Precinct Committee Candidate Attends a School Board Meeting

Scott Vetter, who is running for Republican Precinct Committeeman in Mike Tryon’s precinct, posted the following comment after he attended a Crystal Lake District 47 Grade School Board meeting:

So I attended my first (of many to come) D47 School Board meetings last night.

Although it was a very pleasant meeting, lots of smiling kind inviting faces, an appointment of a new principal at Indian Prairie, and a very thorough evaluation of an online parent survey, there was one thing this meeting was lacking, severely lacking.

No Taxpayers.

No Parents.

No Taxpaying parents.

No Citizens.

No Taxpaying citizens.

No Precinct Committemen except for myself and Sandy Johnson Robertson.

At the last meeting of the District 47 Board I attended, Crystal Lake Grade School District teachers applauded the board's ratification of the contract.

At the last meeting of the District 47 Board I attended, Crystal Lake Grade School District teachers applauded the board’s ratification of their contract.

Outside of Sandy and myself, there were 2 parents, a boy scout, 2 businessmen who lost their copier business contract with D47 and about 50 teachers, principals and school staffers/admin.

The school board has a few select duties to attend to.

Number one is the education of our children.

I have many more meetings to attend before I make any judgement in this area.

Other areas include teacher/admin employment and contracting, and taxes/funding.

Maybe it is just me, (I doubt it), but how can any decisions on teachers/union/contracts or our taxes, ever be of a balanced nature or even in the best interest of the taxpayers and/or parents, when 95% of the audience is teachers/admin and the board itself has 90% sitting members who are Dr.s, teachers, principals, lawyers and admin personnel.

Again, it is to early for me to judge this board, but if the old adage that “perception is 99% truth” is correct, then we (taxpayers, parents and committeemen) need to get in there and see what’s going on.

This will be my call to action as your committeeman.

Get out there and monitor your D47 school board.








Precinct Committee Candidate Attends a School Board Meeting — 23 Comments

  1. Learn to use the word “too” if you are going to write about teachers; you might not want to have them think you are illiterate.

  2. We need 212 Scott Vetter types in the County!

    Thank you Scott for setting the bar for other committeemen!!!

  3. Thank you Scott.

    Your attention and hard work are appreciated.

    People in that precinct are fortunate to have you.

  4. I agree with the sentiment you share, Scott, and it seems to be an unfortunate shortcoming with all the area school districts.

    You may want to review your characterization of the board’s make-up, however, though your point remains valid either way.

    Hmm. Maybe we should not have so many school districts. Nah, pure fantasy.

  5. I can tell you that being a fiscal conservative in a small town is NOT easy..

    You will be attacked, you will be bullied, you will be hounded because these gravy train type “Don’t want you involved” from the Regional Superintendents to the local teachers and township folks.

    Long time residents have kids and family on the gravy train if they themselves have not been on it for a long time themselves.

    Do not be fooled by the smiles..

    They don’t want you.

  6. Scott thanks for the update.

    I’m guessing that I could have gone to the previous board meeting and not seen you there.

    I’m glad you’re engaged but let’s hold back on the self congratulation; being angry and observant does not a public servant make.

  7. OK, I always hear that adage,

    “We need to participate.”

    Well, my tax bill has 13 different taxing bodies and 9 different pensions.

    Where do I start?

    This includes two school districts (Crystal Lake) I also pay for a Parks district (Huntley) and a Parks Department (in LITH) because for some reason Huntley Park District refuses to care for parks in LITH even though they take our money, so LITH had to set up their own.

    And of those 13 taxing bodies, there are plenty of sub department meetings, like how the County has a transportation department, ect.

    I could theoretically attend a meeting every day except the weekends, thus neglecting my kids activities in the evening.

    And what would participation do?

    If we show up at the Valley Hi meeting and demand they stop the levy, it’s not like they’ll LISTEN.

    They still want to keep a levy even though the 40 MILLION IN CASH they have on hand, properly managed, would keep the home going for years.

    MCDOT was hellbent on a continuous flow interchange for Randall and Algonquin, even though the towns, residents, and businesses spoke out otherwise.

    It was an eternity before they finally relented.

    Another appealing item bought up in meetings would be for Crystal Lake school districts to merge.

    I’m all for paying teachers a decent salary, as I want top personnel to educate my children, and for maintaining the buildings and the transit.

    But we’re paying for two superintendents, two administrations, while other districts get by with as a K-12 with ONE. But that’s never a thought that is truly entertained, even when it’s bought up.

    I’ve seen plenty of bluster about cutting taxes.

    Well, at the end of the day, that’s about cutting duplicitous personnel, overlapping departments, and operating more efficiently to deliver quality of life.

    I don’t see any of that here.

    Each of these levies will still try and keep their own, even if someone shows up at a meeting with a tax bill and complains.

