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  1. Transparent

    The Final 4 have put forth a fully transparent campaign. Our bios and stance on the issues have been available to the voting public since January (lfhs4.com). We routinely answer all inquiries and are happy to speak with voters as we walk our neighborhoods.

    Informed

    We have informed the public about profligate spending and risky educational experiments (like removing academic tracks–something we were promised wouldn’t happen). We have brought to light the fact that LFHS has three times the rate of administration as New Trier, over 60% more administrators per pupil than Stevenson, and over double the state average. We have shown educational spend is 55 cents out of every tax dollar spent, the lowest of ten peer districts. We’ve shown some egregious examples of non-instructional spend, like the $35,000 trip to New York for which no work product was produced, pursuant to a FOIA. We have pledged to reverse downward trending academic indicators, put a lid on non-instructional spending, and actually listen to parents and taxpayers–not treat them as irrelevant or a perpetual ATM machine.

    Respectful

    We walked our precincts with a team of volunteers gathering three times the signatures to get on the ballot, unlike the Caucus candidates who merely circulated their petitions at a few Caucus meetings. We talk to parents. We talk to taxpayers. We don’t sit in a room at Gorton and talk to ourselves. We don’t need to be “vetted” by an infirm, anachronistic and increasingly irrelevant (sadly) institution like the Caucus.

    Caucus “vetting” meaningless

    In the meantime, the Caucus-endorsed candidates want you to vote for them simply because they are Caucus-endorsed candidates, as if that means anything. We know it means nothing because one of their candidates is an owner in a company which has had a major, no-bid contract with LFHS for the past six years, with the current contract running through July 2017. Despite this fatal conflict of interest, other “Caucus-endorsed” candidates–the incumbent Board members who voted on these contracts–welcomed him onto their slate with open arms. The Board owes a legal, fiduciary duty to District residents. This conflict is in direct conflict with that duty. So the Caucus endorsement means nothing.

    Principled disagreement

    Finally, as for the continuing “racist” meme that a small toxic minority in our community continue to advance, apparently hoping to turn a lie into a truth by mere repetition, thereby influencing this election, I recommend the following links to refresh the recollections of those who would put such an ugly label on our beautiful neighbors who have, like I, principled disagreements with the status quo: standing room only crowds of hundreds and an online petition garnering over 750 signatures in a matter of days protesting the removal of academic tracks from LFHS were ignored by the current Administration and Board.

    http://jwcdaily.com/2015/05/26/lfhs-extends-principal-search/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWZA23zrugs

    http://jwcdaily.com/2015/05/25/lfhs-a-major-cultural-shift-in-prerequisites/

    https://www.change.org/p/lake-forest-board-of-education-to-remove-chala-holland-from-the-principal-candidate-pool-based-on-her-view-on-anti-tracking

    • Ms. Neubauer,

      You and the least four candidates have indicated a strong political bias in what should be a non-partisan process. You have shown that bias via:
      + Accepting contributions directly from those with political bias
      + Focusing primarily on the commercial aspects of education
      + Working with a strongly politically biased Chief Campaign Strategist

      The caucus endorsed candidates continue to talk about the well-being of the students and the students needs as their primary concern while you and your team (primarily you) continue to push invalid interpretations about the taxpayers value proposition/return on investment and impacts on property valuation. You and your team of candidates appear to be playing a traditional game of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. You are pleading your case using many of the same tactics employed in the most recent presidential campaign, and it is not appreciated in a community election.

      With full disclosure, I would assume that you and I are on opposite ends of the political spectrum, and I deeply respect your right to hold those beliefs and act on those beliefs, however different from mine they are. I also know that I am on the opposite end of the political spectrum from even some of the caucus candidates, but I have witnessed them publicly setting aside those personal self-interests for the best interests of the students. The point here is that I understand the importance of the caucus endorsed candidates role, the caucus vetting, and the incumbents experience as it relates to the students and with the students as the primary concern. You appear to be more concerned with:
      + antagonizing people into falsely believing they are being taken advantage of (Fear)
      + contriving situations that question the vetting process (Uncertainty)
      + using a specifically selective window on statistics to question the incumbents progress (Doubt)

      I hope the majority of voters will see through this political maneuvering and make a decision to support the first four like I have.

      A bit of advice to you and your team as well, tell the voting body what you intend to do to help the students – not just the taxpayers. This process would be so much more palatable and would give you and your team much more credibility and consideration if both groups were talking about the students. If anything your talking points have made this election more contentious as a referendum on which is more important – the children or the taxpayers. I hope amongst all hope that is not a question this community disagrees on.

