accountants on the board are next–Quagliano and Kevin Green.

All images can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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