The school District sent an email to everyone on their email list asking for our feedback. I’m sharing a portion of it here, because most community members who do not currently have student attended D200 school will not have seen this.
On April 4, the community stated that they did not support the facility plan put forth by the Board of Education…
The Board has opened a community survey to gather feedback on the April 4th Facilities Referendum. The responses received from this anonymous survey will make an important contribution as we identify the next steps to address our facility needs. In order to gather the most comprehensive feedback from a broad representation of our community, I ask that you:
[Please] take the survey… https://goo.gl/forms/gJuACd6N3Afu0lfG3
The survey will be open from today through Friday, May 19.
Thank you for taking a few minutes to share your feedback with us.
Jim Vroman, President
CUSD 200, Board of Education
To find information about Candidate or Political Action Committees (PAC) spending & donations start at http://elections.il.gov/
Any candidate or political group that spent more than $5,000 must file reports. The “yes” campaign for the Wheaton-Warrenville, CUSD 200 referendum was mainly funded by the Parent Teacher Associations (PTA). These groups are 501(c)3 non-profits. I suspect that each took a vote at a regular meting with the typical few in attendance. How do the bulk of the parents feel? Are they aware that PTA being politically active could jeopardize its non-profit status?
Friends of the Schools – Yes For Wheaton
Quarterly Report 1/1/2017 to 3/31/2017
Filed 4/14/2017 6:11:48 PM
Starting balance $711.05
Ending balance $1,309.46
Note: the quarterly report lists $12,425.10 Contributions, which is slightly less than the sum of the donations by listed contributors: $12,869
Ivor Andrew a.k.a. Boost Marketing is owned by Keith and Susan Booton. They were paid approximately $20,000 by the district for referendum videos and apparently handled “Yes” marketing materials. The note for their donation was for “Graphic design and copy writing services” which is most likely donated labor.
Captive Reasources, LLC
Found on-line: captiveresources.com/contact-us/ America’s Alternative Insurance Specialists
I did not find them listed on the district website. But wondering: Do they have anything to do with D200 insurance?
Corry was on Wheaton city council and she was the co-chair of engage200 committee
Hupp was on the engage 200 committee
Triscik in a member of the PTA council
Dan & Lisa Wagner are professional political fundraisers and were paid staff for politicians. They headed the failed 2013 “Jefferson Yes” campaign.
NON-profits and PACs
Tax exempt 501(c)3’s are allowed to give up to 10% to lobbying efforts, but nothing to candidates or political action committees (PAC). The referendum committee is a PAC. These PTA’s could be endangering their non-profit status and their donors’ charitable donation claims. I was told this by several people, who are involved in non-profits. I have not found any case law to verify the cautions.
It appears that many of those voting “NO” did not know the candidate positions. The “Yes” side most likely did.
In 2017 the four winners received
7,792 Ginna Ericksen (union endorsed)
7,485 Brad Paulsen (union endorsed)
6,325 Rob Hamlin (union endorsed)
7,091 Jim Mathieson (union endorsed)
5,463 Harold Lonks
5,289 Tom Hudock
5,435 Neil Harnen
5,696 Marcus Hamilton
The challengers could have won in 2017.
There were 1,443 more “No” votes than “Yes” votes.
How many voted for the referendum but not candidates?
total voting for referendum is 7460 + 8903 = 16,363.
total candidate vote 50,576 divided by 4 is 12,644 (minimum number of voters who voted for candidates).
The difference 16,363 – 12,644 = 3,719
So at least 3,000 voters left the candidates blank (a few may have voted for 1 to 3 but not 4).
Adding 3,000 to the actual vote counts for the challengers, they could have had:
8,463 Harold Lonks
8,289 Tom Hudock
8,435 Neil Harnen
8,696 Marcus Hamilton
The top vote recipient, Ericksen, with 7,792 . Even she could have lost, if all those who left the candidates blank had voted for the ones who opposed the referendum.
We see the same pattern In 2013. The four winners received
4,862 Joann Coghill (union endorsed)
4,794 Barbara Intihar (union endorsed)
4,600 James Mathieson (a challenger in 2013)
4,753 Brad Paulsen (union endorsed)
# Yes votes was close to the number of votes the union endorsed winners received.
2013 The 5 other candidates
3,243 Kyle Nenninger
1,937 Bruce C. Fogerty
2,878 Harold Lonks
3,736 Jan Shaw
3,573 Ken Knicker (union endorsed)
# no votes
Had those voting “No” known the candidate positions,
Jan, being the only one vocal against the referendum should have won in 2013.
