When-&-Why has a board member voted “NO” over the past five years?

I searched my notes, this website and my memory, for votes that were not unanimous – for good chances for D200 to save money that were not taken.   I remembered one that was not already documented, so I found the video, watched it, took notes and will cover it in detail first.  The others will be listed with links for more info.

 

June 04, 2015 – special meeting to approve the 2015-2018 WWEA teachers’ contract.

each entry lists the starting time-mark, & who said what (the most informative comments are from Jim Gambaiani starting at 30:00)

2:00 Harold Lonks

WWEA contract. “How can we make comments on the agenda items when there is no information available to the public?  And why only 50 hours notice of the meeting?  Teachers have commented that the contract is generous.”

Quotes from the Daily Herald by board candidates from the previous election: “Trust, communication key issue in D200 board race…”

“Let’s look at what happened in the past couple of years in D200.  School board members eliminated B-sports at the middle schools because they could no longer afford to pay $150,000 and would not consider volunteers.  A parent was told in the last board meeting that there is no funding available to offer courses in foreign languages for elementary students.  Larger class sizes in elementary schools, installing cell towers on school property to raise revenue, and finally the board is considering higher fees [since then fees have gone up significantly]. And let’s not forget about the repairs and upgrades needed by our buildings… Are you going to be voting no to support the needs of our children and students, which is our number 1 priority?”

 

5:50 Jan Shaw

“How does paying more money to the same adults for doing the same job do anything for the children?”  Salary spikes should never have existed.  Now the end of career bonus –That should have never existed.  She mentioned two administrators, Sorrick and Belha, who ended their careers with 20% 0% 6% 6% salary increases.  It appears they put in for their end of career 20% then stuck around for three more years and then put in again for their 6% end-of-career spikes. We have a right to know exactly what is in that contract.  Board member should have been on that negotiating team.  There was absolutely no taxpayer representative on that negotiating team.  It should not be negotiated behind closed doors and the board given a yes/no vote.  A 25 year teacher is not worth two-and-a-half times a new teacher.

30:00 Jim Gambaiani –

“While I support many provisions of this contract, I cannot support those related to compensation, Specifically:

  • “Total salary increases approaching $6 million.
  • Total salary percentage increase that could reach 8.5%.
  • Total stipend percent increase of 6% and
  • a 50% increase in post employment payments.

In the 2016-2017 school year, this district will enjoy a $4 million windfall given the fact that 60 retiring teachers will be replaced with teachers at lower salaries. This situation presents the district with a unique opportunity to have access to funds that could be used for building maintenance and improvement, technology upgrade, or increase payments toward debt service obligations. These funds could also be used for unanticipated expenses that the district may incur due to pension shift legislation, reallocation of general state aid funds currently known as Senate ill number one, or lower per student dollar allocation. I believe it is important to acknowledge that the district has numerous current and future financial challenges that can no longer be ignored.  Unfortunately, these available funds are being used to support a teacher contract.  As a board it is incumbent upon us to make these difficult choices and use taxpayer money based on the identified needs and priorities of the district.  I believe that a $6 million earmark for the teacher contract should rather be used for the priorities and needs I just outlined.  Therefore, I will cast a NO vote. “

38:00 Jim Vroman

“…those surpluses will NEVER, will never achieve, will never pay for the needs for our facility… the facilities committee reported to us last May, a month ago, a few weeks ago, that the expected… financial needs to upgrade our facilities is $51-million.  And that is not going to come out of any surpluses, or operating expenditures. We must come up with some creative ways to deal with that…”

2015-2018 WWEA contract approved.

Passed 5-1, Jim Gambaiani voted No,  Jim Mathieson absent

 

Other chances to cut spending that were missed:

November 13, 2013

The board voted 5-2 to hire Unicom for $49,500 as consultants for conducting community engagement (Engage200 meetings). Jim Gambaiani and Jim Mathieson voted “no.”   https://dupagewatchdog.org/2015/02/wheaton-warrenville-cusd200-engage200/

 

May 29, 2014

The board voted 5-2 to forgive Dr. Harris the $40,000 fine for breaking his employment contract. Jim Gambaiani and Jim Mathieson voted “no.” https://dupagewatchdog.org/2014/07/district-200-superintendent-leaving-40000-gift/

 

Dec. 13, 2016

The board voted 6-1 to approve Dr. Schuler’s (superintendant) new contract. In his statement, Jim Gambaiani said “I believe a salary freeze should be part of the superintendent contract along with eliminating automatic annual salary increases. There are many elements within the contract that I do support, but these 2 items are show stoppers.” https://dupagewatchdog.org/2017/12/cusd-200-lavished-dr-schuler-with-more/

 

January 11, 2017

The board voted 6-1 to place $132.5 million referendum on the ballot. Jim Gambaiani (the sole “NO” vote gave his reasons for not supporting the referendum) “…Over the past 12 years, the average amount budgeted for building maintenance was less than half a million dollars.  Over the past 3 years, this district spent nearly $350,000 to study, survey, re-evaluation to gather data for the master facilities plan. In the end, we finally confirmed most of what was already identified” Tonight this board passed the Sherman Dergis policy thus providing an alternate funding source.  “…Personal property taxes have increased 42% and total district salaries and benefits increased nearly $27 million…https://dupagewatchdog.org/2017/02/cysd-200-132-5-million-referendum-placed-on-the-ballot/

 

August 17, 2017

The board voted 6-1 to approve the renewal of Administrator contracts. They renewed them with a 1-year salary freeze.  However, as Jim Gambaiani said in explaining his “no” vote, they still have $600,000 pension pick up, $850,000 benefits, and $25,000 per employee maximum retirement bonus. https://dupagewatchdog.org/2017/08/cusd-200-whos-in-charge/

 

May 9, 2018

The board voted 6-1 to approve a new 4-year teachers’ contract for the years 2018 to 2022.  Jim Gambaiani read his prepared statement: “…The financial impact of this contract will place the district in deeper financial stress.  The current 5-year budget forecast reflects a deficit of nearly $8 million.  Approval of this contract will add an additional $13 million pushing the total 5-year deficit to $21 million” https://dupagewatchdog.org/2018/05/cusd-200-teachers-contract-what-is-in-it/

 

June 14, 2018

The board voted 6-1 to approve the renewal of Administrator contracts.  Jim Gambaiani who voted “no” because he sees it as too much money with all the other recently approved and proposed spending.” https://dupagewatchdog.org/2018/06/cusd-200-public-relations-cost-admin-taises/

 

Feb 12, 2014

Not a vote. But Jim Mathieson explains why we will always be in debt and how debt can be used to get around the tax cap limitation. https://dupagewatchdog.org/2014/03/cusd-200-will-always-be-in-debt/

One thought on “When-&-Why has a board member voted “NO” over the past five years?

  1. Seriously? I need to go back to the voting booth a third time in the last 3 years regarding an ill conceived referendum advanced by our school board? Now I’m getting really annoyed. What didn’t they understand the first 2 times?

    Like

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