CUSD 200 PR spending

How much has CUSD 200 been spending on public relations?
Was this a good use of taxpayer funds?
What did it provide for the students?
Should this and other funds (we are working to identify) have been spent of building maintenance instead?

Jan Shaw put in a FOIA:

…all money spent on consultants (facilitators, survey takers, or outside firms) for community engagement and public relations from 12/1/12 to present (2/4/17).  This should include, but not be limited to purchased services for:
  • The 2013 Jefferson referendum.
  • Engage 200.
  • Community surveys.
  • Videos about the District.
  • Mailings.
Rather than insisting upon invoices for all, we agreed to data queries for payments made.  Sorted data, determined most likely project for some vendors based on the date, and the vendor website, summed entries… In summary:
prejeff pr spending
They did not give up – in the next 4 years:
pr spending 2017 ref

* Jim G was told the final cost for Engage200 was $80,000.  The board approved estimate for Unicom was $49,500.  See below for more detail.
† Jim G said the community survey was $30,000.  Are we missing something?

This (almost $200,000) figure for PR in anticipation of the referendum  does not include:

  • Perkin Wills for the Master Facility Plan project ($250K)
  • Engage 200, table & chair rental, room set up and take down, printed handouts (done in-house), snacks or
  • staff time.

Prior to 2010, public relations was part time work for one of the administrators and administrative assistants.  A new PR position  was created in 2010.  From the supplemental personnel report dated 9/22/2010:

pr erica hired 9_22_2010

She is now Erica Loiacono, Director of Communications.  According to Ms. Loiacono earned $73,588 in 2015.
And she has an assistant, Mary Ann Gudmundson (did not find her salary)

[update 3/2/2017 – From the IMRF Compensation report for school year 2015-2016 we find that ERICA LOIACONO has a base salary of $79,317, and $41,441 for other benefits for a total compensation of  $120,758. The report can be found on click department->human resources then in the left column “Compensation Reports.” Her assistant is not listed.]

TOTAL Spending on Public Relations is the salary and benefits for these two people, the purchased services ($198,000 in the last four years, as documented in this post) and the celebration the PR department hosts (see )  We have a rough estimate of at least $200,000 per year.

Purchased Services in more detail – same data

There have been a lot of mailers, meetings, and surveys.  (“pdf page(s) refers to the page in the response file linked at the end of this post)


pr_FOL newsletter


po online print


pr boost marketing

See:   cusd-200-referendum-videos

There have been 3 more videos posted in February 2017.  Will there be more charges?  When were these charges approved by the board?

pr_2017 referendum

pr_2017 ref mailer

pr grand total

And finally, for those who would like to see the raw data:  the pdf response file: pr purchased services

4 thoughts on “CUSD 200 PR spending

  1. School district spending on PR is absurd. This is not a private for profit business the district is running. This Board is out of control and will spend money on anything. Thanks for sharing.


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