Trust, transparency and the D200 election

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Trust and transparency issues exist with some of the District 200 school board candidates. Incumbents Fred Arkin and Sara Dixon Spivy voted to bypass voters in 2015 to spend $37.5 million on an Olympic-size pool and demolishing the garage. In 2016, they voted to spend 77% of the proposed $44.5 million on a 40-meter x 25-yard pool and its associated building costs, and they supported the disingenuous marketing of the referendum as an academic and performing arts initiative. Their actions don't inspire trust. What's their stand on the large pool now?

Pension pickups are controversial, and their wording in contracts can lack transparency. The D200 board, including Arkin and Spivy, approved a 9 percent annual pension pickup for the superintendent, her entire required state retirement contribution in her current contract, but it didn't state the percentage amount. A FOIA revealed the 9 percent and also that this pickup is 2-3 times more than the pension pickup of the other 32 administrators/division heads.

The D90 contract disingenuously states that the board will pay a "portion" of teachers' required state retirement contributions. A FOIA revealed that the board actually picks up the entire 9% required pension contribution, not a portion of it, for every teacher. This pension pickup is a practice continued by the current board and President Ralph Martire.

A possible conflict of interest or the appearance of one is inherent in the candidacies of Gina Harris and Martire. They both have political and financial ties to the Illinois Education Association (IEA), the union that represents D200's teachers. Harris is a teacher and an IEA leader; Martire runs a political center that receives substantial funding from the IEA and other unions. D200 board members elected on April 2 will have input and influence in the next teacher contract. IEA interests belong on only one side of the negotiating table.  

Jack Davidson, William Gale, Monica Sheehan, Doug Springer, and Leslie Sutphen

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Bruce Kline  

Posted: March 14th, 2019 10:11 PM

Ramona, yeah, I love how Ralph uses the word "bipartisan." This recalls the conversation between Alice and Humpty Dumpty (just replace Humpty Dumpty with Ralph): ""When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean?"neither more nor less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master?"that's all."

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: March 14th, 2019 8:36 PM

Just go to this website : This is the organization Mr. Martire is leading and take a gander at his board members. Literally stacked to the ceiling with heads of unions. Yet, he claims his organization is bi partisan and objective. He is anything but. When it comes time to negotiate a labor contract, Mr. Martire will NOT be impartial and will have absolutely ZERO problem giving away the farm.

Kevin Peppard  

Posted: March 14th, 2019 5:18 PM

Martire believes that OPRF teachers are part of the achievement gap problem, and need to be retrained. He does not seem to lay primary responsibility on the families involved. That may be one reason that the Faculty Senate did NOT endorse him for election. They don't want to go to a re-education camp, and have their minds rebuilt, or have some Commissar looking over their shoulders in the classroom.

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