Misdirected anger in opposing D97

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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I attended the referendum forum recently at Irving School to try to better understand why people oppose it. It turns out that my neighbor has stepped forward as an outspoken leader of this group.

Now I get it.

The opposition suggests that the threat of cuts to jobs and programs in District 97 is a cleverly deceptive ploy. They believe there's no way our school board will really make good on these threats.

I'm sure this will be reassuring news to the people, including our school secretary Rosa Ordaz, who have already received termination notices.

When terms like "mismanagement" and "blackmail" are used I hear anger, frustration and suspicion from the opposition. This feels like punishing D97 for perceived past misdeeds by institutions possibly not even directly involved in this debate.

So, the opposition is the voice of reason — heroically creating spreadsheets to save hysterical parents from being the unwitting victims of scare tactics meant to coerce us into naively handing over more of our hard-earned money to an undeserving school board. One analogy compared shoring up the District 97 operating budget to giving a drunk another drink (not a comparison I found helpful or respectful).

Apparently we are being duped. If we send a strong enough, angry enough message, we can regain control and things will turn around. We'll be out of the red in no time.

I want to believe this. I really do because who in their right mind wants to pay more in property taxes?

We just can't risk it. I'm voting yes because if this referendum doesn't pass, I'm wondering who will help Ms. Rosa pack up her desk and walk her out the door for the last time.

I'm wondering who really will feel duped after April 5.

Carrie Bankes
Oak Park

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Reader Comments

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Comment Policy

Time to celebrate!  

Posted: April 7th, 2011 8:58 AM

The yes vote won. Let's celebrate by eating a box of cookies or something.

you are being duped!  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 6:56 PM

For years, the OP elementary schools did fine with one administrative assistant. If helicopter parents were not phoning the schools "for a yes or a no" on their iPhone, one secretary could still manage the workload with ease. I'm voting NO because Ms. Rosa is very skilled and employable and I'll happily pack her up while reminising about all the bizarre Mann foibles. Ms.Kumar will be holed up in her office (being overpaid as usual)and will never lift a finger. Time for a new normal.


Posted: April 4th, 2011 12:21 PM

Maybe those D97 leaders who weren't concerned about implementing raises and new programs throughout the economic downturn, while knowing that many taxpayers have had salary reductions or layoffs as well as tax increases can explain it to Ms. Ordaz.

Alan Reed from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 2:30 PM

For the record, I oppose the Ref, but I'm not angry. But, what I see when I review the data is that D97 spends more per student, but delivers less academically than districts in Elmhurst, Western Springs, and La Grange. At the same time, our spending level is on par with much wealthier communities. I know that our funding level should be sufficient to deliver quality schools. I'm not angry at teachers, but we must work through difficult issues with them to get to a reasonable solution.

Enough of This!  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 1:07 PM

Thanks. I appreciate your answer to this question and am sorry you are out of work.

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 12:56 PM

I am in the software product industry. My last company has to bring its costs inline with revenues, they were funded by VCs. They instituted a company wide across the board 10% reduction in workforce. They combined product lines & gave mgmt responsibilities to someone with more experience. That is the way markets work. I could have taken a job in the West or East coast but chose not to (I am still being recruited week).

Enough of this!  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 12:44 PM

@Noel - So "value add" is very important to you, as is "pay for performance." This means that people should be let go that don't meet the value add and performance criteria. Conversely, people who do add value and have great performance should be retained. So Noel, why did your company get rid of you after 15 years as a product manager?

E. Jackson  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 12:42 PM

You say there are several attributes. What are the other ones besides being collaborative? Also, just an FYI, his name is Jim O'Connor. I mean, since you can't get my name right, the least you can do is extend him that courtesy.

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 12:36 PM

Being collaborative (teamwork) is one of several attributes for pay for performance. In a 21st century school, GREAT teachers cannot succeed without being collaborative. That is why it is called a school system, where sub systems, actors, resources etc have to work in unison to be efficient, increase teaching effectiveness, inc learning outcomes & inc student engagement. Voting NO will force D97 to bring our school system into the 21st century. More taxes will not get us there.

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 12:29 PM

@Erin Jackson. You seem like a smart person. Refresh your own memory with your own research. You can start by asking John O'Connor who is running for a board seat. He ran a school & is HIGHLY knowledgeable. Ask John Phelan running for D200, he also has run a school. Lets talk after you are armed with some basic information. The opportunity costs of time spent posting ad hominem attacks is too high. Life is short. Play hard. Vote NO.

