I am writing to express my concern regarding the ability of District 86 to continue to offer an outstanding educational opportunity to its students, especially in the longer term, as I believe many recent decisions are short-sighted.
I am especially concerned about the district’s relationship with its teachers and its ability to retain and attract outstanding educators. In my opinion, the current board tone is adversarial and condescending toward teachers, and in my dealings with teachers I find that morale is low. The board wants to be conservative in negotiations, but there is no reason to create an atmosphere where an outstanding teaching staff feels unappreciated and demoralized.
Another example of the short-sighted approach is that job openings, for the most part, have not yet been filled. The result of this delay is to miss out on the best teacher candidates.
Finally, although I commend the current board for its efforts to be frugal and improve business practices, it approved a 0 percent levy increase. Due to aging facilities, uncertainty regarding Illinois’s financial situation, soaring health care costs, and pension funding issues, this is too low. I believe that property values are closely tied to school quality and reputation. Short-term tactics to save money in the district without considering long-term implications are not in the best interest of students or taxpayers.