Referenda Referenda Referenda....Back Again

An Important Vote Besides The One For President

Typically my blog involves medical issues, insurance issues, social security and medicare. Back in March I was asked to say a few words about the importance of a "yes" vote for facilities and a "yes" vote for programs. Both votes failed by a handful of votes. I have since come to know that due to "ballot irregularity" in the March vote, some of the ballots didn't even have the referendum listed on them. As a property owner, here in Niles, with concerns going forward, I attended the October 17th Golf Middle School "Open House" to learn about the Referenda. I spent nearly 3 hours there. During that time, I could count the attendees on one hand. The organizers indicated it had been the same low turn out at the other two "open houses." (They have one more to go on the 29th at Hynes Elementary School from 5PM to 8:30PM) Just as our presidential election has folks strongly going one way and strongly going the other, this blog entry focuses on those "on the fence" who can and will make the difference. An inspirational, young 14 yr old Pakistani girl was recently shot in the head, defying the Taliban, and encouraging other children to attend school. It shouldn't have to come to that here. As a chess player for over 50 years, I will always consider two or three moves ahead. I spoke with the officials at the open house about what would happen if we continue to vote "no." (In other words, they can't force a "yes" vote). When it got bad enough, the government would ultimately step in with their own people, dictating curriculum, hours etc. Is that what we want? According to a recent Patch article, Morton Grove and Niles spend over $97,000 on Halloween costumes. That averages to well over $1,000 per family which dwarfs what the tax increase would call for. A "yes" vote would benefit village residents in countless ways, with lasting effects, for far less money than they now pay for costumes to trick or treat and party ONCE a year. Our kids dont have a fire suppression sprinkler system. What if there is a fire?  Money?  The Golf District 67 Superintendent is the third lowest paid in the entire county. Wake up. I'm not talking to those of you already voting "yes."  I'm not talking to those of you who will continue to vote "no" until the govt steps in (I realize your elevator stops at "5"). I'm talking to those of you still "on the fence." Personally, I'd rather cut back on Halloween costumes than cut back on the education for our young people. Are our schools worth saving? We all have skin in the game, whether parents, grandparents or homeowners. There is no other "new world" to which we can sail. In an environment of name calling, finger pointing and denial, this is a terribly important vote, not to be skipped or taken lightly. Instead of you paying $200 just so YOUR child can play in a sport, why not have a tax so EVERYONE'S child can participate? Instead of half day kindergarten which messes up the child's day and the working parent's day, why not go back to full day kindergarten?  **Please visit www.golf67.net for further breakdowns, descriptions and explanations of what's at stake. Remember T.E.A.M. (TOGETHER EVERYONE ACHIEVES MORE). Am I angry? No. At 65 years of age I find anger to be a wasted emotion. Disappointed? Embarassed for the villages of MG & Niles?  You betcha. You have another shot folks. Don't blow it this time.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Dan Goldberg October 23, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Two referenda for 67 are on the ballot again even though voters rejected both last time. Perhaps the message will be clearer after this election. If there's a substanially higher NO vote, then the school board should start listening to their constituents and stop trying to raise taxes and learn to live within their means like the rest of us have to do. This applies to D219 as well which had shocking increases in salaries. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and there are many on this site and no doubt on this topic as well. Mr. Posner does not mention who asked him to write a few words about D67 back in March? Was is a parent, teacher, union member or administrator? We'll probably never know. But maybe someone else will contribute more information and a different perspective about why a NO vote really would be in the best interests of the kids instead of the Yes vote for the unions.
Glenn Posner October 23, 2012 at 09:58 PM
And so it begins...Mark, Mark Mark...You are obviously a no vote. There are obviously yes votes out there as well. Much to your chagrin, you negate each other. My focus was on the "undecideds." Those are the responses that would be of interest to us all. For your information, $910,000 in "cuts" were implemented without a yes vote, after the last referendum. What difference does it make who asked me to comment on this important issue? I am my own man, sensed the urgency and did my own "investigation" attending an open house. Again, it is a waste of time to argue with no voters, just as it is to reaffirm yes voters. My words were targeting those "on the fence" to step back and look at the far bigger picture. Instead of mud slinging between yes and no voters which gets no one anywhere, the intent was to have fence sitters take a second look at what's at stake. If I accomplished that, that's all I could ask for.
grandpa October 23, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Nice try Glenn but propaganda is propaganda and the old "it's for thechildren" line has worn very thin. I believe that the taxpayers are not in any mood to increase their tax bite while home vaules are still going downhill and the lions' share of property taxes go to schools. I suspect that although you can fool some of the people some of the time, this time the folks who pay the bills will send the same message they sent in the spring.