      Respectfully disagreeing,

      Brian Martin

      • Another post very long on dark innuendo but short on substance. I have to say my favorite part was this:

        “+ Accepting contributions directly from those with political bias”

        That was worth a good chuckle, and this process definitely needed some comic relief. So thanks. I had no idea there were laws against accepting donations from people with ideas of their own.

        Brian, you admitted that you have political bias yourself. Did you donate to the Caucus campaign or did you recuse yourself? Or perhaps “political bias” is defined as anyone who disagrees with Brian.

        Have you verified that all donors to the Caucus campaign are politically neutral, completely free from any thought, idea, or motivation which might taint their donation? Someone should get right on that.

        Or maybe we should worry about how our money is being spent, whether or not the latest teaching fad is working, whether or not our children are getting into the college of their choice, whether or not our mental health policies are first rate, and whether or not the State pension burden will be dropped on our heads.

        Oops, did I just reveal a political bias? I guess that excludes me from participating in the process… along with everyone else in the town.

        • Your sarcasm not withstanding, let me enlighten you as to the political bias in question. I will also be very explicit so that you don’t find yourself trying to use doubt indicating innuendo – I make no insinuations whatsover. I am making claims based on facts.

          First, your response does point out one unclear point where my wording should have been more discrete: partisan bias, not political bias.

          + The context of this conversation, per the original editorial, was Tom Mannix.

          + Tom Mannix only investment in this race – as he has no children in the schools, nor is he a taxpayer in the area – is to drive a political bias.

          + I did donate, in the form of my time and in-kind support for Right Track LFHS.

          + I have personally witnessed donations being given from active supporters of all partisan political sides.

          The fiscal performance and bond rating of D115 show that the current board are being good stewards. All available data shows that the ‘latest fads’ as you sarcastically disrespect are in fact working (unless you twist the data as the Neubauer party et. al. continue to do).

          Your final statement about ‘maybe we should worry…’ makes my point more clearly than ever – your concerns are primarily with your money. Sir, it is good to know where your priorities lie, I thank you for your clarity, and only wish the students were your primary concern.

          Respectfully

          -brian

          • In 2015 LFHS spent $36,582 per student (from the Illinois Report Card site), and that doesn’t count the pension payments paid at the State level which could be coming back to our local budget very soon. We could all send our kids to a top flight East Coast boarding school for that amount of money, and pocket some change in the process. It seems the “money’s no object” attitude of the Board has gotten out of control. Patrick Marshall of the Final Four has ideas about where money can be saved. I’m sure he would be glad to share them.

            It costs $383,000 to put a child through school in Lake Forest. Someone should be worried about this.

            One thing is for sure, it’s time we had a new set of eyes on this issue.

            • What are your ideas, Patrick Marshall? Why haven’t we heard about them in any of the Final Four’s communications?

  2. Fascinating stuff Sue. Very ominous, but are there any accusations of wrong doing in there? I could not find any. You’re admitting the Caucus supporters can’t find any scandals to throw at the Final Four, so you’re resorting to conspiracy theories to smear them. The Final Four are not conspiring to take over the board. It’s called a “team effort” by a group of people exercising their right to participate in the democratic process… and it’s about time the Caucus faced a team capable of fighting back against their tactics. The Caucus claims to be the protectors of all that is good and wholesome in the town, but look at how they behave when challenged. I ask the town to consider how you would be treated by these people if you approached the Board with a disagreement on one of their policies. Would they listen to you and try to include you in the process of educating your children? Would they consider compromise? Or would they be plotting ways to destroy your reputation to force you into silence?

    • Gary, this opinion was in no way influenced by the Caucus or their endorsed candidates. It’s my own opinion and findings from research prompted by curiosity about the Final Four’s motives and ongoing smear campaign of the Caucus candidates, current Board and administration, and high school students’ performance. The Forest Park Review editorial, written by a highly respected award-winning investigative reporter, discusses Tom Mannix’s questionable influence in Forest Park elections while serving as Forest Park Commissioner. My letter includes direct quotes based on the editor’s investigative reporting. The Board members are our elected representatives, and they and the school do seek parental input through surveys and meetings.

      In addition, the current Board frequently disagrees on issues and reaches compromises through respectful discussions. Unlike the Caucus candidates, the Final Four have been relentlessly using misleading statistics, statements, and smear tactics throughout their campaign.

      I find the Caucus candidates much more trustworthy and independent and strongly support Tom Nemickas, Sally Davis, Ted Moorman, and David Lane.

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