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  1. The statements in Carla’s letter are factual, and its overall message is completely accurate. Examples of the Board’s free-spending hypocrisy exceed those cited above. Indeed, the Board’s choice to go ahead with a “middle school philosophy” for Edgewood does not merely cost $700,000; it costs $700K per year! Year after year. The time-value of that money runs to the millions and millions of dollars. The Board opted to prioritize this spending without any community input. Furthermore, even where the Board’s budget has shown an overall surplus, this only masks Board waste. A striking illustration: Despite the Board’s knowledge that the community opposed a middle school campus 2:1 about a year before the referendum (thanks to a survey), they went forward in their plans with architect Nagle Hartray. In the one category of spending where the District saw a deficit in FY16, Nagle Hartray expenditures constituted 51% of it.

  2. Thank you, Ms. Arnell for writing what I was thinking. As a lifelong Highland Park resident, I too would urge the Board of Education to slow down the Budget Reduction Three Plan. My children attend Oak Terrace and Northwood. While they won’t be affected by BDR3, I am concerned for the other children in Highland Park, particularly all the children who will be crowding Indian Trail Elementary and Edgewood Middle School. The Board of Education must slow down or stop for two years. They owe it to all of Highland Park. We are a commUNITY!

  3. Readers of this opinion piece should know that Ms. Arnell has been vocal critic of everything the BOE and administration has recommended over the past couple of years and has been extremely vocal in obstructing anything that may move our district forward. There are numerous inaccuracies included in her letter. Ms Arnell is also very involved in the CARE organization that has also been against anything and everything the past couple of years.

    • Thank goodness Carla & CARE stood up to the school board & administration and I’m proud to stand with them. Since you’re a “facts” person, the accurate fact of the matter is that 68% of the voters from all demographics agreed with her in defeating the bloated & obscene referendum that would have destroyed the fabric of our community on so many levels for generations. That’s the fact that counts Jack. You can call it obstruction – I call it the overwhelming will of the voters and thank goodness we had the opportunity. Carla also has stood up to the last minute & hastily thrown together, vindictive & destructive BDR3 plan – which is now being questioned and is falling apart on so many levels as well. This plan is more reviled than the referendum. Don’t believe me? Just go see the tone of discussions in the last few days on the 112 Sounding Board. And soon 3-4 members of the school board will be gone in April.

    • Thanks, Mr. Brooks. It is customary for this commenter to try to dismiss criticism of the Board simply by calling it “inaccurate” or lacking in fact, though he never adduces any facts to the contrary. He must believe that simply calling something inaccurate makes it so. Anyone who has carefully followed recent board meetings knows just how full of facts this letter is. As for the suggestion that I have been a critic of everything the Board has recommended in the last few years, there he himself falls into inaccuracy. To the contrary, both publicly and privately I have praised the words and work of board members Karla Livney and Eric Ephraim, who, with integrity and wisdom, recommended that fellow board members slow down, take more time to develop a better plan for the coming year, and compromise with the community to develop a revised BDR3 that would cause less disruption for our children and community. Unfortunately, their wisdom has gone unheeded by the board majority: Cohn, Mordini, Ross, and Denham. Clearly, this commenter has not been paying attention to board meetings in the last year if he is still referring to the Board of Education as if it had a single, unified perspective, and clearly he has his facts wrong if he is unaware of my support for Livney’s and Ephraim’s views on BDR3.

  4. Carla is on the money as usual. The current school board is self righteous, arrogant, out of touch and wasteful of taxpayer money.

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