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School Board QuickStory: Hard Words Over Turf, Taxes

In a board meeting punctuated by verbal barbs, Geneva School District 304 OK's $1.1 million bid for Burgess Field improvements and forms a three-member Finance Committee.

The Geneva School District 304 Board of Education approved a $1.1 million bid to build of a turf field and formed a Finance Committee that will hold meetings open to the public—two long-discussed actions that might have been greeted with celebration or applause at other times in Geneva School Board history.

But drowning out any happy sound Monday night was an ongoing war of words between members of the Geneva TaxFACTS group and the Board of Education.

Sandy Ellis, 209 Peyton St., excoriated School Board member Matt Henry for comments she said he made at the end of a meeting two weeks ago. According to Ellis, Henry said "it is arrogant to move into a house you can't afford" and made reference to "folks who had overextended themselves."

"I am offended," she said. Ellis said it was past decisions by the School Board, not the private sector, that have made it more difficult for people to afford living in Geneva.

"This is what Mr. Henry didn’t say," she added. "Not one of you have publicly acknowledged that you as a board blew it."

Later in the meeting, board member Mary Stith took issue to references made by TaxFACTS leader Bob McQuillan and other speakers during the comments period Monday night. McQuillan cited what he called "a dark cloud" hanging over the process of approving the turf-field construction.

"I’m extremely offended when people suggest that," Stith said. "It’s not honest, and it’s not fact-based. I challenge anyone who thinks we are doing illegal activities to follow it through ... I wouldn’t want a dishonest board, either."

McQuillan noted that District 304 Superintendent Kent Mutchler thanked numerous people for their roles in bringing about the turf-field improvements, including staff members, members of the Friends of Burgess Field group and an anonymous donor who contributed $500,000 toward the project.

"I am not against the turf field," McQuillan said. "I am against the process. Everyone was thanked, except the group that’s going to pay more than 50 percent of the cost. I think we all know who that is—it’s the taxpayers."

Patch will have followup stories on the Burgess Field project and other School Board action later this week.

Thomas February 15, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Mr. Drendel, How nice of you to absolve the Geneva teachers of all responsibilty for their students' outcomes. Based on your logic if academic success is based purely on demographics then the oposite must be true that academic failure must be poor demographics as well? My guess is if test scores in the district were to fall your finger would quickly point to the teachers and not the parents or students as the cause.
Lou B. February 15, 2012 at 05:11 AM
"Based on your logic if academic success is based purely on demographics then the oposite must be true that academic failure must be poor demographics as well? " In general, your statement is pretty much correct. I would restate as follows: "Academic success exhibits a strong correlation to community demographics."
Lou B. February 15, 2012 at 05:25 AM
Mr. Rogers, First, to fan the flames, let me state that I never met a Greek named "Mr.Rogers", but anyhow, it is factual and can't be denied that the bloated, corrupt public sector, and accommodating private sector in Greece is a textbook example of failed sovereign fiscal management. If Greece isn't kicked out of the EU in 2012 it will come as a surprise to many. Therein lies a valid parallel to the management of Geneva taxpayer assets by the current members of the Geneva School Board and their cronies in the (NEA-IEA-GEA) union based school system in general. And if you disagree sir, I would like to offer you some Greek General Obligation Bonds... currently paying 35%!
Political PR Machine February 15, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Comparing Greece's woes to Geneva's decision to invest in a turf field is like comparing World Champions to the Cubs...they have nothing in common... the Greeks never had turf, and now look what happened to them...if we don't want to resemble the Greeks, lets start where they blew it...Hercules would've done better on Turf. Without turf, they became socialistic philosophers that proved they existed. Whoopdy doo.
Paul Rogers February 16, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Mr. Drendel: I prefer to douse flames, not fan them, but maybe that's just me. You should, however, be careful when you play with fire. I am hardly surprised you've never met a Greek named "Rogers," but you fail to consider some obvious explanations: (1) I'm not 100% Greek; (2) I was adopted; (3) my father -- before I was born and for his own reasons -- changed his name; (4) my paternal grandfather's Greek name was "Regas," but when he came through Ellis Island, it was misrecorded as "Rogers." One of those explanations is true. I took offense mainly because you used "Greek" as a generic epithet and continue to do so in your response. You cannot judge all Greeks based on mistakes made by some Greeks who hold political and economic power. Do you really think that is fair? Would it be fair to judge you as an "Illinoisan" simply because, by your own admission, our politicians leave much to be desired? Do you really think that using ad hominem arguments and stereotypes about unions/teachers help persuade those who don't already agree with you? By the way, I am not a teacher, have no relatives who are teachers, do not belong to a union, and have no kids in the Geneva public schools. I am a Geneva homeowner who cares about the quality/efficiency of our school system, both for civic and economic reasons, and who values civil discourse. The least we owe our kids is to set a good example by avoiding name-calling, inflammatory rhetoric, etc.

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