Glenn Posner October 23, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Hi Grandpa. Hope all is well. I always enjoy our byplay. Perhaps one day we can have coffee....Then I could learn your real name. Seriously, my under the radar negative, friend, I felt compelled to do research on this issue that effects both villages. I spent 3 hours at the most recent open house (I'm sure I missed you by mere minutes). My suspicions of apathy were confirmed as my blog entry indicated. I reviewed figures, watched slides,took notes and interviewed district officials, including our underpaid Superintendent. What have you done? Seriously, I'm not going to debate no voters to no end. Vent with someone else. Speak by your voting. We'll see what happens on this vote. My words, as I indicated, were directed at the undecided, rather than to those already committed one way or the other. I found it interesting that spending on Halloween costumes for a few hours, one day a year, averages over $1,000 per household in our villages. For a fraction of that, our money, in my humble view, could yield a greater return on investment. Kids are not pawns. They are human beings who depend on adults to do the right thing. The ability to install a fire suppression sprinkler system is not propaganda, but a necessity. Rather than arguing, lets just vote and see what happens.
Matt R October 24, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Anyone that believes the average Morton grove household spends $1000 on Halloween costumes is absolutely out of their mind. This is an average. Now factor in that 2/3's of households probably don't spend a cent and now we are talking 3k. Even a nit wit would know that this data is ridiculous and not quote it. Talk about blind posting. Undecideds need to listen to another source. However, you seem ok with these numbers which may explain your stance.
Glenn Posner October 24, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Let me guess....another "no" vote? Quoting stats from what our own Patch provides is fair. Patch would not deliberately post incorrect info without investigating it fully.That said, are there some households that spend below that figure while others spend above it? Of course. This is called an average. Why not become a blogger yourself? Undecideds have minds of their own. Calling data posted by Patch Editors (and simply quoted by me in another article) "rediculous" is wreckless and rude to the hard working Patch editors, at the very least. Statistics are what they are. Vote as you wish. But 10 yes votes and 10 no votes shouting at each other here, was not the intent.
Matt R October 24, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Ok. If you honestly believe these data I think it is time that you had a tune up. Any other patch readers believe these data for a second? Your saying that MG residents spend 5% of their household income on Halloween costumes. You are the last person that should be explaining the definition of an average. Wacko
Matt R October 24, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Maybe your entire post was supposed to be sarcastic? That would explain it. Or. Maybe you are an evil genius and you actually are anti-referenda. If so, your posting makes sense.
Glenn Posner October 24, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Waco? Kep it civil Matthew. Just go vote and be sure you bring a photo ID. Which costume have you purchased to go trick or treating?
grandpa October 24, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Underpaid superintendant? (You are being satirical here, right?) That comment alone makes the rest of your post suspect. And, oh, by the way, since this is a public forum, you are in no position to determine whether yes voters, no voters or uncommitted voters comment. Your assertion that M.G. residemts and Niles residents spend $1,000 per household on Halloween is ludicrious. According to an industry publication "Foodbeast"; "This year, 7/10 Americans will be celebrating Halloween, and they will, on average, spend nearly $80 bucks in honor of the holiday. Of that spending, which includes costumes, decorations and greeting cards, it’s estimated that $24.25 of that total will go to candy sales.." That's a bit shy of your $1K nes pa? If we can't trust you to get that right, why should we consider any of your other assertions?
