A New Years Wish

After all the good things congress has done and allowed to happen, it’s only fair they pat themselves on the back with a nice pay hike.  They’ve even rigged the thing so they don’t have to actually vote to get the raise; Thursday congress will not vote to not take an automatic 2.8% pay raise, all while our national debt, the budget deficit, any claim of common sense governing, and our savings are all being blown straight to hell.

After being presented with uncontested information that, even with the maximum tax increases every year for the next 5 years, Elementary School District 58 will slide into the red, the School Board and Administration continue to paint Scott O’Connell as the reason things aren’t going smoothly, and raise teacher pay 10+% over the next three years, and janitor pay even more.

After dragging Consolidated High School District 99 taxpayers wallets into court over the Woodridge land fiasco, the School Board eclipses the $500,000 mark on combined legal fees and is still fighting for us, but still won’t release any records or reports indicating who got us into this mess so they can be voted off the board or fired for incompetence.  As resident taxpayers of Woodridge, they are obligated to pay the legal expenses incurred by both sides of this legal battle.  What the current CSD99 board  have done is energize an “opposition party” that will continue to run for board seats (with education quality and fiscal soundness topics left on the sideline), and created open warfare between Woodridge andCSD99 that has already tainted two elections.

30 years on we still have no public outdoor pool.  We do have Art Jaros, who ran and won a seat on the park board with the promise to try and make it happen if at all possible.  Now we have disgruntled voters criticizing him for trying to make it happen if it is at all possible.

I expect a lot of misinformation this election cycle.  We’ve already seen the straw dogs out over at DGreport, taking cheap shots anonymously with no facts to back them up.

So here are my New Years wishes:

– Next time there’s a contract up for negotiation, open up the books first.  Show taxpayers where the raises will come from, and make employees become part of the solutions instead of a contributing factor to the problem.  If our congressional leaders can’t balance a budget, yet give themselves a raise as a reward, that doesn’t mean the same has to happen here in Downers Grove.

Taxpayers deserve strong schools and strong school leadership, not rising red ink and less efficiency.  We are what we are, not what some other city or village is, or some other school district where the average taxpayer salary is 41% higher than here.  Part of that strong leadership has to be from those we vote onto our school boards.  Going with the flow isn’t going to reduce the slide into deficit, and any candidate must know they will need to have a clue how to change that daunting slide, and be able to communicate it clearly and effectively to voters.

I wish it could be just about the kids, but that’s a fantasy.  It’s about finance, efficiency, and results; for kids, for administrators, for teachers, for taxpayers.

– Next time a candidate says “vote for me” ask them why, and demand more than I want to give back, or DG is a great place and I want to keep it that way.  Those aren’t answers, those are sops, non-answers that sound good but have no substance.  Demand substance.  Demand commitment beyond a mere claim of being all about the kids, or having experience.  Experienced people got us into this state, why should that be a plus?

Want to keep our schools strong?  How?  Want to make the village better?  How?

Why should we vote for you for council?  Or school board?  Or Park Board?  Because you’re an incumbent?  Because you want to give back to the community?  Because you want to be that independent voice?

Those are sops, non-answers.  Not good enough.  To every candidate who has filed or will file, what do you want to accomplish?  What concrete goals do you have, that you are willing to work for, that translate into a better village or schools or parks over the coming years?

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