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Letter to the Editor: District 15 Schedule Changes

Palatine resident and District 15 parent of two, Lisa Beth Szczupaj writes about the proposed "Wednesday Late Start Program" and resulting communication and activities in opposition of the idea.

I would like to take a moment to keep you up to date as to the activity in District 15 in regard to the proposed "Wednesday Late Start Program".  

A number of local parents have commenced a call and letter writing campaign on this topic.  Many parents are quite upset about this and feel that Scott Thompson has not represented the parents and children in this issue but has simply chosen the easy route in doing whatever the teachers' union wanted with no input from stakeholders or communication as to the motivation behind the decision.  

Following repeated requests for an opportunity to voice our concerns, Mr. Thompson has agreed to host an open discussion on this topic on Saturday the 26th of January from 9 - 11 AM in the Board Room at Sundling.  The volume of people in attendance will certainly determine whether the voice of the parents and children in our school district are taken into consideration. Mr. Thompson has also preliminarily indicated a willingness to conduct a survey prior to that date to hear opinions on the matter.   

The parents with whom I have been communicating understand that an agreement has already been made to grant this concession. We are asking that the proposed late start be modified due to community opposition. The community proposes that the time be granted as an early dismissal of students on Friday afternoon as this will have a lesser and more controllable impact on working parents in District 15, will upset the weekly schedule of the children to a lesser degree and is more amenable to at home parents.   

A letter was sent to Superintendent Scott Thompson, Deputy Superintendent James Garwood, North Suburban Council PTA President Julie O'Hara and all members of the District 15 School Board.  Contact information for CTC Teachers Union Preseident Lisa Nuss and Executive Director Anne Bridges has been unavailable. We understand we cannot stop this from happening but we can certainly join together to leverage that the agreed upon day be changed from Wednesday to Friday and the late start be an early dismissal. 

Lisa Beth Szczupaj 
Palatine Taxpayer & Mother of Two 

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. 

