District 80 to ask State for consolidation study grant

District 80 to request grant to partially fund consolidation feasibility study, as parents express concern over school safety issues

The district will be directing Superintendent Paul O’Malley to talk to the state about school district consolidation, which would allow a state grant to fund a portion of a required feasibility study.

Gus Rapatas, who made a request for O’Malley to do so, indicated he has secured the remaining funds for the study.

Rapatas is part of a community group formed to investigate consolidation options for Norridge schools.

This group has also reached out to District 79, who did not seem very receptive to the idea.

Safety issues questioned

Safety and security related concerns were brought up when a parent asked about the state of the phone system at Giles.

Board President Srbo Radisavljevic claimed that the phone system was working for both inbound and outbound calls, though inbound calls couldn’t be transferred to individual extensions.

However, some parents were suspicious of this statement. Later that evening after the meeting had ended, they insisted the phone system be tested while they were present.

They found that, far from being even partially working, it did not function at all.

District 80 officials making false or misleading statements isn’t exactly “news” to our community, but it doesn’t usually happen when the cameras are rolling and cannot unequivocally be denied.

The following day, Superintendent O’Malley circulated a letter that acknowledged the statement about the phone system working was “not accurate”.

At the meeting, the board also claimed fire alarm system was functional… but given their credibility, should we believe them?

The board heard a presentation from STR Partners for security related changes to Giles and Leigh schools.

The alterations would address the ability of unauthorized persons being able to gain access to the rest of the school, and would cost $41,000 in total, plus a 7 to 8 percent fee taken by STR Partners.

(STR Partners was one of pro-tax increase PAC Citizens for District 80’s campaign contributors.)

The discussion then shifted to paying for these improvements. Fiona Tanny of the Norridge Schools Foundation has been working on obtaining donations to help pay for security related changes to the schools.

Tanny reported issues obtaining donations if the money went to the school district, and not directly to the vendors for goods and services provided.

(It seems donors do not trust the District 80 Board of Education any more than parents or the taxpaying voters at large do.)

Board members discussed the issue of how the District would be on the hook for the money in the event the foundation’s donors didn’t provide the money.

Video of the August 21 2018 D-80 Board Meeting (before closed session – 1 hour 15 minutes)


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