Ken Knicker made the mistake of saying that those who can’t afford their taxes should move. He was endorsed by both the union and the Dailey Herald.
I’ve been watching a video series called “The Truth About Vaccines”
Some Say Vaccines are Essential. Some Say They’re Evil.
If you have children or grandchildren, you deserve the FACTS to make your own informed choices… Available for a limited timehttps://go.thetruthaboutvaccines.com/
I’m hearing several things that put together explain a lot.
Pre-1990 autism was less than 1 in 10,000 children. Most of us hadn’t even heard of it. Now they claim it is at least 1 in 100, maybe as high as 1 in 50.
1986, congress passed a law that vaccine producers could not be sued. It also set up a fund for vaccine injured children.
I recall having a few shots as a child. Our children (now young adults) were vaccinated. Today’s children get about twice as many shots, at younger ages and even pregnant women are given the flu vaccine, which has not been proven safe or effective. WHAT are we doing?
If they are right that this cocktail of vaccines is causing developmental problems, then ceasing to mandate vaccines could reduce the incidence of autism, ADHD, … which would reduce the need for so many special Ed teachers/aids in schools, and thus reduce the cost of public education. And more importantly, it could improve the quality of life for so many of our youth & their families who must care for a vaccine injured child.
Look around. You know something is happening that is not right!
In today’s (4/13/2017) “Focus on Learning” district 200 e-news letter, I see:
Curriculum – The Board has posted anew social studies curriculum for public review and comments. Comments on proposed curriculum can be directed to Faith Dahlquist email@example.com or 630-682-2103.
Clicking on it there are several pdf’s.
In 6th_grade_SS_BOE_pdf.pdf I see:
Grade 6 Social Studies Middle School Required Course Course Description This course develops the knowledge, dispositions, and skills necessary for success in college, career, and civic life (c3 framework). The Social Studies curriculum supports democratic discourse within a diverse and collaborative context. Students will develop questions, apply concepts, evaluate sources, use evidence and communicate conclusions. The foundational inquiry skills and concepts outline the knowledge associated with four disciplines: Civics, Geography, Government and History. Grade 6 core content topics include The Growth of Islam, African Civilizations, Asian Civilizations, Medieval Europe, Civilizations of the Americas, European Renaissance and Reformation and Early Modern Europe.
Why are the schools teaching “Islam” but no mention of any other religion?
There really isn’t enough detail in the pdf’s alone to know what is being taught.
If anyone takes a closer look into this curriculum change, please post your thoughts as a comment on the DuPage Watchdog site.
For a list of the administrators in charge of curriculum go to cusd200.org/ then click on “Departments” then “Student Learning” on the drop down menu.
For those who do not have Facebook, the following is being copied here (original post were made around 1:00 pm on 4/3/2017)
CUSD #200 Rant 1/8
An incumbent board member Brad Paulsen place the following misleading information on this FB page. My response to each of his assertions.
Rumor 1: The District is not spending enough in the early years of the program on capital work.
Brad’s Response: The worksheets being used to make this claim are old planning documents that are not the basis of the referendum question. Additionally, capital work is only a portion of the program. The facts are that 75% of the program is projected to be put in place from 2018-2020. If the referendum is approved, the balance of 2017 will be spent planning and designing.
MY REPLY: For years the District has maintained a comprehensive capital improvement/building maintenance document that identified nearly $130M in building needs. This report prioritized each item with a Condition 1, 2 or 3 status and an identified 1, 3, or 7 year completion timeline. The needs of this document were simply integrated into the Master Facility Plan study (that cost the District over $250,000) and was specifically intended to identify 21st Century classroom improvements, not the $130M building needs already identified in the District facility document. Additionally, a document prepared by the General Contractor, Nicholas & Associates, suggests that 89% of the total project will be completed between the 2018-2019 and 2022-2023 school years. This is public information Hank Kruse
Rumor 2: Putting this much work in place will increase property taxes beyond what has been communicated.
Brad’s Response: This is not true. The principles of math are not same as the principles of finance. The amount invested early will not cause debt service payments to be accelerated.
MY REPLY: The referendum is back-loaded. The true cost to a taxpayer who owns a $322,000 home is approximately $7,300 in additional taxes the first 10 years of the referendum. This information is available to the public. Jan Shaw The $7,300 is for all 20 years the bulk of which is paid in the last 10. It is an estimate, as the district assumed that interest rates will remain at the current historically low level. Hank Kruse
Rumor 3: The proposed new early childhood center is too large compared to the existing Jefferson school.
