District 86 Board member asked to leave news conference

Kay Gallo | Sun-Times Media file photo
Kay Gallo | Sun-Times Media file photo

Hinsdale High School District 86 officials said district residents will receive a mailing this week with a table comparing average salaries in District 86 to other high schools. On the chart, only New Trier High School District 203 had a higher average salary in 2006 than District 86’s average of $105,195.

The mailing includes other information, such as a chart listing about 10 different contract issues and each side’s proposal.

“The community needs to be aware of the status of negotiations and the district’s latest offer,” School Board President Richard Skoda said.

However, members of the general public were not allowed to attend a news conference at the administrative center Monday morning.

Corcoran said they were trying a news conference as a means of communicating with all reporters at the same time in the most efficient manner. Reporters were able to ask as many questions as they wanted.

Board member Kay Gallo wanted to attend as a member of the audience, but Skoda and Board member Edward Corcoran took her aside before the briefing began.

She would be the third School Board member present, which would form a quorum, and thus necessitate the meeting be open to the public and follow the requirements of the Open Meetings Act.

Skoda told Gallo if she stayed, they would cancel the news conference. Gallo chose to leave.

After the conference, she said, she left because she believed if the meeting was canceled due to her presence, “certain board members would further smear my reputation.”

Gallo said, once again, the entire board was not advised of the decisions and plans of the majority.

She did not know the district had scheduled a news conference until someone called her and asked where the news conference would be held.

Gallo believes having a restricted news conference was a way to avoid public comments. Although public remarks would have extended the length of the press conference, “We are a government body,” Gallo said. “You have to take the bitter with the sour.”

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