OP Resident  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 12:29 PM

Pay For Performance is a counterproductive concept. The author of the definitive book on the subject was an Oak Park resident and he explained that how it destroys teamwork. Teachers should not be pitted against each other in order to secure a pay raise.

E. Jackson  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 12:21 PM

So refresh my memory, what, in your opinion, are the qualities that make a great teacher? What performance measures/metrics would you use to evaluate? If it is AYP, does that mean you think the teachers in the four schools that didn't make it are below average and the teachers in the six schools that did are great?

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 12:17 PM

When pay is not tied to performance it is hard to gauge the value add of a teacher. Current teachers salaries are based on collectively bargained prices instead of at will market prices, further distorting the resource allocation decisions. A vote NO will change this. It will force D97 to rationalize pay practices & allow it to keep its spending inline with the almost 3% CPI increase & any additional funding it will receive from TIFs &other sources.

E. Jackson  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 12:07 PM

Oh, so only 80 percent of the teachers working in D97 are average or below average. Thank you for clearing that up. So, how much should the district pay the 20 percent you believe are great?

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 12:03 PM

Most school sys, including D97 have GREAT teachers, about 20%, avg teachers about 60% & below avg teachers, about 20%. Let's not kid ourselves, not all teachers at D97 are good teachers. Through tenure some below avg teachers remain in the system. Through quality blind layoffs good teachers are let go. I have always said this. Not every teacher making $75K or $100K is a good teachers. Voting NO will force D97 to address this by linking pay for performance. Good teachers will will get $$$

E. Jackson  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 11:55 AM

And how much is a good or great teacher worth, Noel? $50,000 per year? $75,000 per year?

E. Jackson  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 11:52 AM

So, great teachers are worth every dollar, but you have spent weeks railing against the compensation of those who are teaching in D97 schools...which would lead one to assume you don't think the teachers in Oak Park are great. So perhaps I need to correct myself and say you are anti-D97 teacher. By the way, I hope you are ready to apologize to Erin Jackson when this is all over and you figure out I am not her.

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 11:44 AM

@Erin Jackson, NTUI is helping us get the word out. They are not anti-teacher. We are not anti-teacher. A majority of us in OP, IL & USA agree that teacher comp is not aligned to their value add. We all agree that good and great teachers are worth every $. Only a rational comp system can achieve this. The teachers CB has done a masterful job of extracting $ from tax payers that contributed to the current fiscal crisis at D97. A vote NO will change this.

E. Jackson  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 9:25 AM

First, I do think it is inaccurate. Second, not sure how a group can say it is not anti-teacher and then distribute a flyer featuring that content.


Posted: April 1st, 2011 9:25 AM

I have a friend who runs a pretty successful business. Is able to take a couple of months off at a time to travel and will retire by the time he is 50. I am not "anti" him. I am quite happy for him actually.


Posted: April 1st, 2011 9:21 AM

Why? Is the statement inaccurate?

E. Jackson  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 9:20 AM

Which I believe would make you anti-teacher...in Oak Park any way.


Posted: April 1st, 2011 9:19 AM

Sorry-i am responsible for previous post but I am not anti-teacher. Just an over-burdened taxpayer trying to make ends meet.


Posted: April 1st, 2011 9:16 AM

How is that statement anti-teacher? It is pretty accurate to me-for OP teachers anyway-not sure about Chicago.

E. Jackson  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 9:03 AM

Interesting article in Triblocal today (http://triblocal.com/oak-park-river-forest/2011/04/01/anti-tax-group-steps-into-dist-97-referendum-fight/). If CAOP really isn't anti-teacher, why is it aligned with an organization that would say "Public schools exist of the teachers, by the teachers and for the teachers." "While taxpayers struggle to make ends meet, teachers work in a privileged environment of high-paying, guaranteed jobs, three months a year off, short workdays and early retirement."

Feel the Love from Oak Park  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 8:52 AM

Ancient Dooper, I see my sarcasm didn't translate well on the interwebs. Yes, I am well aware of the general attack mode that exists in Oak Park. Thankfully there always seems to be just enough people willing to put up with it all so things still get done. Someday maybe everyone will leave and the only people left in the room will be the complainers. That should be interesting.