    Only one candidate in this county has said,

    “I’ll cut my office if elected.”

    And of course, he took crap for that.

    And don’t get me wrong, cutting personnel sucks.

    That’s a tough thing to do.

    The easy thing is to watch residents put up a for sale sign, and watch the county slowly lose population, then send out a “lower taxes” flyer promising reform.

    So fine, keep harping about participation.

    Maybe if they gave a sign that it would change something, we’ll show up.

  8. JT’s comment is exactly why I and several others have created the McHenry County Good Government Association (McGGA).

    There are too many local governments and too many local elected officials for even the best citizen to monitor.

    As JT notes, he alone has 13 different taxing bodies.

    I have 58 elected officials here in the County — that is, not even including State Rep and State Senator — that I’m supposed to keep my eye on.

    It’s an impossible task.

    So McGGA will be recruiting people to keep an eye on local governments. With one person for each local government, we can publicize what and how well the governments are doing in order to educate the public. We will also seek out, vet, and train candidates, both in how to win a local election and in how to be effective trustees.

    Scott, JT — let me know if you’re interested. We need people like you who are paying attention.

  9. Number one problem in Illinois: Level of knowledge held by the voting public.

    How many people realize that the makeup of the County Board will be determined with this primary election, not the General election in the fall? Why? Currently the Board is 100 percent Republican and the odds of that changing much fall is minimal.

    This link will take you to a current post relative to voters in Illinois:

    I realize I am preaching to the choir on this blog but y’all really need to educate your family, friends, neighbors about the following quotes:

    “From 2008 to 2014, an average of 54 percent of active voters cast their ballots in the general election and only 22 percent voted in the primary. ”

    ““A lot of local elections are really decided in primaries,””

    “And even when people are voting, they’re not always sure who they’re voting for. Sebastian Ellefson, Director of BallotReady, an online voter guide, says around 30 percent of people filled out the full ballot in November 2014.”

    Help your fellow voters by printing out the sample ballot from the County website, fill it out and share it with your family, friends, neighbors.
    Click on precinct finder;
    key in your address and click on ‘locate precinct’;
    Click on ‘continue’;
    Click on ‘my sample ballot’;
    Select your party and click on ‘continue’;

    Print out the ballot, mark your choices and share, share, share.

  10. “being angry and observant does not a public servant make.”

    Bilbo, your posts are seemingly always way off mark. This may be one of your worst.

    If you are not angry in this political climate, particularly in MC, with the top 1% of property taxes in the country, then you are either a typical big government loving, responsibility avoiding, progressive living off the system, or you are dead.

    As far as being observant… According to your logic, I guess it makes perfect sense that we’re better off with our heads buried in the sand, than observing all the waste, abuse and corruption around us.

  11. So do you have a website for McGGA yet Steve?
    Steve you often talk about how many units of gov and people you have to keep track of, which isn’t easy granted.
    So what is your take on the past consolidation effort of townships?
    Worth while, needed help, was it cost effective creating less but bigger gov agencies?

  12. Patrick- Thanks for reading my posts. I’m glad to hear that I’m annoying someone else other than myself.

    I am not saying that I’m not angry or that people should not be. Not am I suggesting that we bury our heads into the sand.

    None of this popped up overnight.

    I’m glad that Scott went to a meeting. I see his call to action. It’s wonderful. It’s the greatest call to action ever.

    It would be nice to see some substantive action because all of the yelling (figuratively) at a wall doesn’t make much of a difference.

  13. In the case of Woodstock D200:

    School tax rate accounts for 2.7% of total home value.
    Woodstock total property tax rate is 4.6% of total home value.

    Two high schools are funded fully operational while each is near 50% of capacity enrollment.

    One Clay Academy, with enrollment capacity of 300,has only 70 student s ( a recent bump from long time enrollment of 40-50).

    Plans to spend $1.5 million capital improvement on this building estimated worth far less than a million).

    School debt is over $140,000,000, not far below it’s debt level ten years ago.

    School debt exceeds 6.5% of total district property values.

    (Illinois Statutory school debt limit is 4.6% of total property value).

    D200 (a Unit district) spends 35% more per pupil per year than Huntley Unit D158.

    D200 has expanded hiring of 24% More FTEs than ten years ago —with FLAT enrollment.

    D200 has doubled expenditure s in that time period with flat enrollment.

    D200 spending has outstripped inflation by nauseating amounts.

    D200 board and superintendent has been repeatedly shown source- cited research and evidence of their profligate spending,and it’s devastating effect on the Woodstock community.

    They have flatly refused to alter any spending behavior, or consider possible consolidation solutions.

    What do we do now?

  14. It is very interesting seeing all of the $$ wasted on direct mail and phone robo-polls?

    After one or two from the same individual, do you actually read #’s 3, 4 and 5??

