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Letter to the Editor: D15 Community Communication Forum

Palatine resident and District 15 parent, Lisa Beth Szczupaj expresses feelings about representation from the school district at the forum scheduled for Saturday, January 26.

I am sitting here disgusted having just been told of the elected officials, appointed administrators and chosen decision making committee members who will NOT be attending the ONLY Community Communication Forum scheduled by the District 15 Board of Education and the Superintendent's Office to discuss the controversial Late Start/Early Release Program proposed for all District 15 grammar and middle schools for next year.   

As concerned parents, we have been told that we need to show "overwhelming community opposition" at the Forum on Saturday, January 26th in order to have a voice in this discussion.  We have heard overwhelming community opposition, have garnered it (more than 900 community member signatures in a little over a week) and are planning to be available to present it at the time that was scheduled by the Superintendent's Office and Board of Education. We, the parents and stakeholders, will be present even though the Community Communication Forum was scheduled at a time on Saturday morning when our children play their Park District basketball and soccer league games. 

What is absolutely disgraceful is the fact that I have just been told that we can expect only 2 of the 6 people on the decisionmaking committee for this change to attend Saturday's meeting.  These two representative attendees will be from the Superintendent's Office - Superintendent Scott Thompson and Deputy Superintendent James Garwood.  The other 4 representatives - Northwest Suburban Council PTA President Julie O'Hara, Lisa Nuss CTC Teachers Union President, Anne Bridges CTC Teachers Union Executive Director and Mary Beth Landerman CTC Teachers Union Exec Board Member - do not plan on attending.

What is the point of communicating the thoughts and opinions of the community to a committee entrusted with making the decision that is best for our children and families if not even half of them bother to show up to listen? Will these people truly represent what we think and the current conversation or have they already decided what they are going to do?  Do our reasonable feedback and opinions not matter?   

In addition, only three of the seven members of our Board of Education intend to come to the meeting they are hosting. Did we not elect these people to the Board of Education to represent us, the taxpayers of District 15?  How can seven members of OUR Board of Education represent US if they do not come and listen to us tell them what we think at the Community Communication Forum that they scheduled?  This Community Communication Forum was suggested under the pretext that they are interested in having the community communicate directly with them and tell them what we think as we listen to what they think. 

On top of all this, the very small group of us making the effort to get the word out has been stunned at the lack of knowledge on the street about this change; a change that has an incredible impact on the families in our community.  We feel that the effort at communicating the change has been half baked at best and has completely missed a large portion of our demographic that lacks daily email contact.  We feel, in speaking directly with many teachers in our District, that they also feel as though this potential change for them has not been well communicated and they do not understand the impact of the change or why there is such resistance by the Superintendent's Office and the CTC to consider the impact on the community.

Am I disgusted?  Yes, I am.  I ask all people indicated above:  Who do you represent?  Do you feel that you are representing them well?  Did we not elect you to do a job?  Can you show up to do it?  We, the working parents, are still going to have to show up to do our jobs whether you decide Friday afternoon, Monday afternoon, Monday morning, Wednesday afternoon or Wednesday morning.  You are all expecting us to figure out a way to still show up every single week after you make a choice that does not work for us.  CAN YOU JUST SHOW UP ONE TIME? 

Lisa Beth Szczupaj 
District 15 Resident & Taxpayer 
Palatine, Illinois   

Editor's note: Letters to the Editor are presented as they are originally submitted by our readers. Palatine Patch neither agrees nor disagrees with the opinions presented. 

Abdul Javid January 28, 2013 at 02:19 PM
I attended forum..it was great discussion from different perspectives and couple of feedback from non D15 school. Contracts should avoid ambiguities if possible. Overwhelming opposition clause allowed this debate. Am sure it stated there because negotiations anticipated this. All of us respect and care about our teachers..their growth is our children growth. First thing i read on Friday in my private email is email update from 7th grade teacher.
Susan E. Gould January 29, 2013 at 02:31 PM
Today's Tribune has an article. Lisa Nuss (CTC) has finally emerged and issued comments. She is now defining the contract language which states "overwhelming opposition" to be (in her words) "extreme" opposition. She states that early release is a safety issue - but what about late start safety issues? She also states "we knew there would be scheduling issues for parents.... " Lisa Nuss has spoken. It shall be what the CTC union leaders demand, too bad for parents, families and children.
Bucephalus January 29, 2013 at 05:43 PM
LS made a very telling comment in that same article, which BPA kindly ignored. "In the big picture, it should be what's best for (the children) and what's best for them is what's best for their families." In this regard, what's best for the children is not what's best for their families. My taxes are going to the school district to provide the best education possible, not daycare. I want my money used well and appropriately and that means I want the kids to learn and receive a good education. I'll support whatever means achieve that end. What's in the best interest of the family is up to the family. What's in the best interest of education is up to the schools. I don't want the schools telling families what's best for them and I don't want families telling schools what's best for education.
Maryb January 31, 2013 at 02:46 AM
There is a school board election approaching. Each of the candidates should explain his/her view on the difference between "overwhelming" and "extreme".
Abdul Javid February 01, 2013 at 03:28 AM
Hi Maryb and all, Am one of the 9 candidate for April school board elections, i have been in touch with this issue, for me both overwhelming and extreme is same and vague , a poor choice of clause for a contract. If I was sitting in there, i would have suggested some quanitfialbe statements, like 60% of registered parents who participate in written survey or 70% oppose by online survey or a statement like, Committe should draft a addendum to the contract on guidelines on interpreting the "overwhelming" clause. our time having clarity on this, and I intend to work on avoiding to getting into these type of siuations. Both me and my wife signed Lisa's petition for Friday, we love and respect the teachers of our childer in 3rd and 7th grade, they are awesome. But what is vague is vague and community, teachers, administration coming together to solve is nothing wrong. Hope my position is clear on this. Thanks for asking. Abdul Javid

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