Ancient Dooper from Oak Park  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 8:22 AM

@Feel the Love: "Kind and courteous"? Seriously, are you new here? It's only kind and courteous when you agree with the prevailing bizarre logic abundant in the People's Republic of Oak Park. It has always been that way...but the internet makes "flaming" people so much more convenient. Any people with real common sense evacuate and move to Wheaton or Naperville...or go back to the City...

Feel the Love from Oak Park  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 7:53 AM

Well, at least the hard won reputation of Oak Park as a place for kind and courteous civil discourse isn't tarnished with this referendum. Quick, someone better propose some stadium lights or a new TIF district by April 6th or we might start to get along.


Posted: April 1st, 2011 7:48 AM

OMG...so is the election night thing too informal to wear sequins to? I just want to be sure to dress correctly so that I don't hurt Tyler & Madison's chances of making it into Harvard. Can I bring something? I make an amazing vegan cheesecake from cauliflower that my supper club says is "to die for." Will that Jassen guy be there? His flowing locks of hair are really doing something to me...maybe I can leave Steve at home, have a couple of flirtinis and...it's all for the kids, SAVE BRAVO!

thanks-What is there to celebrate?  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 7:34 AM

@Julie Klein thanks for the clarification.

Tom Scharre  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 6:27 AM

I really don't know if the "gathering" on election night is tacky. But I am certain it is tax-y.

Oak Park realist  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 5:57 AM

@Jassen - You have been, and hope to be, on D97's payroll. You are facebook verified and have a high profile because you are promoting yourself to the district for work. If they hire you full-time, it will verify how corrupt the school district is in Oak Park.

Julie Klein from Oak Park  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 11:45 PM

My reading of the email regarding the gathering on election night is that it is just that--a post-election gathering. The "Referendum Yes" group did not presume a "win" for the referendum by sending this invitation to those who are working for its passage. The gathering is scheduled "win or lose" as an opportunity for these people to meet each other in person. Nothing more.

Jassen Strokosch from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 11:34 PM

@What is there to celebrate - You will note that I always comment as myself, Facebook verified. I can only assume you where directing the gullible comment to "Duh."

What is there to celebrate?  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 11:26 PM

Jassen, I am not gullible. I should have written the yes group, although I am sure the bd will be celebrating as well. I just think it is extremely tacky to celebrate something like this when struggling families will suffer due to tax increases-our neighbors.


Posted: March 31st, 2011 10:14 PM

The celebration is sponsored by the referendum yes group -- not by the District. Are you that gullible to think the district is planning a party? Unbelievable. And Noel, great, you called someone else out. Good for you. Now go back and answer that 8:58 a.m. question. I forgot-you never answer questions. You just keep talking about ipads.

What is there to celebrate?  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 7:24 PM

Party? Really? How are they so sure that the ref will pass? And why the party? I don't get this district at all. Are thy celebrating the fact the taxes will be raised again? How utterly presumptuous and arrogant they are to plan a party re: this. Too bad there weren't any challengers this time around. Appalling.

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 6:23 PM

Nicole Beck from Oak Park? Is that you dear?

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 6:22 PM

@Erin Jackson, you didn't get the memo? The YES is having a party on Tue night! I think all us from the NO side will crash the party since we have no plans to celebrate. Gosh I need pick out what I need to wear! Perhaps I will brink Mr. Bankes as my date.

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 6:19 PM

@OP parent, if there were spending cuts, whey did D97 over spend more than the tax levies, yr & yr? Why did the IL St Board of Ed give D97 a Review status, placing D97 on the bottom 20% of ALL school districts in IL? What did D97 do with the 50% tax levy increases over the last decade, twice the rate of the CPI? How did operating costs per pupil inc 60 % over the last decade when enrollment only increased 6%? These are all FACTS from the IL State Board & IL Interactive Report card.

Nicole from Oak Park  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 3:19 PM

And now people have been browbeaten by the district? Isn't it possible that those who disagree with your position on the referendum simply have a different opinion? I'm pretty sure that nobody has browbeaten me, and I'm voting yes.


Posted: March 31st, 2011 3:10 PM

Carrie, how much spending is enough spending? Is $15,000 per student your limit? How about $20,000 per student. The no crowd has a right to be mad. Those who have been brown beaten by the District with its agenda into voting yes, are going to force all of us to spend money because their kids MIGHT have to do without. God forbid.

