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  1. Mr. Sachs and Mr. Marcusson are not simply two district residents having a conversation. Mr. Sachs is petitioning his government. Mr. Marcusson is government.

    When a taxpayer questions, with obvious sincerity, specific points in the behavior of a unit of government on the eve of an election, he is due empathetic understanding, or at least respect. Instead, the school board president grandly says, “every one of them is untrue.” By the same numbers:

    1..I have attended meetings where public comment was cancelled before everyone was heard and other residents were frustrated that they had not known about the event. This is a legitimate gripe and it is not addressed by hiding behind the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

    2..The hiring process was delegated to a committee of teachers – in effect, they hired their own boss. Given the related controversy, the President’s claim of “common practices” is inadequate.

    3..Mr. Sachs said he received no answer to a written query. That is a serious charge but instead of investigating, Mr. Marcusson dismisses it saying that he personally is not aware of it. “Where is accountability?” Mr. Sachs asks and Mr. Marcusson simply washes his hands of the matter, proving Mr. Sachs point.

    4..Mr. Sachs asks about a certain “public meeting,” apparently the same “open meeting” mentioned in his first point, and again complains that he has received no reply. Mr. Marcusson interprets the question in a way that allows him to dodge it.

    5..The fifth point is on the minds of every supporter of the Final Four and ought to be of premier concern for the school board President. Again Mr. Marcusson ignores the taxpayer’s specific concerns and responds with broad reassurances.

    One point is particularly egregious. The school board President says that we have “the lowest school tax rate in Lake County.” Assuming he understands where the school tax rate comes from, he knows that is a reflection of property values and not anything that Mr. Marcusson’s board has done at the high school. If I take him at his word, he seems to be saying, “We are rich so we don’t have to be efficient.”

    6..I don’t think Mr. Sachs is using the word “fraud” in the legal sense and it is disingenuous of Mr. Marcusson to pretend that he is. If Mr. Marcusson does not know what the “two major dollar” events are, he should have endeavored to understand the question before claiming that published financial statements are somehow responsive.

    7..The teachers’ strike in September, 2012 was very significant and Mr. Sachs is quite right to ask about it. Mr. Marcusson squandered an opportunity to take some real credit for the implementation of Block Scheduling. Instead he uncharitably misconstrues Mr. Sachs’ “just wait” conclusion.

    The only legitimate stakeholders of LFHS are the ones empowered to vote in the election of the school board. The caucus system has imbued Mr. Marcusson with a sense of entitlement. That is why the Final Four have mounted this challenge.

  2. I’m the president of the LFHS District 115 Board of Education and I feel compelled to respond to the points in this letter as every one of them is untrue. Here are the facts:

    1. Public participation is held every board meeting and listed in the monthly agenda. All meeting agendas, board packets, minutes and videos are posted on the public website. All board members’ and administrators’ emails and contact information are available to residents for inquiries.

    2. Common North Shore school recruiting and hiring practices are followed by the Board of Education and administration for all hiring.

    3. I’ve never met Mr. Sachs and am not aware of any communication from Mr. Sachs. We supply factual information to any resident when contacted.

    4. The district mission, vision, strategic plan and milestones are posted on the district’s website and are frequently discussed at public board and stakeholder meetings.

    5. Lake Forest High School is consistently rated as one of the top schools in the state as well as the country in a variety of metrics that include academic and financial strength. We have a balanced budget, AAA bond rating and the lowest school tax rate in Lake County. And we don’t “farm out” students. Ever.

    6. You claim two expense account frauds in the last 10 years. We have 25+ years of experience at the district level and have no evidence of expense account fraud at any level, including top administrative levels. And we have very strong internal controls. Audited district financial statements are available to the public for their review. Here’s the web site that one can use to view recent financial statements. http://www.lakeforestschools.org/search-results?q=financial. Readers can look for themselves. All annual financial statements as presented were issued with an unqualified opinion by an independent public accounting firm.

    7. There has been one teacher strike in the history of the high school. If Mr. Sachs follows school business, he knows this. The end result was a contract that was favorable to taxpayers yet kept our teachers competitive. And we don’t have to wait for another contract negotiation. We jointly signed a four year teacher contract in 2015.

    Mr. Sachs, my contact information is on http://www.lfhs.org. A lot of your questions and statements are misleading and rhetorical. If you’re interested, I’d like to meet face to face with you before the election so you have your facts straight. Please contact me directly.

    Reese Marcusson
    LFHS District 115 Board President

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