Glenn Posner October 24, 2012 at 02:33 AM
Hi Grandpa..back again? Please check it out if you care to. Our Superintendent is the third from the bottom...the third lowest paid in Northern Cook County..I met her and was very impressed. Anyone can comment, Grandpa. I merely indicated my words were directed towards uncommitted rather than refereeing shouting matches betwen yes and no voters which you seem to relish. The $97,000 plus expenditure on Halloween costumes was simply taken from a recent artricle by our trusted Patch staff. That AVERAGES more than $1,000 per household, which dwarfs what yes votes on the far more important referenda asks for. Some spend more, some spend less. The fact that these kinds of dollars, obviously disposable, go towards Halloween spending instead of towards strengthening our schools is telling and sad. I trust our local team at Patch, with their figures, rather than your "FoodBeast " alternative. Again, my intent is not to argue or side with any polarized, committed voters, but to simply attempt to open eyes of any undecided voters. You can thow up Foodbeast, claims of propaganda, claims of overpaid Superintendents to your hearts content. Most minds have already been made up. If you attended one of the open house meetings to learn specific details of the referenda, you would have met our talented Superintendent who would have gladly addressed your concerns. Again, lets be civil. Just vote and we'll move on.
grandpa October 24, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Is "lets be civil" for Glennspeak for "shut up?" I too am commenting directed toward uncommitted voters. Are your taxes too low? Do you live within your means? If hard times come, can you demand more money from your boss just because? I am sure that the "pro-referendum" folks are full of good intentions, but remember what is paved with those.
Glenn Posner October 24, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Grandpa..civil means civil..not "shut up." The boards are monitored. We can all hopefully agree to disagree without name calling and wild accusations. The final Open House is on 10-29-12 @ Hynes Elementary School between 5PM and 8:30PM. I encourage you to attend and speak with the Superindendent herself and ask HER to address your issues rather than sitting in your shorts alleging "propaganda and our education leaders being ovepaid." Please don't use me (as an example) "demanding more money from my boss" when hard times come. I have been self employed ever since I was honorably discharged from the military, after serving 6 years...(3 active and 3 reserve). My clients have been "my boss." If I don't put them first, I'm out of work. We all make choices in life. Some good. Some bad. We enjoy the good, but we must also learn from the bad. Once again, I'm not into arguing with you or anyone. Go to the Open House. Educate yourself. THEN vote. The officials present at the Open House I attended felt it was apathy more than money that resulted in the no vote last time. (That, coupled with the fact that the referenda was not even on some ballots). After spending nearly 3 hours there, studying, listening, watching the messages and realizing only a handful of people showed up, during that entire time, I concur. Apathy indeed. Did you think that a deteriorating school system would increase property values? This is not for us Grandpa. We are to long in tooth. This is about our kids.
grandpa October 24, 2012 at 03:48 PM
There you go again, Glenn; "It's for the kids". That old worn out cliche is overused and patently false. You say you aren't going to argue with me, and then you argue with me. I congratulate you for being a self-employed insurance salesman. I, too, have been self-employed most of my adult life, so I know something about making ends meet, meeting a payroll and picking my way through governmental obstacles to stay in business. We disagree on the cause for the defeat of the referendum in the spring. I contend that folks are just sick and tired of government at all levels, but especially the school boards showing lack of fiscal responsibility. And sometimes, adults need to say no to childish profilgacy by elected bodies and demand accountability. As you are a voice, (some might say a shill), for the pro-referendum position, you have a right to your opinion. As a voice for those who believe that throwing money at a problem we have thrown money at unsuccessfully in the past, I have a right to mine, and I will continue to voice it.
Gina October 24, 2012 at 05:27 PM
I find very hard to believe the average family spends about $1,000 in Morton Grove for Halloween. Especially since we have a very growing Muslim community here in town and they don't celebrate Halloween. So did they come up with $97,000? I was at Party City last night buying a $30.00 costum for my daughter. The place was crowed. The most expensive costum was around $50.00. How they came up with $1,000? As far as salaries for the schools, do we really need a librarian that makes about 128,000 a year and does not work 9 months out 12? Do we need a gym teacher at Golf that makes 110,000 a year? Why do we need 2 gym teachers at golf? and a third one for Hynes? Nothing personal against these people but come on. Why do we need 2 principals for a small district like ours? We just had our property taxes raised last August. Did anyone from patch take a survey as to how many can actualy pay their currect property tax? Why did the board allow the school to get this point? Why didn't the board do something about it before it got so bad. Same board president for a while. She needs to give us some answer.
