Deprecated: Methods with the same name as their class will not be constructors in a future version of PHP; plgContentJComments has a deprecated constructor in /chroot/home/genevata/ on line 25

Deprecated: Methods with the same name as their class will not be constructors in a future version of PHP; JCommentsACL has a deprecated constructor in /chroot/home/genevata/ on line 17

Controlling Budgets - School Board Meeting August 2009

August 7, 2009

My name is Fred Cregier and I live in Geneva. Most of you have heard me speak briefly before at previous Board Meetings.

As a homeowner and property tax payer, I am very much concerned about the constantly increasing budgets and expenditures of this School District .

I was born in Geneva , and have lived here most of my 81 years, and have paid property taxes for probably 55 or more of those years.  I went to school here, graduating in 1945 from Geneva High School , which later became   Coultrap Middle school and  Elementary School.  I walked the 2 miles each way from home to school.  I don’t recall that we had school buses then, yet I somehow I enjoyed it, and don’t feel the least deprived because of that.

I worked very hard for 50 years of my life so I could finally afford in 1996 to build the home of my dreams in this town, on land that has been in my family for over 100 years.  I love Geneva, but my property taxes have been on a constant upwards spiral, mostly because of  School District spending, and my wife and I are now faced with the very real possibility of  needing to sell our home, and look elsewhere, because our taxes are now well over $16,000 per year--more than double what they were when we built. I live on a fixed retirement income, and this is a brutal penalty after all the years we have contributed to our city and school system.

I know I speak for many others, senior citizens who are now paying more in monthly property taxes than was spent on the principle,  interest, and taxes when they were buying their houses, supporting the schools,  and raising their children in this town.   There are many young families today who are struggling to make ends meet as well.  Property taxes are just as crushing for them.

I am absolutely convinced that the Geneva School District has been building a typical empire of wasteful staffing, and wasteful spending, for years, and your latest budget is a further extension of this disgraceful situation.

I can see so many areas of overspending in your budgets that I hardly know where to start.  None of us disagree with your goals of a quality and safe education for our children.  What we disagree with is the millions you spend that do not really contribute to those goals. 

Since my time is limited tonight, let me dwell a bit on just one of the larger areas….namely administrative staffing and assistants.  As a business man, responsible for a high quality product, and yet also responsible to my stockholders for an efficient use of their money, it was always crucial to make sure our staffing was sufficient to get the job done, but not to give in to the human nature of people asking for assistants and then assistants to the assistants.

In the case of our School District , I believe I have counted at least 500 non-teaching jobs, to support 331 regular classroom teachers.  To mention a few, I see we have: 

66 custodians

72 bus drivers who need two bus supervisors        

51 office assistants

 3 full time principals and 3 full time deans at one high school

We hire additional people to supervise the halls when the teacher’s contract specifically says that “teachers are responsible for student supervision in the general vicinity of their classroom during passing periods.

47 special ed teachers and 95 assistants to these 47 teachers.  There is a coordinator for this as well.

9  psychologists

13 speech pathologists

12 nurses

10 guidance counselors

I was extremely surprised at all of the “facilitators” and “coordinators” in this district.  I do not have time to list them now.

An elementary school ( 4th Street ) on an entire city block had the capacity for 400 elementary students is now solely used for Central Administration. And the administration is talking about moving again, the third time in less than 20 years. 

Dr. Mutchler has 4 assistant superintendents and even they have assistants.   

I know you will seel to justify eachof these 500 jobs; but in your heart of hearts I believe that you can significantly reduce the number of these non-teaching jobs, and still provide an excellent education for our students! 

Don’t tell me it can’t be done; that is the answer I have heard at many large corporations, such as International Harvester, before they went bankrupt, due in part to bloated administrative staffing, which grows like a cancer when the managers aren’t managing their assets, but are instead bent on empire building.

Geneva property owners cannot afford to support outrageous spending habits and empire building.  We elect a school board and expect them to be responsible and careful with public money.  We expect a realistic job of budget trimming in this year's budget before it is approved.  It's time to go back to the drawing board now and in the future. 

President Stith, I believe you recently proposed having a citizen based financial study group to aid in future planning and budgeting.  I believe this would be a great first step if that group is composed of knowledgeable persons, with strong leadership skills and concerns about the right balance between education and affordable financing.  I urge you to make that definite priority immediately as the property owning community cannot continue to bear the kinds of burdens placed on us.

We cannot look to the state of Illinois for relief.  We must control our own budget. 

Add comment

Security code