D155 Citizens Think Poorly of Bonus for Superintendent, Bleacher Suit Cited

Crystal Lake High School District 155 Board of Education.

Crystal Lake High School District 155 Board of Education.

Seven citizens delivered messages to the Crystal Lake District 155 High School Board Tuesday night before it went behind closed doors to evaluate the year’s performance of Superintendent Johnnie Thomas.

Ted Wagne

Ted Wagne

A suggestion for more transparency came from McHenry County Board member Donna Kurtz.

Board President Ted Wagner, replying to the assumption of many in the crowd that the Board would come out of Executive (secred) Session said,”There’s nothing going to be voted upon tonight.”

He pointed out board members objected to having to evaluate Thomas last year late into the night and deciding not to repeat that this year.

“The money tree is empty,” Fox River Grove resident Lisa Siedentop-Wing told the board.

Bill Lyons wanted to know who convinced the board to bypass the City of Crystal Lake in the building of the bleachers.

He said he had asked a year ago and still had not gotten an answer and the public “deserve to know where the responsibility lies.”

He also asked for a public apology for “the poor leadership” displayed.

Jim Bishop, a former President of the D155 School Board delivered three points.  He criticized

  1. Thomas for not participating in a citizen attempt to mediate between the city and the school district
  2. the sending out of a memo to parents saying never before had D155 gone to municipalities with regard to zoning matters.  “That was recklessly false.”
  3. the lack of leadership’s attending the oral arguments before the appellate court

Crystal Lake Paul Mingus criticized the lack of transparency, especially the lack of audio or visual transmission of the meetings.

Andrew Gasser read a letter from his father Andrew Gasser that was sharply critical of the possibility of a bonus for Thomas or other administrators.

“No one has earned it.”

He contended the school district was “the poster child of how not to engage the public.”

Gasser pointed out that county government had cut its tax levy but “that hard work was erased by District 155.”

The conclusion was

“We the people are watching you.

“The taxpayers of McHenry County are watching you.”

When the Board reconvened, it took no action.


D155 Citizens Think Poorly of Bonus for Superintendent, Bleacher Suit Cited — 20 Comments

  1. Why does Wagner constantly looked so smug?

    He told a reporter last year that he wasn’t going to run again for the board, let’s hope he doesn’t.

    We need to get rid of him.

    Good for the residents of d155 and the people that attended the meeting and sent messages.

  2. A big thank you goes out to Donna Kurtz, Fox River Grove resident Lisa Siedentop, Bill Lyons and Jim Bishop for coming out and taking a stand on behalf of the people.

    We the people should be watching them and assessing everything they do. We the people, pay their salary.

    Frankly, Superintendent Johnnie Thomas and others should resign as the last years performance has been disgraceful.

  3. You all believe the answer is in transparency – but what you are really asking for is micro management by the ill informed and unqualified.

    Transparency costs money- the way you want it.

    You think people watch these meetings?

    YOu want to know- show up.

    Stop demanding taxing bodies invest in something that won’t be used.

    You elect officials to serve in your best interest.

    If you don’t feel that is being done- either elect someone else or run yourself.

    but this overzealous, hypercritical lynchmob mentality is leading to fewer and fewer good, qualified, level headed people to run.

    Kurtz was on the county board that approved the Valley Hi budget- why not hold her accountable to the work you elected he to do?

    She wants to know more of what is happening on the board- then run for office.

    I don’t disagree that the boards need to be more sensitive to the needs of the community as well as the economic landscape-

    that being said. These are VOLUNTEERS who are becoming less and less effective because of the amount of crap they are taking from people who want to throw rocks but not do the work.

    RUN for office.

    We the people need to trust more.

    Your time of activity should be the election cycle.

    Step forward or back off.

  4. Inish – you are correct about Donna Kurtz, who speaks out of both sides of her mouth, depending on which agenda suits her at that moment.

    But, when you say “this overzealous, hypercritical lynchmob mentality is leading to fewer and fewer good, qualified, level headed people to run.” I think you’re putting the cart before the horse.

    I believe its the lying, run-amuck, self-serving in government that have led to so many becoming it raged and outspoken and perhaps a lunch MiB mentality is exactly what we need to rid ourselves of these parasites.

  5. The people have the right to manage them.

    However, I wouldn’t call it micro managing.

    Certain public officials have proven they can’t be trusted and therefore they have ruined for those that can be trusted.

  6. Thomas isn’t a volunteer.

    He should be held accountable for costing this district millions and millions of dollars.

    He should not be getting a bonus of thousands of dollars.

    In a corporate job he would have been tossed out on his ear 3 years ago.

  7. This was great but let me add:

    Be very careful of language of “Watching you” this although seemingly innocent can and is understood as an aggressive threat.

    Do not sent this to Political figures or do not say it in public.

    Trust me..this is one of many many things looked for in terrorist threats for people trying to come into the country.

    Just use different language like we are watching your voting history with close attention so we can vote out those who do not represent the tax payers best interest.

    And yes indeed people need to step up…the only reason they do not step up is because they don’t understand what is required to be on a board.

    We need to hold more training sessions like the Edgar County Watch dogs presented thru the Americans for prosperity group…

    Boy did that clear my vision on how to be a better trustee.

    But there is NO Doubt that the Regional Superintendent of Schools and this Superintendent MUST loose their positions.

    End of this money waste story.

    They both have to go.

  8. If people in private Industry made that kind of mistakes that this Superintendent of Schools made or the Regional Superintendent of Schools did they would have been fired immediately.

    Why are we so understanding of public figures making mistakes costing all of millions yet so rigid towards private industry?

    I just don’t get that.

  9. How dare the taxpaying serfs question the omniscient Superintendent or his poodle, the Dist. Bd of Miseducation!!!

  10. I disagree in regards to Donna Kurtz talking out of both sides of her mouth.

    I have always found her to be “for the people”and putting her neck on the line.

    She has come to the rescue on many occasions when helping our neighborhood & associations.

    Nothing wrong with requesting more transparency.

    She is hearing that request from “the people” and in my eyes, is doing her job as an elected official by bringing it to the table.

  11. She was elected to the county board – there is plenty to keep her busy there.

    She is not really asking for transparency- she is asking to be spoon feed.

    GO to every meeting, read the packets like the board members do- then you have transparency.

  12. It would seem to me that one of the biggest tax districts in McHenry County could record its meetings and post those recordings.

  13. Cal how many people do you think watch the broadcast of the city meetings?

    Justify the expense.

    You think by recording these meetings people are going to pay more attention?

  14. Thank you to Donna Kurtz & Andrew Gasser for going to this meeting & trying to point some things out to the 155 Board.

    As for the D155 board, CUT the SPENDING we really resent the money that has been spent.

  15. McHenry County College uses UStream to stream/archive video at board meetings (Committee of the Whole and Regular Board of Trustees Meeting).

    This cost is approximately $99/month for this service.

  16. So Crystal Lake High School District 155 does not have $99 a month to subscribe to UStream to stream/archive board meetings?

    What other costs would CHSD 155 they have to pay?

    The cost for equipment and labor salary and / or stipend and / or benefit costs?


    An Administrator contract change document should be available for public review for 2 weeks prior to a board vote on and administrator contract, with underline text for additions, and strikethrough text for deletions.


    Many boards routinely destroy all private session board minutes after a selected period of time, say 1.5 or 2 years, instead of releasing private session board minutes with confidential information stricken.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.