Law Suit Voluntarily Dismissed Without Prejudice

Today, Sept 13, 2018, I (Janet L. Shaw) and the lawyer for Wheaton-Warrenville, CUSD 200 jointly agreed to a Stipulation for Voluntary Dismissal of Verified Complaint without Prejudice.

While the defendant (D200) has not admitted or denied any of the allegations of the Verified Complaint, they have by their actions done what the complaint requested the court mandate.

The district is submitting the question to the voters via referendum rather than proceeding without a successful referendum.  We must ALL be willing to accept the voters’ decision.  The question appearing on the Nov. 6, 2018 general election ballot will be:

Shall the Board of Education of Wheaton Warrenville Community Unit School District Number 200, DuPage County, Illinois, build and equip a new early childhood center without levying a separate, special property tax to finance the costs thereof?

The school district needs to be forthcoming about the cost of the proposed new building and how they plan to afford it without increasing taxes, increasing debt (future taxes) or cutting programs for the students while still maintaining all other facilities.

SD 200 Joint Stipulation

24 thoughts on “Law Suit Voluntarily Dismissed Without Prejudice

  1. One citizen, at her own time, expense and risk has accomplished a huge benefit for all property taxpayers in that school district.
    The question they should all now consider is: how long will she keep draining her own resources to protect all of them?

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    1. Oh please. Stop the David and Goliath routine. No one is buying it anymore. I’m sure McHenry needs your skills and perhaps you could spend your time there for any issues or running for School Board again. Tired of people who have no standing on this matter making this a problem for OUR kids and OUR District.

      It’s very clear Ms. Shaw did not write the Complaint in question. The dismissal was a legal requirement since the case was made moot by the pending referendum. Had Ms. Shaw not agreed, a motion by the District Counsel would have resolved the matter….at our taxpayer expense. The case was not with much merit but would have required more expense and would not have resolved the School needs timely. Ms. Shaw is lucky it was dismissed. I and many others tire of her incessant complaints without much evidence based on items of financial lore from 20 years ago, or mischaracterized financial data put together by her shadow group and AI software programs. I was prepared to file an interpleader action on behalf of myself and other affected parents had she not done so.

      It’s also clear based on the Board efforts and appearances by Ms. Shaw and others that she is using the resources, money, and efforts of others, most of whom are not part of our District, including a failed far-right gubernatorial candidate rejected by even her own party, far-right media outlets owned by Dan Proft and associates that pretends to be legitimate and unbiased news sources as an attempt to fool unknowledgeable readers, organizations whose stated goals are to dismantle public education, and others who have goals and objectives that are more than the otherwise noble goal of protecting taxpayer money.

      The Board has stated numerous times how this will be paid. Just because you don’t like or may not comprehend the money management answers doesn’t mean a vast conspiracy exists. I believe four of the current Board members ran at least partially on a platform of necessary modernization of our schools. The fact Ms. Shaw lost a Board seat…twice…means that most members of our District disagree with her views. While I agree we need to watch for the inefficient use of funding, that does not mean that EVERY action by the Board is suspect or wrong. I marginal review of history shows Ms. Shaw attacks virtually every action taken…on anything! Seems more like the actions of a poor loser with time on her hands than those of a person displaying a true problem. The fact you and Ms. Shaw don’t like the Board answers doesn’t mean a conspiracy exists…except perhaps the conspiracy that she and others are dupes for outside parties with bigger agendas…wittingly or unwittingly.

      Now before District members, (not you) for November 6th is a specific referendum allowing a resolution of the Jefferson School problem “without levying a separate, special property tax to finance the costs.” That means no tax increase for this plan! This means the Board must solve this problem based on planned, approved funding already known to the District taxpaying members. Ms. Shaw now attacks THIS plan due to her belief that the numbers don’t add up…in her expert financial opinion.

      It seems clear that ANY resolution to resolve the Jefferson School matter will not be acceptable. If it is stated as done without special assessment, you won’t believe it. If it is done with money management or efficient use of planned funding, you won’t accept it. Why? Because it’s not about the funding. It’s about her support of a shadow group and THEIR agenda for public schools.

      Why not wait and see….let the plan be implemented, and then Ms. Shaw and the shadow group can file another lawsuit if the mean nasty Board lies to us all.

