PEORIA -- At last the Peoria District 150 School Board has found a way to shut up the public, and shut it out. And it worked, at the Jan. 23 School Board meeting.
The meeting was to be a so-called 'committee of the whole,' which initially was described as a meeting where no voting would take place, only discussion.
And the public comments would be moved to the end of the meeting, and limited to two minutes.
The idea about not voting didn't last long, as inevitably issues come up which must be voted on. But the board has stuck to limiting the hated public comments to the end, forcing people to sit through the usual dog and pony propaganda show of reports, awards, etc. that take up most of the meetings.
And -- better yet, it scheduled these meetings at 6 p.m. If you're late, you cannot sign up to speak, at the end of the meeting.
That's what happened at the Jan. 23 meeting. The usual speakers were unaware the meeting began early, got there too late to sign up (how is that rule democratic!) so voila -- no public comments.
Activist Terry Knapp arrived late. Too late to sign up. But he gave his statement to my recorder in the hall, and is recorded below. He said the board is irresponsible to be giving away two schools to the Quest Charter School Board, so it can use them for collateral for a $500,000 loan from the Peoria County Board.
It's one thing to rent the schools to Quest for $1 a year, but quite another to give them away, he said, and I agree.
The board has millionaires on it -- let them sign for the loans, he said.
Taking a page from Mitt Romney, I'll bet -- $10 -- (not $10,000) that loan is never repaid to the taxpayers.
Should the board have heard this message? Yes. Did it? No.
-- Elaine Hopkins