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Guest Column: Taxpayers, did you know?

November 3, 2010

By Jane Hayes and Mary Jo Powers

Notice—A Taxpayer Rally will be held at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 9, at the Rockford School District Board office, 201 S. Madison St. Signs will be provided.

Following is a breakdown of costs and requirements for positions in Rockford School District 205, along with some relevant facts.

1. There are 55 Central Administration personnel making $4,937,695.00 (above the building level through Dr. LaVonne Sheffield). Of these 55 Central Administration personnel, 30 of them have job descriptions; the other 25 do not. In 2007, there were 38 Central Administration personnel; this year we have 55. That’s a 44 percent increase.

2. The Special Assistant to Superintendent does not have her master’s degree or a type 75 certificate.

3. The Director of Food Service has a high school diploma, some college courses and 30 years’ experience working for the food service vendor at the MetroCentre (fast food). The job requires a registered dietitian, preferably with a master’s. This person is presently making $78,000. We are also paying $35,000 to a consulting firm to help with menu planning, etc.

4. The CFO has a bachelor’s degree. The Illinois code requires this position to have a master’s degree in business, finance or accounting. The base pay for this position is $152,000.

5. The person who runs Human Resources has the title of Special Assistant to CFO, so her master’s degree covers for the CFO.

6. For the tri-fold quarterly called Context mailed to 92,000-95,000 homes, the cost was $74,547.60.

7. Last year, the principals’ book club cost the district $8,113.89 for the books and $15,625 for the free meals to administrators at Giovanni’s.

8. Dr. LaVonne Sheffield receives $210,000 yearly and rarely works a five-day week at the district office because she is working off-site!

9. Dr. Sheffield worked as an independent consultant with Newton Learning while in Detroit. Any relationship with Evans Newton that we spent $5,100,000 on for the school year 2009-2010? Aren’t we still paying, even though the scores were not significantly raised?

10. Caesar Mickens served as a consultant for RPS 205 from 2008-2010 while he also served as an executive consultant to Scholastic Library Division from 2008-2010. In May of 2010, Sheffield purchased one-half-million dollars worth of books from Scholastic. Sounds like a conflict of interest!

Come unite with other taxpayers Nov. 9 to find out more about how our tax dollars are being spent. We need accountability from this school board and the administration of District 205!

Editor’s note: The information above came from results of  FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests on District 205 spending by WEE. WEE, Watchdogs for Ethics in Education, is watching over the district by filing Freedom of Information Act requests to disclose unnecessary spending.

From the Nov. 3-9, 2010 issue

2 Comments

  1. John Penn

    November 3, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    ENI, the education consultants hired to boost test scores by 5 percent at 10 Rockford schools failed to make good on their pledge.

    Dr. Sheffield, claims “I didn’t anticipate, and I don’t think (the company) anticipated that they would move 5 percent in six months,”…even though that was the agreement made regarding the $5 million dollar ENI contract.

    Sure it was not Dr. Sheffield’s $5 million dollars…it is NOT her kids…she will come and go and her failed legacy will remain.

    Wake up Jeanne Westholder, David Kelley, and Robert Evans…or give up. Come the next school board election we want representatives that value our tax dollars and childrens education!!!

  2. John

    November 5, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Who cares? After this weeks election, it is clear that the majority of Illinois voters either agree with fraud, waste, and abuse, or at least are willing to look the other way.

    We voted in a Governor that intends to spend more, tax more, and borrow more. And everybody is okay with it! We re-elected a Speaker who stinks of corruption.

    I’m done with the state. I will be leaving as soon as possible and leave this massive debt and corruption to your children. This is, after all, what you want. At least, it’s what you voted for.

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