Nicole from Oak Park  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 2:40 PM

Has the level of debate on the referendum really degenerated into a discussion of who convinced their neighbors to send letters to the editor? People, take a step back. I'm voting yes, and I'm doing it for the kids. I know there are informed, passionate people in the community who don't think this is for the kids, but I think it is.

OP Resident  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 11:48 AM

@ Noel -- your constant misrepresentation of the facts is so aggravating. You ignore the basic related to school finance fund balance cycles and tax caps. You continue to suggest there were no questions about deficit spending -- when I KNOW you know a citizen based finance committee started recommending spending cuts back in 2005, and cuts actually had started by the administration in 2001. You must not have been with me and 200 parents @ Julian when class size increases were proposed.

Steve Bankes from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 11:46 AM

Hi Noel, you crack me up when you suggest the "yes" people wordsmithed Carrie's letter. Have you met my wife? (haha) Also, someone raised some good questions at 8:58 a.m. You should respond. It is something I've wondered about too. I like you and would love to see your incredible energy used more constructively. You are always talk about what you oppose, but I want to know you propose. Bitching about iPads bores me. Why not run for the school board? You are better than an armchair quarterback.

E. Jackson  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 11:15 AM

Celebration? Does that mean you think the yes side is going to win, Noel?

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 10:58 AM

BTW, when you guys celebrate @ Trattoria 225 on Tuesday night, please keep Ms Rosa in your thoughts along with fact that D97 could have avoided this through more responsible fiscal mmgt & salary cuts. Lets face it these are same cast of characters who supported Sup Collins, hailed her as the solution to our problems & never questioned the deficit spending when D97s rev increased by 50% during the last 10yrs, beating CPI by almost 50%. They chose not TO yet now they want more spending. Vote NO.

E. Jackson  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 10:45 AM

Noel, based on your post at 10:33 a.m., are you saying the district should cut math and science?

It Would Be Nice...  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 10:42 AM

if Mr. Kuriakos would stop asking the same questions over and over for a moment and would instead *answer* the one posted at 8:58 this morning.

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 10:38 AM

I like to know where are the letters from the YES side showing sympathy for those in our community who had endure a foreclosure. Do you have anybody amongst your midst who had to go through a foreclosure recently? How about a personal story from one of the 300 OP homeowners whose homes are on the market due to foreclosure? How many our community members are on fixed income & can't endure another tax inc. Voting NO is a vote force D97 to become more spend thrift & improve learning outcomes.

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 10:33 AM

At least I am asking questions. The YES side including Mrs. Bankes has not asked the questions. Can anyone on the YES side tell us WHY music & the visual arts are being cut instead of Math & science? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller? In 21st century school system these are part of the core curriculum. We can't change the past. We can learn from it & change the future. That is why Voting NO makes sense. It is a vote to change behavior & introduce more accountability.

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 10:28 AM

Actually we only have 3 members on our list. And yes we I am super annoyed that CAOP has not done a better job at out reach. I am going to personally send a virtual flogging to everyone on the list. Yes our community members are 100% convinced by your arguments & the don't buy into anything I or CAOP has to say. Please let me know where I can pick up one of those gorgeous yard signs.

E. Jackson  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 9:20 AM

@Noel - so you are annoyed because the group that is trying to pass the referendum is well organized and effective in its outreach efforts?

Interested Parent  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 9:02 AM

@Noel - It wouldn't be hard to have 80% of the NO letters not coming from your CAOP group. You only have 12 group members listed as belonging to your organization! While I'm sure you have more supporters than that, your actual signed-in group is pretty tiny.

Where were you?  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 8:58 AM

@Noel - You question Ms. Bankes about her lack of letters to the Board? Where were you, Noel? No one seems to remember seeing your name on Board meeting attendance sheets over the past few years. Have you served on the FAC or FORC committees to examine district finances and facilities? Did you run for the Board? Where were you, Noel?

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 8:49 AM

@Jassen, we didn't tell our supporters to email their letters to a coordinator for any review or wordsmithing, we just told them to send it to the editor. In fact 80% of folks that submitted the NO vote letters to the editor published online are not even on our mailing list nor have they been contacted by anyone on our list. Can you make that claim?

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 8:37 AM

Why are they paying catered lunches for teachers? Why did they spend $15K-$30K on ipads when they could have used existing laptops. Why are they paying for full med ins cvrg for single teachers? Why are they paying for out of town travel for admins? Did Mrs Bankes & YES supports write ONE letter to the board or admin asking about this spending? If they focused their efforts toward questioning the fiscal practices of D97 instead of attacking me, perhaps Ms. Rosa wouldn't be in this position.