Glenn Posner October 24, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Hi Gina. You have valid questions and concerns. Please make every effort to attend the final Open House scheduled for October 29 from 5PM to 8:30PM at Hynes Elementary School. Address those issues to the people with answers. Hopefully the Superintendent will be there when you visit to get real time responses to the points you raise. Again, there are two issues to be voted on. I can't believe residents from both villages would vote against installing a fire suppression sprinkler system to protect our children. The board has already made and documented over $910,000 in cuts since the last referenda failed. As for salaries, our Superintendent is the third from the bottom in salaries for our Cook County districts. The $97,000 Halloween expenditure for both villages combined was advanced by Patch in a recent article, after their research. I merely quoted it since both villages combined have less than that number of families. The $1,000 is an average...a high one I agree, but an average. Some will "over participate" in Halloween and some, in your example, will "under participate." Again, the figure given by Patch was an AVERAGE. Personally, I think we could still enjoy Halloween but budget some of that money towards more productive areas...like our schools. If you do attend, seek out Dr Jaime Reilly to respond to your concerns. We are all in this TOGETHER.
Glenn Posner October 24, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Thank you for being civil, Grandpa. Angry...but civil. Please try to attend the final Open House, prior to voting, on October 29 at Hynes Elementary School From 5PM to 8:30PM. Try to seek out Dr. Jaime Reilly and in a civil manner, express your concerns to her. I was more than impressed and began to grasp the severity of the situation. Schools are threatening strikes throughout our state with funding being pulled as it has. Challenges are not just with Golf 67. She will address your concerns I assure you. She is incredibly generous with her time. Shill? I don't make a penny on reminding people what's at stake. Someone has to. If you have a problem with teacher pay that's one vote. But you seriously can't vote against the kids having a fire suppression sprinkler system, can you? As for me, being a successful insurance broker has been my second successful career. I had my own diagnostic imaging service (President of Chicago Ultrasound Society) for over 20 years in my first successful venture. I'm slowing down Grandpa...I'm not young like you anymore.
grandpa October 24, 2012 at 08:55 PM
I am not angry, just adamant, and while I am probably 4 years older than dirt, I would rather wear out than rust out. Threats of strikes are not about children, they are about money. While we have great teachers they are recompensed well for what they do, (in many cases considerably more than the taxpayers who are paying their salaries). Back in the day, we had a fire suppression system when I was in school. It was called a fire hose and the backup to it was called the fire department. Perhaps if the school board would have set their priorities straght in the past we wouldn't be treated to the current "Henny-Penny the sky is falling" routine. If, indeed, a fire suppression system is the number one priority, it is up to the board to figure out what can be eliminated to make that happen. In my case, my tax bite is larger than my principle and interest payment on my house. I am in no position to absorb another increase by the schools or any other governmental entity. For those who believe their taxes are too low, I suggest that there is nothing preventing you from sending in an additional amount to the schools as a donation, (and God bless you if you are in the position to do so). Us old fogeys are basically taxed to death.
Tony P October 27, 2012 at 03:52 AM
Any thinking person who has been near or in a school recently knows the heavy work load, difficult responsibilities, and burdensome mandates that educators must fulfill. No one advocates for teachers, and they can't advocate for themselves, because they are too busy working 10-14 hours days educating our children. And why does a teacher earn a decent wage? Well, years of paying for extremely expensive education in order to be qualified to teach our children must be repaid somehow. If teachers don't earn enough money to pay back their education, then they can't get an education to teach. Or should we have low-budget under-qualified people teaching our kids? Is that the direction we want our society to head? People with vision want high-qualified educators in our schools. And by the way, the high salaries are reserved for those teachers who have been there 25-plus years and have worked their way up the pay scale. It's called "seniority" - ever hear of it? It happens in every field of employment, including education. Or should we just kick out teachers who have been there too long? Is that what we want? We don't like when it happens to us in other fields, why should we accept it in education? I prefer to have teachers with experience. I advise you to see what's going on in schools and observe all that teachers have to do and put up with. You will then see that they earn every penny they make and are in fact underpaid.
Glenn Posner October 27, 2012 at 04:40 AM
Well stated Tony...Good teachers are unsung heroes...All it takes is that one special teacher to "reach" a young person to to extent that "a light goes on" and the child "gets it." The child then wants and craves to learn more as he or she sets out on a path, lit up by the teacher. Those of us fortunate enough to have had such teachers, never forget them and how they helped to shape and impact our lives.


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