    All of these folks promise to LOWER your property taxes.

    You can tell it is a huge issue, as it should be.

    I’d wager it takes about 5 minutes for these folks to be confronted with

    “What are you going to do to lower our taxes?”

    every each is meeting with others, privately or in scheduled forums.

    Yet schools make up 70% of our tax bill.

    And none of the folks promising lower taxes has much, if any impact on local school taxes!


    So this blog post hits it on the head!

    What can we do?

    Who do we vote for who can impact who sits on these boards, who usually bow to the whim of the teacher’s unions.

    That is what I would like to know.

  15. More on schools elections Cal, seems like a goal you should go for.

  16. As annoying as The Nob can be at times, I have to agree with him on his last post.

    More attention on the school systems and the elections that affect them would be welcome.

  17. The place to start is public school districts since that is the biggest item on the property tax bill.

    CHSD 155 is in desperate need of a watchdog.

    School districts are incredibly political and complicated involving local school board policy, state law, and Federal law.

    Surprisingly if you go to enough school board meetings you will eventually be deceived and lied to, just expect it, it’s a waste of time to get upset with them.

    Many FOIA offices are gatekeepers, again, who would expect that.

    The state legislators caved in to teachers unions for decades and we have state laws stacked in favor of teacher unions.

    It’s you or a few friends against the biggest profession in the state, teachers, whom are incredibly organized at the local, state, and national level via the unions.

    Since teacher union members vastly outnumber watchdogs, and teacher unions are very organized whereas watchdogs are not, it’s a David v Goliath problem.

    Unions are ok but now when they monopolize the rules of fair play.

    Just like any dysfunctional organization there are good people in the dysfunctional organization.

    Best to network with someone, Susan or Steve or whomever.

    Chris Jenner is a great resource, go to an MCC board meeting or view them online.

    While there is much better transparency than three years ago, we still have a long way to go.

    School districts are resistant to change, unless sometimes if it’s a teacher union priority, and move at a snails pace.

    Start understanding finances by reading the audited financial report (AFR) or CAFR.

    There are a lot of online resources now.

    Open the Books.

    Better Government Association.

    Edgar County Watchdogs.

    Citizens Advocacy Center.

    Taxpayers United of America.

    Illinois Comptroller Data Warehouse.

    Illinois State Board of Education.

    ISBE ELIS Public Search


    Illinois Educational Labor Review Board Public Posting Offers

    Illinois Association of School Boards

    The time to start thinking about next years school board elections is after next week’s primary election.

    The teacher unions are constantly planning for elections, attending meetings, networking, attend annual state and national Representative Assembly’s, etc.

    Public education is a monopoly.

    The teacher union is a monopoly.

    Dealing with two monopoly system in one place is extremely time consuming and difficult.

    Toss in the corrupt dysfunctional political climate in state and Federal government.

    The PTA and League of Women’s Voters are of no help reforming public education or obtaining more transparency, they are largely clueless.

    And worst of all are the seemingly endless cheerleaders for the status quo, if for no other reason to get the best possible education for their child while making the fewest possible waves for their kids or their personal career.

    The best way to make an enemy is to tell a public sector worker their pension benefits were hiked while their pensions were already underfunded and no one told the taxpayers so the pensions are a fraud.

    They don’t want to hear that.

    But that’s the biggest single fiscal problem in the state – teacher and administrator pensions.

    And the 19 other pension systems.

    There is no way to fund public education and pensions in a sustainable long term fashion at current tax and service levels.

    And every year it gets worse.

    Every single day it gets worse.

    And on a per taxpayer basis the Federal Government unfunded liabilities and debt is an even a bigger financial burden than the Illinois state and local mess, which is almost unfathomable.

  18. A few more good resources.

    Truth in Accounting

    US Debt Clock



    Illinois Policy Institute

  19. Also for conservative public education, Heartland Institute has an education section with Bruno Behrend, Lennie Jarratt (from Champion News), and Joy Pullman; they are local in Chicagoland area.

    ChampionNewsOnline Youtube channel has a lot of archived videos one can listen to.

    Family Taxpayers Foundation also has education articles

  20. On YouTube search for Rebecca Friedrichs.

    And Friedrichs v California Teachers Association.

    Friedrichs v CTA.

    She is a California teacher who exposed some of the not so nice things that happen in some public schools with strong teacher unions.

    Here case, mandatory payment of fees to a union as condition of employment is a violation of free speech, is in the US Supreme Court, but it doesn’t look good for to prevail now that Justice Scalia has passed.

  21. Some great responses!Very uplifting to know I am not alone!

    But, Cindy, maybe it’s just me not utilizing my four year degree to its fullest extent, but I can’t for the life of me understand your post.

    My post is quite grammatically correct as far as I can see.

    But thank you for your concern.

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