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 8:27 AM

Yes, Mrs. Bankes, my neighbor is a good person. Never said she wasn't. Perhaps Mrs. Bankes can ask Ms. Rosa to ask the Brd as to why they gave Sup Robers and insta-raise of $40K from his previous job(which almost covers her sal)? Why are they paying the FULL medical coverage of top admin earners (80% making over $100K) & letting Ms. Rosa go? Why are they paying Sup Roberts $600/mo for car allowance? Why are they paying for monthly cell phones bills of some admins? cont.

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 8:22 AM

@Jassen, please publish the Ms. Bankes original email then. We know how this game is played. Been there done that. Based on my conversations with some GREAT folks on the YES side, I stand by my statement. The full page ad in the WJ clearly shows the unholy alliance between the YES side, the PTOs & the Board for this referendum. It doesn't take a genius to connect the dots. Now we know why those referendum meetings were stacked to the Yes side. We will reform this process for the next vote.

Detroit? from Oak Park  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 11:00 PM

And how has that great union state of Michigan been doing lately? GM & Chrysler? Methinks that your romantic union vision requires some updating. Yes, post-WW2, when Europe & Japan were basket-cases, the USA and unions could do whatever they wanted. "Made in Japan" denoted junk. The world caught up to USA and the union label destroyed a lot of American companies who couldn't compete with Japan and a revitalized Europe. Of course there is more to the story, but non-union US states are growing.

OP Resident  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 10:32 PM

Hey, Arc! It's safe to assume that you've never belonged to a union but take for granted all of the benefits you enjoy thanks to organized labor. Learn the facts about the history of the American Labor Movement. And please tune out Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. They don't encourage a reasoned thought process.

Arc Light  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 10:25 PM

@I voted today: Your predictions have come to a pass - In the 2010 census, Chicago have lost 200,000 people - Cook County - 225,000. In 1970, 62,000 used to live in Oak Park, now, 51,000 - your tax base is shrinking already and if this tax is to pass, I lay dollar to donuts that they will not collect enough monies to fullfill their goals. Why? foreclosures and people cannot get morgages - vacant homes..... I have two no scratch that, three and counting.....

OP Resident  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 10:21 PM

That's a nightmare for Oak Park you're envisioning. We would be better off if the State of Illinois addressed the way our schools are funded. The current method is unfair and discriminates against the poor. We need real leadership. Political hacks like our own Don Harmon are never going to solve the problem. Check out the report in The Reader on how Harmon worked to protect TIFs in Chicago. He's all about doing favors for his cronies. The rest of us are out of luck.

Michael from Oak Park  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 10:18 PM

I agree with "I Voted" that pensions are a serious issue, but I don't want to abandon our schools. I don't like my taxes increasing either, but I'll be voting yes. I happen to think that the schools help support our property values.

Arc Light from Oak Park   

Posted: March 30th, 2011 10:17 PM

Being duped? - Blame it on JFK for legalizing public unions and unleashing this monster on the public. Blame it on unions who gave millions for Democrats that took our tax monies and spent it and not putting in the pension system. Blame the teachers and unions that have the entitlement mentality that they have to take and take some more. This reminds me of Detroit MI.....and how the slide began and continuing - into receivership....

Arc Light from Oak Park   

Posted: March 30th, 2011 10:09 PM

Here we go again - If this was about the children, lets see if the administrative staff and teachers give a 10 to 15% salary cuts and put it back into school operations. But No, it isn't about the children is it?

I voted today  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 10:02 PM

My prediction of Oak Park in 10yrs. District 97 enrollment will be down 20% and home prices lower than today. Tax increases will crowd out families, not only due to referendums like this but the fact the state of Illinois will require districts themselves to pay more for pensions. Imagine property tax rates at least triple what they are today, this is definitely a possibility. If the state doesn't fix the pension problem, this state is absolutely fuqed.

blow back  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 9:59 PM

I'm sorry that Rosa may lose her job, but those of us in the private sector who have lost our jobs are not able to withstand another property tax increase in OP. If you wish to drive the middle class out of OP, vote YES next Tues.

chet21 from Oak Park  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 9:56 PM

@Tom Scharre. I think that "poor Willie" is near retirement and, be honest, wishes to get away from Bart!

