Thought readers might be interested in what this former Democratic Party candidate for the McHenry County Board had to say when she resigned from the teacher union-dominated Prairie Grove District 46 School Board:
November 11, 2014
Statement to the Prairie Grove School Board of Education and the Community of School District #46:
I was a School Board Member for almost 4 years, dedicated to serving my community and the children of District 46, working with my colleagues to improve the learning experience for our children.
Under the current conditions of this dysfunctional Board, I cannot continue.
So with a heavy heart, as of Saturday, November 8, 2014 I formally resigned my position as School Board Member of Prairie Grove Consolidated School District #46.
My decision is threefold.
First and foremost, I must get my priorities back in order and put my focus back on my business and the financial obligations that are incurred by being a small business owner.
I cannot continue to devote my time to the school board under the current frustrating conditions and give my business the attention it deserves.
The demands of the current board from my point of view are too great.
There are some things I want to be known.
It is obvious that those who hold the majority on this school board are pushing hard and fast to meet promised goals without regard to taxpayers, which is the case with the current HVAC proposal.
It is not good practice to make decisions for our community on emergency timelines, when there is no emergency.
That is how I feel about the current facilities plan and the potential to spend over $1.5 million quickly.
Do you understand that there has not been a discussion at the Board level or an analysis regarding whether or not the problems of air quality and humidity would be solved with this proposal?
Is it prudent to spend this amount of money, potentially $4 million on the current elementary building considering its age?
Are the taxpayers willing to assume this debt?
Even though I understand the need to improve our facilities, I am not convinced that the decision needs to be done in the next several months.
And finally do you know that all that money could be spent without voter approval?
These are important questions that I tried to discuss, but couldn’t slow the process down long enough to get considered.
My second reason for resigning is that the leadership of this school at the Board level is not conducive to collaboration.
It is my opinion that the goals of the School Board are being driven only by the agenda of a few with complete disregard to the School Board as a governing body.
Please listen beyond the polite voice of the Board President that is in front of the community – it is a mask for control and does not represent the voice of the school board or the community as a whole.
Third, I am putting forth an aggressive action, by resigning to signal to the community, citizens, and staff, that you need to pay attention.
My decision to resign rests on a few factual examples that point to the blatant disregard of the School Board as a unified decision-making body.
- The Strategic Plan, which was developed by the community, is NOT being used to guide decision making for this district; rather, items to be discussed are being cherry-picked and decisions are being made to fulfill promises and personal agendas.
- There has not been thorough discussions of school finances with all board members to give a broad understanding of the past, the present and the future, and there is a real reluctance to learn about and trust the financial reporting on current issues.
- Committees of the Whole (where the public was invited and allowed to participate) were discontinued without Board consensus, and instead the Board President is calling committee meetings without member consensus, where the public and board members not assigned to those committees are NOT ALLOWED to participate. This gives the appearance of a process, when, in fact, the decision making is actually being led by force.
Direct advocating for the teacher’s union by the current President have occurred. For example bonuses of $30,000 at retirement and a request to be involved in upcoming negotiations. Actions such as this deteriorate the relationship between the school board and the administration. The working relationship between the Board and Union is harmed and make it virtually impossible for compromise.
- The President takes it upon herself to have exchanges with companies on behalf of the school without the proper authority of the Board. This occurred with Enventure, the power plant developers, to get our school money for air conditioning. This makes me distrust our leadership to deliver the Board’s decisions, and through that experience I am concerned about the side conversations being held with Siemens, over the proposed facility changes to which the entire Board is not privy.
- And lastly, there have been no initiatives since the change in board representation that are benefitting the direct education of our students.
These points of fact signal to me that this School Board is being covertly controlled by a few individuals, led by the current Board President, to satisfy some obscure agenda rather than the well-being of our school and community.
Lastly, I am good with my decision though I know I am angering some people, and I am not pleasing others. But I do feel a great obligation to speak my opinion and tell you what I’m seeing. Personally, I have nothing to gain by serving on a school board, other than the satisfaction of being involved in my community and participating in our democracy. My passions and goals in life are to respect the safety and security of our children, protect the environment, and do my part to ensure all voices are heard. So I’m asking you, please take your local politics seriously. The election of those who ask to serve on your behalf directly impact your quality of life, the money in your pocket, and the education of your children. Be vigilant citizens and seek information before casting your vote.
Lori J. McConville