Franks Replies to School Superintendents’ Counteroffer to Meeting Request

Yesterday, McHenry County Blog published the press release McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks released about his invitation to nine school superintendents and board presidents to meet with him on Thursday.

The superintendents said a number had scheduling conflicts, but all would be willing to meet with Franks and some County Board members on June 5th.

Below is Franks’ reply to the superintends’ counter offer.

Note how he uses the royal “we.”

Jack Franks’ Reply to the Superintendents’ Counteroffer

Thank you for your response to our request for a meeting in which we can discuss reducing school district property tax levies.

We are willing to accommodate your request to move the date back a month until after the end of the school year – 11 a.m. on Wednesday, June 6, is the better of the two options you presented.

However, in exchange for this courtesy, we would like to keep the format that we first presented, as well as the original location of the county Administration Building.

It is imperative to us that any meeting on this critical issue include the presidents of your elected school boards.

Each school district’s seven-member board is ultimately responsible for all budgetary, hiring and policy decisions, and every school superintendent ultimately answers to their respective boards of education. The school boards are the voice of the taxpayers whom we are trying to help, and as such it would be irresponsible to exclude them.

We also would like this first meeting to consist of the nine school districts we originally invited, which we picked to represent a diversity of size, enrollment, geography and issues.

As the goal is to begin a constructive dialogue with a manageable number of people, we firmly believe that having representatives from all 18 school districts at this first meeting would be counterproductive.

There will be future meetings in which others will be invited to the table. No district will be excluded.

During his campaign, Jack Franks said repeatedly he would “CUT Property Taxes NOW 10%,” but admits in this letter that county government has no role to play in setting school tax levies.

Your group had asked in your letter what role we believe the McHenry County Board will play in reducing school levies by at least 10 percent by 2020.

As you know, the County Board has no statutory authority over school districts.

The most important role we can play is to bring in our administrative staff to explain how we found our levy reductions and offer ourselves as a resource for you to examine your own budgets and levies.

We very much understand that a county government and a school district are two very different taxing bodies with two very different budget setups.

However, our experience, such as singling out levies that had accumulated excess surpluses, will no doubt aid you in your efforts.

Like you, we firmly believe that quality schools are vital to children’s success as adults, and are a major contributor to McHenry County’s wonderful quality of life.

However, our residents’ tax burden has become too much for them to bear.

We’re losing population and student enrollment.

We believe that there are measures that school districts can take to ease that tax burden without sacrificing the quality education that our residents have come to expect. We can no longer afford inaction.

To review, we are willing to delay the meeting to 11 a.m. June 6, but with the original format that we requested.

We look forward to hearing from you and embarking on a positive and fruitful exchange of ideas.

I remain very truly yours,

Jack D. Franks


Comments

Franks Replies to School Superintendents’ Counteroffer to Meeting Request — 11 Comments

  1. “Your group had asked in your letter what role we believe the McHenry County Board will play in reducing school levies by at least 10 percent by 2020.

    As you know, the County Board has no statutory authority over school districts.”

    Indeed.

  2. This is a good thing.

    Open to the public?

    Will public comments be heard, with suggestions for areas of potential savings?

  3. Very well written letter! And I got my tax bill with a decent decrease! Thanks Jack…keep it going!!!

  4. This may be as choreographed, as a fight between the Jets and the Sharks, but at least you have one Pol willing to put these rat Public Schools on notice.

  5. Prediction #1: Jack will posture for the press at this first meeting and make a total ass out of himself, and the other school districts will refuse to attend the subsequent meetings.

    Prediction #2: The teachers’ unions will show up in force if these meetings are open for public comment.

  6. Good job Jack!!

    The school districts and the superintendents, in particular, are slippery folks to deal with.

    The steps you are taking to have this open dialogue are really commendable!

    Thank you for using your authority and position of power is such a superb way to help the taxpayers of McHenry County.

    These tax-funded units of government need to be held accountable.

    You are just the guy to lead the charge!

  7. There is no indication that the meeting will be open to the public.

  8. Comical is all this is!

    School board superintendents and presidents the only thing you need to realize, and it has been quite publicly realized, is that the county board took some reserves and put it against the levy!

    That is how they saved some money to the taxpayers this year!

    Wait til the people get next years tax bill!

    If Jack wanted to actually save taxpayers money and fix the school taxing issue he had 18 yrs in Springfield to do it!

    That did not happen!

    You now have past school board people on the county board going to try and tell these school districts how to run them.

    They could just go talk to there school board presidents instead of having some circus of a meeting to say look what I am doing!

    It is all PR and Jack is the “Ringmaster”!

  9. I don’t see any point to this exercise if Jack can’t publicly browbeat people to score political points.

    It’s not as if Jack can rely upon personal charm to make people see the error of their ways.

    The County Board doesn’t really have any money saving tips to offer, and the school board presidents aren’t likely to care if they do.

    The BOE presidents aren’t particularly concerned with reelection, for the most part they’re true believer Kool-Aid drinkers in bed with the teachers’ unions.

    The only way to fix this mess is for people to actually start showing up and voting in the off year elections that decide who will sit on the school boards.

  10. Amen Billy Bob.

    Petitions can be circulated right after the Fall general elections.

    Even then you won’t win unless you can get people out to vote.

    The unions and teachers crank up the current parents to show up in force.

    In many cases the School Board members are teachers themselves or married to teachers or administrators, sometimes for the SAME SCHOOL DISTRICT. (Can you say “Conflict Of Interest” ?)

    The local GOP ought to get involved in that, especially with the new leadership.

    All you need to do is get a list of the people who voted in the previous GOP primary election and start calling and bugging them to get out and vote. Not rocket science.

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