Tom Scharre  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 9:39 PM

And what will happen to poor Groundskeeper Willie? Where will he go when D97 is forced to evict him from his modest shed behind the school?

Julie Klein from Oak Park  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 9:36 PM

@ Why?, this referendum is about supporting our schools in D97. This encompasses teachers and staff. So, yes, Ms. Rosa is an essential component in our school's success. Your question about voluntary check-writing on the part of "yes" voters isn't worth dignifying with a response.

Why? from Oak Park  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 9:28 PM

@JKlein. So, yes, this referendum is also to save "secretaries" and not just "the children"? Not disputing the need of secretaries (honest), but how many do we need at each school? Is EVERYTHING sacrosanct? If so, then the Bd needs to request 5% salary reductions from all and retain every position - instead of raising taxes on stressed homeowners/businesses. Further, ref supporters, if they lose, should voluntarily write checks for sum equal to tax increase. Much could be raised from this source

Julie Klein from Oak Park  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 9:14 PM

@ Noel, I can assure you that Carrie Bankes needed no "wordsmithing assistance" in the writing of her letter. Not only is she an eloquent voice for those who support our schools, teachers and staff, she is one of those dedicated parents to whom you refer--those parents whom you believe are in short supply in our community--one who is constantly giving of herself and her time. Funny thing is, Carrie is one of many involved parents I encounter every day, and, BTW, Ms. Rosa IS indispensable.


Posted: March 30th, 2011 7:11 PM

@EJ. I understood that the condition of the freeze was that the money go to preserve the jobs of those on the RIF list. You say programs will also be saved by the freeze? I'm not sure that is correct. I wonder, does that extend the staff until the freeze million is depleted, or does it continue?

music Lover  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 6:45 PM

Well, at least the Suzuki violin instructor can live well off the Kuriakos family. Those lessons aren' cheap.

Already Voted NO from Oak Park  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 6:04 PM

This doesn't cut with me either. She can join the rest of us in the unemployment line!

Question for Carrie from Oak Park  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 5:51 PM

Is Rosa's job redundant? Critical? Is she one of 2 or 3 secretaries at the school? Can I express skepticism that the school will no longer have a secretary? Why am I being asked, someone no longer employed, to pay for Rosa's employment? I don't have Hubbuch's money, but I feel like, as usual, I'm asked to vote yes for emotional reasons. Instead of "for the children!" it's "for the school secretary!"? Now I am the one "being duped." Doesn't the YES group have a donation link "for Rosa!"?

Stop with the AYP sob story  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 5:38 PM

As we near this unattainable deadline (here's a news article for your reading pleasure: http://couriernews.suntimes.com/2145401-417/schools-ayp-state-district-percent.html?print=true), you will see many more districts fail. Please bring up a valid point as to why the referendum should not pass because this "ain't" it.

Stop with the AYP sob story  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 5:37 PM

Thanks to NCLB, by 2014 ALL schools in America are supposed to have students at 100% proficiency in reading and math. THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE due to many variables. Right now I believe schools are supposed to have about 85% of their students proficient. Also, I believe some of the schools that didn't make AYP didn't make it not based on the total population, but on a very small minority.

Jassen Strokosch from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 9:11 AM

@Noel - I won't pile on E. Jackson's comments but wanted to point out that we stand behind exactly what you quoted below, we asked people to send in letters-to-the-editor "in their own words." Nobody edited or touched any part of those letters. Your wild speculation that we wordsmithed or made any changes is an insult to the people who sent the time and energy so speak out publicly about how they felt.

E. Jackson  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 8:54 AM

Plus, it seems like the entire basis for your achievement argument is performance on the ISAT. Are you suggesting that the schools should focus less on providing a well-rounded education for the children of Oak Park and focus all time, energy and resources on ensuring that kids pass one standardized test a year? In your pay based on performance structure, would the teachers get an extra $100 for every kid that passes and a percent increase if the whole class, school or district makes AYP?

E. Jackson  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 8:50 AM

And, from what I understand, everyone who was let go via RIF or release was sent a letter telling them when their last day will be...sounds pretty real to me. Although, the "insignificant" wage freeze taken by the OPTA, OPTAA and OPESP will likely save some programs and positions if the referendum fails so I guess you have a partial point on that one.