Brad’s Response: The existing Jefferson School is approx. 26,000 sf and the proposed new school is 45,000 sf (note – the 2013 plan was 59,000 sf). The increased size is to serve the needs of students more effectively. Currently, the early childhood program is housed in four sites due to constraints within the existing Jefferson School. It is a larger building to consolidate other early childhood programs housed at Johnson, Whittier and Madison Schools. Right now, teachers are losing efficiency and education time as they travel from school to school. Consolidating this program will save money and allow teachers to spend more time with kids instead of their steering wheel.
MY REPLY: While there are classrooms in other locations being used, many are allocated to the Head Start Program which is NOT a State of Federal mandated program. In fact the proposed ‘foot print’ for the new Jefferson school expands the Head Start program assuming that “If we build it they will come”. This is public information Hank Kruse
Rumor 4: The proposed new early childhood center could just be provided with excess capacity at Hubble.
Brad’s Response: The District looked at 25 different alternatives to house the early childhood program – including Hubble Middle School. There is not enough available space and would require an addition to Hubble. The site complications would be very significant and would provide a less than ideal solution while also compromising the learning environment at Hubble. The costs savings were not significant enough to warrant further exploration for what would not be a good solution.
MY REPLY: The District had a local commercial real estate broker to explore alternatives for a new Jefferson. Based on information available to the public it appears that less than 4 alternatives were presented. Additionally, the public was informed that for Hubble to be a real alternative a 27,000 square foot addition would need to be added to the existing Hubble. It seems that serious investigate to re-purpose the existing 191,000 square foot Hubble space was not completed. This is public information.
Rumor 5: The District can use the $22 M available now.
Brad’s Response: The $22M will not be accumulated for several years. The portion of the program that would be funded outside of the referendum question is a combination of existing fund balance and the commitment to increase future budget allocations for the balance of the program.
MY REPLY: Approximately $8M of the $22M is available from the fund balance and could be used for immediate building needs. This $8M draw-down from the fund balance would still maintain enough funds in the account to remain in compliance with the currently Fund Balance Policy. This is public information. Hank Kruse
Rumor 6: This is caused by the District’s management of the pension situation.
Brad’s Response: Pensions are not a district-level program. The Teacher Retirement System is managed at the state level. This is the program the State hasn’t funded and has been unable to legally fix. Teachers contribute more than 10% for TRS and the Teacher Health Insurance System (for retirees) out of their own paychecks just like private market employees contribute to social security and 401Ks. The District does not spike teachers’ salaries in the final years before retirement (and hasn’t for many years) and eliminated the early retirement option (ERO) before the State let that provision sunset last year.
MY REPLY: The District does pay the TRS contribution for the superintendent. Additionally, the District continues to contribute millions of dollars to fund the teacher benefits package. This is public information. Jan Shaw The end of spiking was with the previous contract, those who put in their retirement date prior to that contract expiring, still received the spike. We believe the last of those with the 6% for 4 years end of career spike retired in 2016 – that is why there was a bumper crop of retirees last year. And the District replaced the spike going forward with a bonus – that bonus increased in the last contract. ALL end of career goodies need to GO! http://dupagewatchdog.org/…/post-employment-compensation/ Hank Kruse
Rumor 7: Lack of financial planning has created this situation.
Brad’s Response: The District made approximately $14 M in cuts coming out of the recession and has lost almost $41 M in state funding since 2008 (indexed back to 2008 levels). At the same time, the District has invested almost $24 M on buildings and technology. At the recommendation of the community through Engage 200, the District has spent the last 2+ years engaging the community (at least 15 different times), developing a facility master plan, sorting through priorities, aligning funding scenarios and surveying the community all so that the District can avoid being in this situation again.
MY REPLY: All school districts’ State funds were cut. The recession had little to do with the cuts at local level. Rather the cuts were made at the demand of the then acting superintendent as the district was not controlling its spending. Around 2010-2011 the approximately $5M was spent on technology using budgeted dollars. The remaining balance of the $24M referenced above was for building maintenance but very little of the money was actually from the building maintenance budget. Rather this activity was funded by 1) a $10M cash bond that the taxpayers had no vote in and are still paying taxes on, 2) performance bonds, 3) fund balance, and 4) taking money from other areas within the budget. This is public information. Hank Kruse
Rumor 8: The District’s general contractor should not be contributing to the vote yes campaign.
