Trying to Get Searchable District 200 Documents on the Internet

MCC President Walt Packard pulled an American Flag to block photographing of the secret meeting about the broadcast tower. Sadly, this was typical of the secrecy at MCC.

MCC President Walt Packard pulled an American Flag to block photographing of the secret meeting about the broadcast tower. Sadly, this was typical of the transparency at MCC.

I have had my problems with internet documents posted by both McHenry County College and McHenry County government

They posted documents which could not be searched.

MCC was “afraid” someone might copy them and, then, alter them.

The documents also could not be copied in a form which could be searched when posted on the internet.

All I wanted to do was to be able to copy and post agenda items that might interest the public.

It was as if those governments wanted to make it as hard as possible for people to figure out what they were doing.

Fortunately, both governments decided that the public could be trusted with searchable documents.

Others, however, continue to resist posting public documents.

Some didn’t know that constituents might be interested in such things as agenda packets given to board members.

I remember pointing out to the Crystal Lake City Council that the public couldn’t follow what was happening very well only having a copy of the agenda.

Shortly thereafter, the backup material given to Council members started appearing on the Crystal Lake web site.

Much more transparent.

Now, Woodstock resident Susan Handelsman has found a new tool to use in her quest to make District 200 more transparent.

She found this part of state law:

105 ILCS 5, Article 10,

 (105 ILCS 5/10-6) (from Ch. 122, par. 10-6) 

    Sec. 10-6. Regular and special meetings. The directors shall hold regular meetings at such times as they may designate, and special meetings at the call of the president or of any 2 members. Public notice of meetings must be given as prescribed in Sections 2.02 and 2.03 of the Open Meetings Act. No official business shall be transacted by the directors except at a regular or a special meeting. In consolidated districts and in districts electing a 7-member board of school directors under subsection (c) of Section 10-4, 4 directors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. In all other districts 2 directors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. If the president or clerk is absent from any meeting or refuses to perform his duties, a president or clerk pro tempore shall be appointed. At each regular and special meeting which is open to the public, members of the public and employees of the district shall be afforded time, subject to reasonable constraints, to comment to or ask questions of the board. When the president or district superintendent of schools receives a written correspondence from a resident within the school district's territory, requesting the consideration of a matter before the board, the author of the correspondence shall receive a formal written statement from an appointed official of the board stating the board's position on their request, no later than 60 days from the receipt of the correspondence by the president or district superintendent of schools. The formal written response from the board shall establish a meeting before the board or list the reasons for denying the request. 

(Source: P.A. 90-757, eff. 8-14-98.)

And, she sent the following email to Woodstock School Superintendent Robert Moan:

Superintendent Moan,

I request consideration of the school board that searchable agenda packets be made available to citizens online.

A copy of this email will be sent to you at District 200 offices through regular mail.Thank you

Susan Handelsman

We’ll see what happens.


Trying to Get Searchable District 200 Documents on the Internet — 3 Comments

  1. Lakewood resident are currently fighting this exact battle as well.

    Trustee Paul Serwatka was able to get board packets to be made available to the public online, and has spent a year trying to get them in a searchable format.

    Another trustee, Ken Santowski has stepped up as the voice against transparency, specifically requesting that board packets be left unsearchable.

    Santowski is the same trustee that says that if residents want their voice to be heard then they can come to a meeting, then, at a meeting votes to not allow residents to be heard.

    If these people are all above board and honest, then transparency will only make them look good.

    With all this effort to block transparency and silence residents, one can only surmise that some of these trustees have something to hide.

  2. Hopefully some other taxpayers will do the same with other taxing districts.

    Board members and the public deserve searchable Board Agenda Packets available prior to the Board meeting that allow copy and paste.


    Better Government Association

    Pension Database

    State University Retirement System (SURS) pension fund

    Walter Packard (retired McHenry County College President)

    31 years of service.

    Benefit Start Date: July 31, 2010.

    Pension increases 3% per year.
    2016 – $160,416

    2015 – $155,482

    2014 – $150,953

    2013 – $146,556

    2012 – $142,288


    Better Government Association

    September 2011

    Community College Pensions

    Age at Retirement: 62

    Member Contributions to Pension Fund: $324,142.87

    30 Years Total Service Credit + 1 year Sick Leave = 31 Years of Service Credit

    Highest Annual Earnings $236,384.94.

    Final Rate of Earnings used in Pension Calculation: $199,562.71.

    Retirement Formula: General Formula


    Taxpayers United of America

    McHenry County: More Than 1,000 Government Pension Millionaires

    May 19, 2015

    With a life expectancy of 85, Walter Packard’s estimated lifetime pension payout is $4,312,419.

    The employee contribution would then be 7.5% of the estimated lifetime pension payout.


    Walter Packard is currently a Community College Consultant at Collaborative Brain Trust (formerly named College Brain Trust).

  3. There are two very important aspects to that bit of the “School Code”:

    The ability to ask questions of the board at public meetings:

    The Open Meetings Act (OMA) provides that citizens should be allowed time to make comment to the public body, but this section of the school code takes it one step further by allowing the public to ask questions of a school board.

    Request to bring an item before the board:

    Allows a resident to request that something be brought before the board and requires that the board reply within 60 days either allowing for the discussion or providing the reason why.

    Note: This rule applies to public K-12 school boards.

    Colleges have a different set of rules, the “Public Community College Act”

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