      Or, perhaps Ms. Shaw and the shadow group of public education haters that are behind her doing all the work, writing the filed Complaint and giving the story play on Dan Proft controlled and funded right-wing social media disguised as real news would have the fortitude to step into the light and debate these issues. Pick a date, and a time, and I’ll be there. You can bring as many as you want to help you…..as long as they disclose who they are, where they live and pay taxes, and for whom they really work.

      Ms. Shaw’s and her shadow group’s actions have actually cost the taxpayers of the District about $610,000.00….. and growing. We will be showing that to voters to be sure they understand what’s really going on here, and who is really costing the taxpayers money.

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      1. Utilizing the old Marxist tactic of character assassination won’t work in Wheaton. Since your stance won’t fly with the majority (read: referendum failed) you resort to slander…and worse. Lenin would be proud, but we are not. However, we are proud of Jan, she demonstrated mastery of your trade without a JD.

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  2. J. Gregory Higgins, you really should verify your “facts” before you run on.
    1. I ran for the school board in 2013. Came in 5th out of 9 candidates for 4 seats.
    2. My “financial opinion” is based district data such as the district’s 5-year budget plan.
    Stay tuned. More real facts to come.

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    1. So… in other words….you lost twice…as I said.

      Yes…I’m sure your shadow group is furiously pushing the AI software to fit your financial narrative as we speak.

      Just admit it….you will not support a plan to address the Jefferson School resolution under any circumstances.

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  3. Such an emotional vehement attack attempting to veer the discussion onto generalized, unrelated topics should raise suspicion.

    Again, I urge your district taxpayers to check for financial conflicts of interest on the part of voting Board members, and check for habitual overtaxation in certain Fund accounts (esp. Transportation Fund) for the express purpose of transfer to Ed Fund.
    And, look out for ‘creative’ financial debt instruments such as Capital Appreciation Bonds.

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    1. Susan,
      …”check for financial conflicts of interest” is again part of this false narrative. What corruption? Evidence? That you don’t like how the funds are spent due to your own politics (or in Ms. Shaw’s case….the politics of the drafter of her complaint and the other shadow group members) does not mean conflicts exist or illegal activity exists! Evidence? There are laws that one could actually invoke to make criminal charges ….if you have actual allegations supported by evidence.

      My “attacks” are not personal. They are factual. I and many others tire of a one- sided effort and argument by 1 member of the District, apparently funded and supported by outside parties, to constantly derail efforts to RESOLVE a matter that needs a resolution. Even Ms. Shaw hasn’t stated that the Jefferson School doesn’t need to be resolved. She just never likes or believes the answers.

      As I always write, I would be happy to debate this matter. You and Ms. Shaw, and as many outside, non-voting, non-taxpaying as you need can come.

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      1. Greg you sure do type alot, maybe you should read/listen a little more. As a regular and concerned citizen I’m very grateful for a public check on out of control spending government. I’m confident the majority of District 200 voters are too.

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  4. I concur with Greg’s comments and I know he isn’t the only one keeping tally of how much of taxpayers’ money was wasted with this ludicrous lawsuit, that caused construction timing to be delayed for bids the total of which had actually had come in under budget.

    And if Jan was to ever look at the big picture, she’d understand that early intervention for 3-5 year olds
    * 80% of Jefferson students who are there for intervention needs transition successfully into a mainstream Kindergarten program.

    There is an economic return on that investment; it costs 4x the cost to educate a Kindergartner in a high intervention setting vs a mainstream Kindergarten setting. By educating in an early learning setting, the District saves money.

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    1. There was money wasted? If so, blame the board for blatantly flying in the face of the law just because, like the children they want to educate, they want what they want when they wanted it.

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  5. I cannot understand the logic of the criminal blaming law enforcer for the cost of ‘arresting’ bad behavior.

    Policing profligate spending by school boards (who are not restricted in terms of financial conflicts) is important to all communities in Illinois. Pension-spiking-driven drawdown on a strained communal TRS pension system is just one example of why that is so.

    I was given to understand Ms. Shaw helped uncover and fight against the scandalous and allegedly improper spending by community college College of DuPage?
    Are critical commentators suggesting that College of DuPage was also ‘put upon’ for legal fees to defend an allegedly corrupt Board/President?