E. Jackson  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 8:47 AM

Besides the fact that BRAVO actually stands for Band, Repertoire, Art, Vocal, and Orchestra (art and music are both part of the program, and CAST incorporates studying significant literary works into its performances, are you denying that participating in these kinds of activities play an important role in the social, emotional and physical development of children. Does that mean less because you can't see that on one of your Excel spreadsheets?

E. Jackson  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 8:43 AM

You call all the yes people suckers and now you are accusing the Wednesday Journal of not being objective. You criticize the yes side for rallying people to send in letters to the editor when you said in a post on this very page the no side did the exact same thing. You say here not to cut art and music because they are parts of the core curriculum, but on a post elsewhere on this site you demand to see the metrics correlating participation in CAST and BRAVO with student achievement.

E. Jackson  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 8:40 AM

Once again, Noel, I love the passion mixed with misdirection and misinformation. The district spent less than $15,000 on the iPads, which have been used to conduct more than 300 evaluations or evaluation-related activities such as observations. You demand answers to your questions, but won't answer the ones posed to you like why are providing inaccurate information about the district committing $5 million to the beautification of one school.

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 2:27 AM

I find it odd that Wednesday Journal elected to publish more 'Letters to The Editor' from the Yes side than the NO side. Many of our supporters have dutifully sent in their letters but they seem not to have caught the editors fancy(ies). I don't want to be duped into believing that WJ is fair a& balanced. Wait that tag line has already been taken!

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 1:56 AM

We are all to blame for this situation. The YES side supported Sup Collins when she came on board. Even after spending close to $1 Mil in sal & benefits on her during her tenure NO ONE asked the tough questions about continued deficit spending & decreasing expectations. Don't let emotion blind you. We tend to make wrong decisions when emotions take over. That is why we are voting NO because it is based on facts and analysis. The 80% of households in OP w/o kids in D97 will vote NO also.

Noel Kurikaos  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 1:50 AM

We are voting NO to force D97 to change its spending habits. If you want to save Ms. Rosa job then ask why D97 spent $30K on ipads & related software? Ask why they spent close to $200K on laptops for teachers when 10% of them just use it for email. Ask why the board gave a $40K raise to the Sup from his previous job, pays his full medical ins, gives him $600 / mo in car allowance, pays his OUT OF STATE travel exps, has an option for bonus w/o explicit outcome measures & metrics?

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 1:44 AM

I wonder why good hearted folks like you are not asking why some teachers make close to $100K for a 9 month work yr with benefits? Not all these teachers are more effective than lower paid teachers. Why are top admin earners making $100K over having their medical ins fully paid for by D97? Why is D97 pay the FULL cost of medical ins for teachers with single coverage? Why are we spending $13K per student while our minority students consistently under perform their white counter parts?

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 1:39 AM

[Please write a letter to the editor explaining your point of view. We'd like to help. Email our coordinator at LTE@referendumyes.com with your letter and he will help schedule it so it goes to the right place at the right time for the most impact.] Was your original letter wordsmithed for the 'most impact'? I have based my arguments on facts & analysis. It seems your side likes to appeal to emotions, like Ads targeted for the masses. Voting NO means incorporating facts into your decision.

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 1:35 AM

BTW, I am on the YES side volunteer mailing list & I have seen the call for the letters to the editors. I am NNK732-CarlaCEO@yahoo.com. Here is what the email states: [Write Letters to the Editor Are you one for words? Are you an active member of a group that's on the list of cuts if the referendum doesn't pass? Do you have young children who will be directly effected by this for many years? Are you worried about your property values or your community values? cont

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 1:31 AM

Mismanagement is ineffective use of resources. That is what D97 has been doing with tax payer resources. Blackmail was used several parents (who are voting YES) & I used them in my presentation. Those are not termination notices. Legally D97 must give advanced warning IF they are going to terminate. The board can rescind these before the sch yr end. They can ask for a across the board 3%-5% or more wage cuts & cost shifting of benefit inc & avoid SOME of the cuts. Voting NO will force this

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 1:26 AM

Thanks Carrie for those kind words. As your neighbor I asked tough questions without receiving answers. Perhaps you can answer these. Why did D97 deficit spend yr after yr while tax levies increased by 50% over the last 10 yr (when CPI only inc by 1/2 that rate)? Why did D97 emps receive raises when 4 our schools failed AYP last year? Why did the admin cut music & arts, which are part of the core curriculum instead of cutting Math? Will more taxes improve test scores? Make our schools better?

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