Brad’s Response: Nicholas & Associates has not contributed to, nor will they be contributing to Friends of the Schools, the committee coordinating the Vote Yes effort. From what I have been told, the entry on the State Board of Elections site has been removed since no contribution was or will be made
REPLY: In February Nicholas & Associates made a $2,444.61 Donation In Kind to the political action committee; Friends of the Schools (FOTS). An invoice was issued to Nicholas & Associates by Ivor Andrew (formerly Boost Marketing) for yard signs and magnets. During the March 8 Board meeting a public speaker validated the Nicholas & Associates contribution and suggested this behavior to be unethical as said firm had been identified the de facto general contractor the project if the referendum was approved. On March 9, at 12:44 PM, Nicholas & Associates withdrew their Donation In Kind. This was not the first time this has occurred. In fact on 2/24 a similar event occurred in Waukegan District 30 when a Donation In Kind was made by Nicholas & Associates. On March 3 they withdrew their Donation In Kind.
It should be noted that Ivor Andrew (the firm is very active with the political action committee FOTS), has invoiced District 200 nearly $20,000 in marketing materials, many of which are associated with the referendum.
Formal complaints have been filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections for violation of the Campaign Disclosure Act.
This public information.
Now, let’s look at the answers we have. (More will be added, and the date of this post updated as information becomes available)
1. How much will it cost?
According to the district, the yearly tax impact on a median value home ($322,300) is $180. That is more like the introductory rate. The bond repayment schedule has been back-loaded. For the same home the total tax impact for bond principle and interest is $7282. $7416 See:
Most work will wait. To take care of the necessities the district will need to dip into reserves (at least $7.5 million available) and/or issue working cash bonds (they have a limited amount they can do without referendum & without raising taxes). The referendum allows them to issue more bonds and to raise property taxes to pay for them. They could also cut some other spending. Worse case, they can come back to the taxpayers with a much smaller referendum.
The district can borrow some money without our permission. At the February 26, 2014 board meeting, the board voted to issue $10 million in working cash bonds. At the same meeting, Jim Mahieson explained the tax code, how they can get around the tax cap and why we will always be in debt. cusd-200-will-always-be-in-debt and background-cusd-200-10000000-bonds
Based on a video of Dr. Schuler, If no work is completed (referendum fails) the district will need to set aside in its annual budget at least $6.5 million simply to take care of the capital renewal. This assumes work for the entrances, library learning centers, science rooms and new early learning center will not be done. He says this will be difficult since they currently allocate about $1 million for Capital improvements. Video: April 4 Referendum – What Happens if a referendum is not approved?
“…We’re going to be living on borrowed time, if we don’t take care of some of these needs within the next couple of years. The district has completed about $19 million worth of capital renewal over the last 9 years…” Video: April 4 Referendum – Why is there so much work?
One of the items on the plan is a new, larger capacity Early Learning Center (aka pre-school). While we agree Jefferson could use major improvements, we question the wisdom of building anything so big or spending so much. The bulk of the increased pre-K enrollment is in the typically developing (not special needs) population. Why should taxpayers be subsidizing pre-k for this group? cusd-200-pre-k-enrollmentWho is responsible for raising our youth? Parents or the state?
4. How much does the district have in reserves? And how much can be allocated out of annual budgets?
The “Investing in our future” flyer from the district says that if the referendum passes they are planning on using “$22 million in reserves and future budgets” to complete the work.
Daily Herald 2/24/2017 article says “A ballot question in April will ask voters to allow the district to borrow $132.5 million and raise property taxes to pay off the loans in nearly 20 years. Roughly $7.5 million from existing reserves and another $14.5 million from future budgets would fund the rest of the plan.” com/article/20170224/news/170229220/
5. Has the district been spending the money they already have wisely?
TOTAL Spending on Public Relations is the salary and benefits for two people (rough estimate $150,000/year, most likely more), the purchased services ($198,000 in the last four years, as documented in cusd-200-pr-spending and the celebration the PR department hosts ($65,707 in three years cusd-200-celebations ). We have a rough estimate of at least $200,000 per year.
Rather than meeting candidates for a new Superintendent at a district conference room and ordering moderately priced refreshments, District 200 rented a conference room at the Hilton and had their own food fest. Grand total for using the Hilton’s conference room with A/V rental, food and soft drinks was $1,346. cusd-200-food-fest
April 2011, the district sent 4 administrators and 3 board members to an NSBA Conference in San Francisco. Two administrators retired, and one quit that summer. 2011-cusd-200-bon-voyage-conference/
CUSD 200 had two administrators whose contracts (ending in 2009) called for 20% raise the last year worked. The contracts were extended to 2010 and 2011. The actual raises were 20% (in 2008), 0, 6%, 6% the last four years. two-cusd-200-administrators-scammed-the-system-did-someone-break-the-law These (we contend illegal raises for two individuals) resulted in the district paying them a total of $311,427 more than we would have paid with no raises their last four years, $111,572 penalty paid to TRS for excessive end-of-career raises, and it increased the pensions for these two by approximately 20%.
