By Ulysses Arn -
The U-46 school district is Illinois second largest which makes its school board an important government entity to people liking in Bartlett, Elgin, and the other towns that comprise U-46. For the last 4 years Frank Napolitano (photo right) has been serving as a trustee in Bartlett fighting taxes and wasteful spending and now he is trying to bring his conviction to conservative principles to the U-46 school board. It should be noted that Frank Napolitano is the President of the Illinois Center Right Coalition and a Tea Party activist.
Since the U-46 school district is so big and covers so many communities I was curious what Frank thought about breaking up the district he said that, "It may make sense to many of the residents of the district to have it separated, and the residents of Bartlett, Carol Stream, Wayne and Hanover Park put forth and voted in favor of a non-binding resolution to break the school district up but unfortunately there is currently no support in Springfield for breaking up the school district. The lawmakers in Springfield have in fact been working to consolidate other school districts. I was one of the residents who voted for separating the district and would be open to reconsidering it."
When I was doing my research on the U-46 school district I noticed that on Open the Books the district(in 2011) had more than 200 staff members earning more than $100,000 each. I was curious what Frank would have to say upon hearing/learning of that tidbit. He said, "The first thing that comes to mind is that most of those people are not actually in the class room. Some of their roles and duties are probably important but the #1 task for a school district is to educate the students and to keep them safe. So the emphasis needs to be on those people who directly affect those two priorities and less of an emphasis on the layers of other people."
In the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting school safety has been on everyones mind so what would Frank Napolitano want to see the school board doing to protect the kids? "I believe the school district needs to do more to keep the children safe. Today, there are police officers at all middle and high schools in the district. I would support police presence at the grade schools as well. I have already requested the Village of Bartlett police make more frequent stops at the grade schools and preschools as part of the officers normal routine. We can also look to utilize technology to more directly connect the police with the school to ensure that if there is an issue and an officer is not present one can get there in less time."
As the U-46 school district is the second largest in the state, it obviously has a role to play in the states public pension mess. On this topic Frank believes that, "We need to be leaders on the subject. Far too often local officials will just throw their hands up in the air and say, well it is Springfields fault. Some of that may be true, but the local school districts need to take some accountability on it as well. You pointed out some of the top earners in the district and it is those salaries that directly impact the pension payments and accelerate their growth as the pay grows, so clearly this is an issue that needs local input. Springfield is not fixing the issue anytime soon, it is time someone else start working on it."
Would you be shocked to learn that the U-46 school district is running a deficit? I wasn't. Government at all levels is spending way to much. So how would Frank tackle the districts spending problem, "The district is spending more than what they are bringing in in revenues. They are able to do this by spending from their reserves. Whenever you ask the district about this, they quickly point to the lagging payments from Springfield, lower home values, etc. First, we know the state is behind in their payments so you have to budget accordingly. We also know home values are decreasing, meanwhile the taxes and the spending for the district are going up. We need to make sure every dollar is being spent wisely. Every capital doallar should be justified with a real ROI that will save actual operating expenses and/or have a measurable improvement in the classroom, otherwise the money just doesn't need to be spent at this time. The other way to deal with this is to make fundamental changes in the structure of the district. As I mentioned, the top earners are not even in the classrooms, they are at the district office setting policies and agendas for the classroom. One of the most notable examples is the Chief of Equity and Social Justice and their staff members. Their role is not to educate or improve education. The position and department needs to be eliminated. The school district's job is to educate not to deliver equity and social justice."
To learn more about Franks run for the U-46 school board please feel free to visit his Frank Napolitano for U46 school board Facebook page.