PEORIA, IL -- The Peoria District 150 School Board, in a special committee of the whole meeting on Sept. 29, went on and on for more than an hour, though without microphones so the audience could not hear all that was said.
The subject: developing a new strategic plan. They didn't seem to know where to begin.
Meanwhile, the critics in the audience fumed. They knew what at least two board members should have remembered -- that the district a dozen years ago spent perhaps $80,000 on a consultant to lead the strategic plan process. It ultimately involved many, many members of the community whose time was donated to the effort.
That plan is still in the files. It was not mentioned, though board president Debbie Wolfmeyer and member Martha Ross were on the board when the process took place.
Finally it was time for the public comments.
Here is a recording of the comments.
Terry Knapp jumped on the board's omission. He accused them of "reinventing the wheel," and reminded them that "Dr.Cook and the Cambridge Group" were paid to develop the strategic plan. "It was supposed to be updated every year."
He continued, saying that the board also has not made any public comment on the contract involving the Quest charter school, its annual trips to Turkey (why Turkey and not Paris, London or even Washington DC?) and its parent company's troubles with an FBI investigation. "It's ridiculous," he said.
Sharon Crews questioned the lack of board investigation into the credit cards used by administrators (called P-cards), and how those purchases are never discussed by the board. She reminded them of the 30 missing receipts, and said a board investigation should take place.
She also told the board that "some of us speak because others don't want to take the risk," in a school district run by fear and intimidation.
-- Elaine Hopkins