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    1. Yes, I attended virtually all COD board meetings in 2014 & 2015 when we were helping to expose what was happening there. Check the posts on the website under schools -> College of DuPage.

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    2. No one is saying Ms. Shaw is a bad person….or that holding feet to the fire on our elected officials as to spending is a bad thing. Indeed, it is our civic duty to question authority. But……This is about Jefferson School. It needs a resolution. We disagree with what is being said, the logic behind it, and facts being presented as “corrupt” when no such facts are in evidence beyond a unique view of the financials from a non-financial expert.

      One cannot just attack EVERY plan, no matter what is put forth. And one really cannot do so…if it is being done at least in part apparently at the behest of others who have other motives vis a vis public education. Jefferson School needs a resolution. Got one? Or just more complaints?

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  6. With many school district in Illinois, building new buildings seems to be the go-to alternative and is often represented as the only choice.
    Have vouchers for more financially efficient charter schools been considered?
    Rental space—actual rental space on an existing facility, that is?
    Reconfiguration of schools operating well below capacity?

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  7. Next suggestion, funding solution.
    You have heard from your financial backers (taxpayers), twice. They have directed you to find funding elsewhere for projects you were entrusted to handle.

    Funding from within?
    Are any of the recipients of the pay and benefit increases, and other program spending which took p[lace over the past several years (as outlined by Ms. Shaw) willing to have a bit of that largess clawed back?

    Especially when you explain to them that the board made a mistake, there was a more pressing need for that money which was mistakenly not earmarked when it should have been?

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    1. Many solutions were considered like the kind you suggest and others, and the rebuilding of Jefferson was deemed the more economical and best solution. This again is well documented in the historical discussion of this matter. If you dispute that….evidence? Arguments can’t just be consistently…”it costs money…..whaaaa whaaaa”! Not every county or Board is corrupt because you don’t like the outcome of decisions.

      Attacking the necessary resolution of the Jefferson School problem based on your disagreement with the Contract negotiations with the teachers is apples and oranges. For example, if your employer needed a new roof at your office, did your employer ask you to take a pay cut to get the funding? Would you have done so? In this case, the Board has stated that no new taxes beyond planned funding will be used. How about waiting and if they “lie” about that, well, that might be something to sue over.

      Ms. Shaw likes to attack the plan using historical information about what other Board’s failed to do, should have done, or where they spent money previously incorrectly, etc. …..5, 10….even 20 years ago! Since none of the current Board were even a member at those times to my knowledge, it doesn’t make much sense to blame the current Board for trying to find a resolution now!

      What is your expert assessment, proposed solution and your qualifications for making that assessment? Much of the arguments on this site are about as compelling as a TV doctor giving medical advice.

      The arguments against the plan also consistently and completely fail to address the student population of Jefferson, who are predominantly special needs. This requires specific needs that not all students require…and yes….it may cost more for some. What a shocker. Some parents actually PAY to have their non- special needs children at the school (in addition to their taxes) but I never hear about that as part of this discussion. (Queue criticism of the rates as “too cheap”…..at least they pay and make it a revenue increase/cost offset you should applaud!).

      Again…I invite you to meet …we’ll walk through the issues, law and evidence. Otherwise, this is all just social media blab like Russian bots that accomplishes nothing to find a resolution. Easy to criticize from your computer keyboard.

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  8. Sure let’s meet. Where and when?

    In our district we have a special needs school funded by local taxpayers.
    Only 15% of the enrollment (at last verified data, obtained in a facility review committee ) is LOCAL. 85% of the enrollment is out-of-district tuition students.
    The net cost to local taxpayers is HUGE to subsidize these tuition students (whose net cost to their home district taxpayers for tuition is about $16,000 annual per pupil after State reimbursements.
    We local taxpayers, being on the hook for building maintenance and pension and OPEB obligations, exterior maintenance, liability, and portions of uncompensated district staff to maintain this facility in order to host 85% out-of-district students , end up paying multiples of that net tuition cost for our own 15% of enrollment special needs students. Our Special Ed levy has been maxed out at 0.80% for many years.

    Let me remind you our property tax rate is above 4%, has been for many years and that has cost many seniors and median income families to lose their homes.
    Your condescending reduction of any inquiry into school spending as ‘waah waah’ should be stated by you to the faces of those families, many with children, some with special needs children. Shame on you.