6. Were the community engagement and all the PR mailers honest?
The “yes for D200″ website and associated lit has misleading statements. yes-for-d200-propaganda-on-funding-is-misleading/ This post also covers changes in teacher salary and operating cost per student: 2016 vs. 1986 adjusted for inflation to 2016.
Did anyone else notice on the original Engage200 invite, there were talk-bubbles on the one side which turned out to be the 4 topics “picked” by the “public” for discussion topics in session 2, 3, 4 & 5? Common Core did not make the list but was brought up at every table I sat at. cusd200-engage200-all-a-plan and wheaton-warrenville-cusd200-engage200/
The Daily Herald (5/8/2014) reported
“Many of the nearly 200 residents attending Wheaton Warrenville District 200’s fifth Engage200 session on Wednesday drew a blank when asked how the district should cut spending.” True, I was there. Most tables regurgitate what the district tells them in the presentation and the districts mentioned nothing that could be cut. Our table had a bountiful list of spending cut suggestions. engage200-finances-no-cuts-take-money-from-others
April 8, 2014, our Engage 200 write-up, ended with “This is nothing more than a manipulative money grab – it is about a referendum – it is about Jefferson and it is about them taking more of our money without any of the accountability or responsibility that goes along with it.” engage-200
What Marketing company gives the promotional material (yards signs etc.) to a PAC (Political action committee) without being paid first?
What company bills another company for an in-kind donation of promotional material without being paid or at least expecting or be paid by that other company?
What PAC submits paperwork to the state board of election for the in-kind donation before anyone has received a payment?
Wheaton-Warrenville CUSD 200 has a referendum on the ballot.
The associated PAC, “Friends of the Schools – Yes For Wheaton” filed paperwork showing an in-kind donation from Nicholas & Associates for $2,440.61 in promotional item with “Ivor Andrew” listed as the vendor on 2/20/2017
On 3/8/2017 a citizen referenced this donation in his public comments at the school board meeting.
On 3/9/2017 “Friends of the Schools – Yes For Wheaton” sent a letter saying there is no in-kind donation.
What’s going on here?
It started with a question. After seeing the “Yes for students” signs going up, we wondered:
Who is funding the “Yes for Wheaton” campaign?
To see the donation entry history for “Friends of the Schools – Yes For Wheaton” go to http://elections.il.gov/ click “contribution search” -> “by committees” and enter “Friends of the Schools – Yes For Wheaton”
Limit the data range if you want only the current ones.
On March 4, 2017 limiting the search to after 1/1/2014 showed:
If you search without a date restriction, you will see that district PTAs donated to the high school (2003), Hubble Middle school (2007) and Jefferson (2013) referendums as well as the current one. And I thought PTA moneys were used for the Students.
You will also see that several companies (e.g. Legat Architects) that are district vendors have donated to previous referendums.
Nicholas & Associates is most likely a business, who are they?
Clicking on the “about” tab we see the name “Susan Booton” – a name I recognize as having made public comments in favor of the referendum at school board meetings.
March 14 – FOIA Boost Marketing / Ivor Andrew
I submitted a FOIA , one week later I received the response.
On March 14, 2017, you requested the following information:
Please provide all invoices, and any contract, or work order associated with Boost Marketing LLC
Also include any invoices, Contracts, or work orders involving ‘Ivor Andrew”
From a previous FOIA, I have the following dates / amount – see pages or the original FOIA, attached)
If there are any more in 2017 include them as well.
The work orders by “Ivor Andrew” were signed by Erica Loiacano (Communications Director for the district)
$7,280 on 4/13/2016
$2,320 on 5/6/2016
$240 on 9/7/2016
$2,720 on 9/20/2016
$800 on 10/12/2016
$970 on 11/28/2015
It appears the 2015 and 2017 work was done and paid without a contract or signed work order.
I have not found any reference to this work in board packets. When did the board approve it? If not, does Ms. Loiacano have the authority to approve this?
The response included one that was not already in my list from February 20, 2017 – after the referendum was placed on the ballot (January 11, 2017) and after my previous FOIA for purchased services by the Communications director (February 4, 2017).
This is most likely for the three videos, staring Dr. Schuler, that were posted in Feb. 2017
Are the recent videos strictly factual? Or promotional? At the December 14, 2016 board meeting they were given a presentation about do’s and don’ts regarding the law and the referendum. District staff and board members, when representing the district, must remain neutral. (starts at 3:03:35)
Since these were filmed on district property, starred the district superintendent and were paid for by the district, we must assume he was representing the district. You judge, Are they neutral?