LH January 08, 2013 at 01:29 PM
Lisa, have you read the comments under the January 2rd article? This issues should have been brought to the taxpayers prior to any changes to the contract and done at the expense of our children (or parents) This would not be even open for debate in any company, its bad business, its bad for our kids. We need to move ahead and not backwards for kids education. Yes, shame on Thompson he brought this mess to our schools while other lesser districts are demanding more we are demanding less and our kids are paying the price.
G January 08, 2013 at 02:52 PM
This is an excellent development! Way to go, to all the parents in the community who spoke out about a change that does not work for pretty much anyone involved in this situation. Lisa, great letter!! Hopefully Mr. Thompson will understand the severity that a schedule change impact can have on students and parents in the district and realize that this has to be a community decision, not a top-down mandate.
CaB January 08, 2013 at 03:56 PM
I think the idea of providing specific, built-in time for teacher development is awesome! First, the teachers want to be more consistent across the board. Great! Second, the teachers want to learn and grow, which will allow them to be more proactive in teaching. Third, my kids have substitute teachers much too often because their teachers have training and development programs to attend. This would help to alleviate the problem. The only issue that I see is that parents weren't involved in the planning enough. I appreciate Lisa Beth Szczupaj's initiative and tone. There is no reason to get irate and angry. Mr Thompson has been very open to input from all sides and has expressed willingness to listen and adjust. Go to the meeting and hear all sides before making a final decision.
james urban January 08, 2013 at 05:49 PM
our schools in Illinois do not ask the taxpayers who pay their salaries anything. They do what they want and give to craps about what us Taxpayers say. I am not in your district but this crap goes on all the time without TAXPAYERS being thought about. my district D230 made a decision that we will have to pay for children from outside our boundry line can go to out high school because enrollment is down. Maybe the enrollment is down because not only do we have to work and provide for our families and can't afford to have many children anymore but also we have to pay for the OUTRAGEOUS SALARIES that the teachers demand every 4 years when they ask for a raise and get it because no one can say no anymore. BOARD ELECTIONS come up in april. Take a look at all your board members, they are backed by the IEA, which is the teachers union, and until you get some REAL TAXPAYERS on these boards you will continue to get your school system run by these same hoodlums that act as though they are for you when they are not. Its a broken system people of Illinois. If springfield has its way, the pension mess is coming to your district, and these overpaid people will be in charge of taxing you to death just so thwey can keep their BLOATED pensions. You think tyour real estate taxes are high now, they will be 20x higheronce these people get control.
Parent January 08, 2013 at 06:31 PM
Will parents get a letter about the January 26th meeting? I do not see this information posted on the district website, which makes me wonder if they are trying to keep it a secret. I hope Thompson does have the best interests of everyone in mind, but the evidence has not shown that to be true thus far. It is, absolutely, wonderful to have additional professional development. But why was this pushed through without parent input as to what the best structure would be? We were surveyed about the 2013-14 start date, but not this? I contacted Thompson earlier in 2012, when I first heard about the possibility of this change. I never received word back. Now the burden of proof is on him to show that he actually has our families' best interests at heart. Please attend on January 26th to show the district that while we support professional development, we insist it be done with minimal impact to working families.
purple2013 January 08, 2013 at 11:07 PM
Thank for this letter Lisa - I have been email and making sure everyone I know is aware and encourage them to write Mr. Thompson directly voicing thier concerns. I drafted a letter to him myself noting concerns, drawback and impact to my family and the community, yet never heard back. I will continue to spread the word about the January 26th meeting. People must be there to support the families on thisDistrict. It's our kid education, not a contact! This is a huge burden on families, there has to be a better option.
purple2013 January 08, 2013 at 11:10 PM
Many would agree with several of your points, but to have a late start in the middle of the week with no options for working parents is VERY difficult to say the least. I know I do not have the option of showing up later for my job, not does my hudband. Now I have to find care at an expense to my family when thing are already tight as it is. This schedule is not considerate of working families.
concerend January 09, 2013 at 11:24 PM
This is done successfully in many elementary districts. People don't like change but this is what's best for our students. Pulling teachers from the classroom to attend trainings and meetings to successfully teach to this districts standards while our kids are in school to me is more of a hinderance to their education. I cannot believe that parents expect this district to seek parental approval for district wide decisions. We would NEVER get anything accomplished if this district did that. I don't know any school district that does that nor have I heard any corporation seeking the approval or advise of their employees before making corporate decisions. I cannot believe I am reading half of the things I am reading...people have no idea what they are talking about.
Scott January 09, 2013 at 11:57 PM
concerned - you have it backwards - the parents are not the employee - we are the employer. Goverment tends to forget that.
purple2013 January 10, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Concerned: While I know this has been successful in other districts such as Schaumburg, they have it structured different. They allot the school day for early release rather than late arrival. My concern is that you are not taking in account that parents could lose their jobs because their position does not allow for the flexibility to start late one day a week. Families will now have to seek out care options that are not widely available at, of course, at cost they currently do not incur at this time. I have been on the morning CARE list for over a year and have no hope of a spot. I don't even know what place or people who would want to provide care for a child 1 morning a week for only 40 minutes. It is not cost effective for most. Please keep this in mind.
Neal January 10, 2013 at 08:14 PM
Here's the silly part, I spoke with some teachers and they don't think this is a good idea either. If the parents don't want it, and the teachers don't want it. Then seriously, why is this even up for discussion? And again, why should teacher development time come out of when my child should be being taught? Hello, it's called teacher institute days, and the amount of hours the teacher is EXACTLY the same in both scenarios, again, why even change it? Whomever came up with this idea clearly didn't think this out as parent of a child in the system.. which are the exact folks who pay and support the system they all work in.
Neal January 10, 2013 at 08:22 PM