    Another suggestion for funding.
    I believe that if D200 employees paid their union dues voluntarily to a fund to build a new Jefferson school, rather than voluntarily paying these dues to unions, you would have it paid for in a shorter period than typical bond issue.
    Objections to that?

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  9. Susan, thank you for the thoughtful dialogue and arguments. Looks like Greg was all talk and no action when he kept challenging everyone to debate anywhere anytime. You took him up on his offer and then crickets….. If I didn’t know better, I’d guess that Greg is a D200 board member in disguise. He seems to have a ton of knowledge of what’s going on in the district, but apparently has only bothered listening to people who share his passion for getting a new Jefferson built. Any naysayers must be challenged and verbally put in their place.

    Pretty sure the people of Wheaton spoke loud and clear about how this current board has acted in two recent referendums. Trust with community members is gained over time through several iterations of board members. Jan, rightly so, has pointed out with strong arguments, how those board members have mishandled finances and negotiations to the point where there is strong doubt among many community members I speak with that even if they say we can afford this new “lease” on Jefferson, that there will be sufficient funds to cover other unanticipated things that will undoubtedly show up.

    Funny too, that the noise surrounding the last referendum voiced gloom and doom over the abandonment of after school programs (theater, band, sports etc.), should the referendum fail. Fail it did and to my knowledge (I’ve got kids in D200 schools) no programs were cut.

    In my opinion, the biggest mistake the board made was the most recent referendum was rather than sharpen the pencil on the first Jefferson referendum and come in at a more reasonable rate, they went for the grand slam. Hard to stomach over $100 million in debt during these times and in this broke(n) state of Illinois. Something’s gotta give.

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  10. Thank you for paying attention to those pesky little details.
    I wish I had paid attention to details a dozen years ago, before Woodstock CUSD 200 cemented spending practices which initiated a negative feedback loop causing a death spiral of property values here.

    Advice to you:
    1. Check the consent agenda. Every time. Every line.
    2. Check for conflicts of interest .
    3. Check for ‘creative financial instruments’ such as these lease certificates Ms. Shaw ferreted out. Also, CABs.
    We are facing $50 million interest debt on a $14 million 20-year loan.
    We are DEEP below the State statutory debt cap of 13.8% of EAV when you factor in the HIDDEN INTEREST DEBT accrued due to these ‘clever’ debt instruments.
    4. Check for violations of school code on levy practices.
    We had our D200 levying an extra $3-$4 million a year in the Transportation Fund, for the sole purpose of transferring that extra money to the Ed Fund (which levy had been maxed out at 4% of EAV).
    After tax objection lawsuit, they stopped.
    5. Find some way to reach complacent, emotional voters before you end up like Woodstock: paying twice the nominal taxes on properties half the nominal value.

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    1. No. I’m not all talk about meeting with ACTUAL taxpaying members of this district. I just don’t spend every waking minute on this website as I work for a living. You can email me by clicking on my name and my website.

      If you are one, I’m happy to take about his matter.

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  11. to reiterate for taxpayers who may be affected if their property values disintegrate while nominal taxes rise, as has happened to us in Woodstock D200:

    Thank you for paying attention to those pesky little details.
    I wish I had paid attention to details a dozen years ago, before Woodstock CUSD 200 cemented spending practices which initiated a negative feedback loop causing a death spiral of property values here.

    Advice to you:
    1. Check the consent agenda. Every time. Every line.
    2. Check for conflicts of interest .
    3. Check for ‘creative financial instruments’ such as these lease certificates Ms. Shaw ferreted out. Also, CABs.
    We are facing $50 million interest debt on a $14 million 20-year loan.
    We are DEEP below the State statutory debt cap of 13.8% of EAV when you factor in the HIDDEN INTEREST DEBT accrued due to these ‘clever’ debt instruments.
    4. Check for violations of school code on levy practices.
    We had our D200 levying an extra $3-$4 million a year in the Transportation Fund, for the sole purpose of transferring that extra money to the Ed Fund (which levy had been maxed out at 4% of EAV).
    After tax objection lawsuit, they stopped.
    5. Find some way to reach complacent, emotional voters before you end up like Woodstock: paying twice the nominal taxes on properties half the nominal value.

    Like

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