Have you noticed a strong “VOTE YES” campaign?
Some of it is information from the district ($13,416.31 for the first two flyers) and some from a political organization – “District 200 Vote Yes to Work Together.”
For the curious, this is what we have learned about their expenditures:
CUSD 200’s spending on PR for the Referendum
On September 26 I sent the following request:
Where in the budget has the board allocated funds for the expenses to pay for flyers, postage, town halls, etc. to alert citizens to the referendum? Please provide me with all receipts for all of these expenditures and/or other documents to show the total being spent. Also provide documentation for when it was approved by the board.
On October 3 I received the following reply with an attached pdf containing a scan of the first two flyers and the invoices.
Your request is granted. Please see attached. The funds for the following expenses are paid out of the Education Fund:
Mailer #1 – $7599.28
Wally’s Processing $1297.50
Mailer #2 – $5817.03
Wally’s Processing $948
That is a total of $13,416.31 from the district for the first two flyers. There has since been one more flyer. A FAQ section on the district web site, and a video staring Dr. Schuler. In addition to the money spent there is staff time. The communications director, Erica Loiacono, receives a $87,728 plus benefits. Her position didn’t exist until 2010.
Note: the Education Fund obviously covers far more than “communications.” The FOIA response did not answer that part of the request, so I sent another one on October 5”
Almost answered. “Where in the budget has the board allocated funds for the expenses” What line item covers the communications department and how much is allocated annually for PR?
when it was approved by the board.”
I see referendum PR flyers were discussed at the Committee of the Whole, on September 26. But, no board vote was taken to approve the expenditure. Provide the policy that covers communications department expenditures.
October 15 he replied:
Here is the link to the CUSD 200 Board of Education Policy 4.60 that answers your question. I wanted to make sure I got this to you so that you have the answers to your FOIA request.
The key line in the policy is:
“Adoption of the annual budget authorizes the Superintendent or designee to purchase budgeted supplies, equipment, and services, provided that State law is followed. Purchases of items outside budget parameters require prior Board approval, except in an emergency.”
He still had not answered the most critical part of the question, so I sent another request. Note: if funds were not budgeted for sending the referendum information (which by law must be neutral) then the superintendent and his designee do not have the authority to spend the money prior to board approval.
On October 15, I sent (to the FOIA officer with the board on copy-to):
Thank you for providing part of my FOIA request. I now have a copy of the policy that covers communications department expenditures & I know that $13416.31 was spent on the first two flyers. I also know it was approved by the board after the fact as part of bills payable in the consent agenda.
However, you still have not provided this item (third try):
“Where in the budget has the board allocated funds for the expenses [referendum information]” What line item covers the communications department and how much is allocated annually for PR?
I want the dollar amount that was allocated in the budget for public relations.
Note: FOIA’s can request copies of documents or data from an on-line query. I did not spot money allocated for the communications department in the budget as made available to the public for review. It should be in a data that tracks budget vs.actual receipts and actual expenses.
VOTE “YES” Campaign
There also is a “District 200 Vote Yes to Work Together” political organization registered with the Illinois board of elections.
- Chair – Barbara Intihar (former CUSD 200 board member 2001-2017)
- Co-Chairperson – Summer King
- Treasurer – Jeanne Huffer
They have done 2 Robo-calls, mailed one flyer, use social media, have a web site https://www.d200workingtogether.com/ and we see yard signs popping up all over.
Checking the Illinois State Board of Elections, we found their D2 statement
As of 9/30/2018 their report lists:
- TOTAL RECEIPTS $2,565.00
- TOTAL EXPENDITURES $1,353.71
Note: the PAC has expended $1,250 to Wally’s Printing, plus the PAC received a $200 in-kind contribution for printing from Wally’s Printing. Since the flyer they sent arrived in October, we assume the cost of postage will show up in their next report.
This is the same printer as the school district used.
Update 10/19/2018 – FOIA Response.
Response received October 19 at 8:47 AM. It finally answered my original question
Your request is granted. Please see the information below:The estimated expenditures for the Communications departments are included, along with other departments, on row 69 of the “Estimated Disbursements/Expenditures” section of the District’s budget form posted on the District’s website. Some of the accounts listed below are soley communication and others are budgets from multiple departments.The following is a breakdown of the amounts budgeted for the Communications department for FY19:
Function Object Salaries $ 127,600.00 2630 100 Benefits $ 14,100.00 2630 200 Purchased Services $ 51,750.00 2630 300 Supplies $ 16,700.00 2630 400 Capital Outlay $ 750.00 2630 500 Other $ 5,500.00 2630 600 $ 216,400.00
Originally posted Oct. 16, 2018, updated October 19, 2018