I am sitting here disgusted having just been told of the elected officials, appointed administrators and chosen decision making committee members who will NOT be attending the ONLY Community Communication Forum scheduled by the District 15 Board of Education and the Superintendent's Office to discuss the controversial Late Start/Early Release Program proposed for all District 15 grammar and middle schools for next year.
As concerned parents, we have been told that we need to show "overwhelming community opposition" at the Forum on Saturday, January 26th in order to have a voice in this discussion. We have heard overwhelming community opposition, have garnered it (more than 900 community member signatures in a little over a week) and are planning to be available to present it at the time that was scheduled by the Superintendent's Office and Board of Education. We, the parents and stakeholders, will be present even though the Community Communication Forum was scheduled at a time on Saturday morning when our children play their Park District basketball and soccer league games.
What is absolutely disgraceful is the fact that I have just been told that we can expect only 2 of the 6 people on the decisionmaking committee for this change to attend Saturday's meeting. These two representative attendees will be from the Superintendent's Office - Superintendent Scott Thompson and Deputy Superintendent James Garwood. The other 4 representatives - Northwest Suburban Council PTA President Julie O'Hara, Lisa Nuss CTC Teachers Union President, Anne Bridges CTC Teachers Union Executive Director and Mary Beth Landerman CTC Teachers Union Exec Board Member - do not plan on attending.
What is the point of communicating the thoughts and opinions of the community to a committee entrusted with making the decision that is best for our children and families if not even half of them bother to show up to listen? Will these people truly represent what we think and the current conversation or have they already decided what they are going to do? Do our reasonable feedback and opinions not matter?
In addition, only three of the seven members of our Board of Education intend to come to the meeting they are hosting. Did we not elect these people to the Board of Education to represent us, the taxpayers of District 15? How can seven members of OUR Board of Education represent US if they do not come and listen to us tell them what we think at the Community Communication Forum that they scheduled? This Community Communication Forum was suggested under the pretext that they are interested in having the community communicate directly with them and tell them what we think as we listen to what they think.
On top of all this, the very small group of us making the effort to get the word out has been stunned at the lack of knowledge on the street about this change; a change that has an incredible impact on the families in our community. We feel that the effort at communicating the change has been half baked at best and has completely missed a large portion of our demographic that lacks daily email contact. We feel, in speaking directly with many teachers in our District, that they also feel as though this potential change for them has not been well communicated and they do not understand the impact of the change or why there is such resistance by the Superintendent's Office and the CTC to consider the impact on the community.
Am I disgusted? Yes, I am. I ask all people indicated above: Who do you represent? Do you feel that you are representing them well? Did we not elect you to do a job? Can you show up to do it? We, the working parents, are still going to have to show up to do our jobs whether you decide Friday afternoon, Monday afternoon, Monday morning, Wednesday afternoon or Wednesday morning. You are all expecting us to figure out a way to still show up every single week after you make a choice that does not work for us. CAN YOU JUST SHOW UP ONE TIME?
Lisa Beth Szczupaj
District 15 Resident & Taxpayer
Editor's note: Letters to the Editor are presented as they are originally submitted by our readers. Palatine Patch neither agrees nor disagrees with the opinions presented.