And concerned, please explain why this is best for students, in your opinion. My child works much better with a fixed schedule as does my employer. I literally can't just come into work late every Wednesday, it's not an option for me, as the employee I have to sacrifice, just like these teachers should, they work for us, and we pay them..
Neal January 10, 2013 at 08:35 PM
"I don't know any school district that does that nor have I heard any corporation seeking the approval or advise of their employees before making corporate decisions." FYI. You are the employee, we support the system financially, according to your own quote, you should have no say in the matter. Personally I am concerned that you may work in the system, you clearly have no empathy for others concerns and opinions on this matter
Maryb January 10, 2013 at 09:28 PM
The District has sent out a brief survey presumably to parents of current students. Some of the options say there will be 1 day less instructional time. So this current teacher contract potentially shortens the school time for students. The last contract which ended 8/31/12 required fewer school days. No reasonable person should object to teacher plan and collaboration time but to lessen school time for students is wrong. Especially during this "Lesser Depression" for a group of professional people to demand essentially less work time is really tone deaf.
Sheila Tracy January 11, 2013 at 12:20 AM
Which Elementary school districts use a Late Start, rather than an Early Release? I would love to find out how the working parents in those districts handle child care for just one morning a week. That would be great information to share and get out to our community, since that is a major concern for lots of parents.
Mae January 11, 2013 at 02:46 AM
I searched my email and I did not receive a survey or a letter pertaining to this prior to the decision being made and placed in the contract. I recieved one pertaining to changing the start and end dates and one pertaining to switching to a private bus service.
purple2013 January 11, 2013 at 02:59 PM
Wonderfully put Neal! Thank you for stating this so clearly. You have hit the nail on the head!
Jacek January 11, 2013 at 03:35 PM
I just filled it out. There's no option for "no change".
james urban January 11, 2013 at 03:39 PM
concerned is either a teacher or has a loved one that is a teacher or is employed by some government that looks at things with blinders on. Once again the CART pulls the horse. This is why you have the mess you have in Illinois with voters like CONCERNED as his name should be UNCONCERNED. When are the people of this state going to wake up and vote all these people that have run our state in to the ground out of office. Does anyone realize that the state is 96 BILLION in the hold just with the pension mess and is losing 17 million a day because of MADIGAN and the rest of the DEMOCROOKS and the tentacles of springfield touches evry SCHOOL DISTRICT.
Bucephalus January 11, 2013 at 04:04 PM
james, I have a simple question for you. Is it possible to disagree with your assessment of things, without somehow being lazy or a crook? Is it possible that there are people who disagree with your viewpoint who are also hard working, taxpaying, and unrelated to teachers? It's one thing to disagree with concerned's message. It's another to immediately write him off as an unconcerned crony. The first allows for civil discourse between two different viewpoints. The other establishes you as the sole arbiter of truth and justice. I'd like to think you're open to discussion, debate, and opposing viewpoints.
LS January 11, 2013 at 06:33 PM
The address for the survey can be found below: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LateStartEarlyRelease The address for the petition can be found below: http://www.change.org/petitions/ccsd15-school-board-listen-to-constituents-late-arrival-early-dismissal-schedule-enrichment-time-end-of-the-day-friday-no-lost-instruction-time
LS January 11, 2013 at 06:33 PM
The address for the survey can be found below: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LateStartEarlyRelease The address for the petition can be found below: http://www.change.org/petitions/ccsd15-school-board-listen-to-constituents-late-arrival-early-dismissal-schedule-enrichment-time-end-of-the-day-friday-no-lost-instruction-time
Angela Santoro January 11, 2013 at 08:45 PM
Concerned: I respectfully dissagree with you on several accounts. I'm still not sure how 40 minutes once a week will enhance training/planning/meetings. It seems to me by shoving this into the day either at the end or beginning of the day will leave no transition time - If I understand correctly teachers start time is 740a (for schools starting at 755a). Are teachers now going to arrive at 730a for a 745a am start? or will they be arriving at 740a to give them 5 minutes to prepare for thier day. Same question for the late start day - out of the 40 minutes how much of that time will be used to transition to be prepared for the start of the work day. I'm actually insulted that you feel that the parents should not have the right to expect the opportunity to give input to district wide decisions. Even the recent survey that is being circulated to parents about late start/early dismissal in which pro/cons are written. It seems to be written board/teachers but I'd be curious if parents had any input to the pro/cons of each option. I believe it is OUR tax dollars that are paying the salaries. I'm completely offended by the insinuation that if a parent does not agree with what the board/teachers are doing that we are not supporting our teachers - how dare we??!!! or we have no idea what we are talking about???!!!! I know many parents that continually give thier time in the schools (and are not paid a dime). They do it to support thier children, school, and teachers.
Mae January 12, 2013 at 05:27 AM
I completed the survey that I received today. There was no option for no change or teachers stay late. You had to list 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th. Between late arrivals and early dismissal. I chose only early dismissal 1st and 2nd and it went through and made my comments on the bottom. I still think the teachers can work until 4:00 one day per week. I also signed the petition. Please pass it on through email and facebook to collect the desired number of signatures. You can copy and paste the above.
Lily 123 January 13, 2013 at 06:20 AM
I don't think we should fill out the survey if those times/days don't work for us at all. It just gives them data to use to make sure it is only one of those options. I will go to the meeting, but I will not fill out the survey.
LS January 13, 2013 at 08:26 AM
Lily- please make sure to sign the petition and pass it on to all D15 taxpayers. The point of the petition is to open the conversation on other days and times. In order to do this we will need hundreds of signatures. Thanks!
Sub-Bus January 14, 2013 at 01:33 AM
This agenda along with the outsourcing of the school bus drivers, in which they received two bids on January 10th are hot topics to be discussed at the upcoming open Board of Education meeting this Wednesday, January 16th 2013 at 7 pm at Walter Sundlling Jr high, 1100 N Smith St, Palatine. You People REALLY need to go to this IMPORTANT meeting concerning the students and parents of school district.15.
D B L D January 15, 2013 at 03:16 AM
shame on Thompson he brought this mess to our schools. This issues should have been brought to the taxpayers prior to any changes to the contract If the parents/students don't want it and the teachers don't want it WHY EVEN CONSIDER IT

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