It’s for the kids – 2017 Staff Celebrations

Last year I submitted a FoIA for 3 years of district “Celebration” expenditures, compiled the results and spoke at the July 13, 2016 board meeting.



According to the Illinois Constitution “Public funds” are to be used only for “public purposes.” The purpose of Public Schools is to educate the children. How do parties and gifts for the adults serve that purpose?

Last year’s FOIA covered 3 years was 428 pages.  This year was 71 pages.
And it is good to see that total spending per year has come down.
2013-2014          $19,372.0
2014-2015          $17,856.6
2015-2016          $28,479.26
2016-2017          $7,395.58

This year’s spending….


Retirement dinners at Cantigny – still happened


This year, the 59 attendees included
16 retirees,
15 retiree’s guest
17 administrators
2 union reps
6 school board members (Jim Gambaiani paid for his dinner)
3 spouses of board members (all paid for their own dinners)

note: 2016 was the last year that the 6% end-of-career salary spikes to increase pensions was available.  

A total of $10,650.20 for “Retirement clocks” over a two year period (2015 & 2016) – still buying them
This year it was 32 clocks for $1,754.00

Individual Service Anniversary gifts ordered from Eagle Recognition – still happening
2015: $8,054.96
2016: $9,698.52
2017: $2,285.96

The last sympathy / congratulation bouquet (flowers or edible delights) was sent in July 2016
That is good, if the board or administrators want to send something, they should pay for it themselves, not with taxpayer funds intended for students.

And yes, they still bought

  • a couple sheet cakes (one was for the board meeting at which the new board members were sworn in).
  • And it appears the district purchased meat for a staff picnic in the summer.

Lack of transparency

I’ve looked at the annual budget, and monthly financial reports.  The only way to find how much is being spent by the communications department, human resources, superintendent or other administrators is to request it via a FOIA.  School board members approve spending every month as part of a consent agenda.   They should request  that spending be broken out by department.

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