And the Winners Are...

Newcomers Shannon Smigielski and Kip Evans join Facklam on District 46 board.

In a tight race marred by political mudslinging, the school board candidates, win or lose, were relieved for the election to be over.

The largest percentage of votes went to Shannon Smigielski, a school bus driver from Hainesville who proposed that she would to be the voice of the people if elected.

"I'm honored and happy to have come out on top. I played it straight the whole way through. The facts speak for themselves," said Smigielski.

One of Smigielski's biggest supporters is Grayslake parent Erik Woehrmann. He had never met the candidate, but had heard about her determination to become involved. 

"Out of the blue, I called her and asked what I could do to help. My wife and I distributed 100 flyers in our neighborhood and asked others to support Shannon's campaign. Voting is the one way you can directly affect the future of your children, the community and your taxes," said Woehrmann.

On board for her third four-year term, incumbent Sue Facklam carried the second largest percentage of the vote. "I'm motivated by the kids. I just have a passion for this school district," said Facklam.

Neighbor and Facklam supporter Lauri Steinhoff was glad to see the election over. "This has been an ugly race. I'm here for Sue. I have never seen someone so committed and so willing to do so much in a volunteer role," Steinhoff said.

Facklam's husband added that the election had been extremely difficult. "I have never seen such lying, cheating and stealing. We had to file a police report. The magnetic signs were taken off our car and multiple campaign signs were taken from people's homes," he said.

Fellow incumbent, Mary Garcia, was not re-elected. Garcia may have been negatively impacted by accusations of nepotism and inappropriate use of school e-mail for her campaign. "I'm just glad the election is over. It's been rough. I don't think I would have wanted the role of board president again. I was running to help keep the district on track as a teacher and parent," she said.

Running alongside fellow candidate Marchell Norris, retired school teacher Kip Evans may have benefitted by being the less vocal of the two. Evans came in third, just two percentage points behind Facklam.

Norris graciously conceded her candidacy. "The important thing is not if I won, but that the people of Grayslake voted and chose the candidates they felt could best do the job. I will add though that with only 10 percent of the community voting, it's hard to say that the majority of people took advantage of the gift we have in this country to exercise our opinion by voting," said Norris.

The next school board will take place tonight, Wednesday, April 6 at 7 p.m. at .

GoBlue April 06, 2011 at 01:41 PM
Follow on from last comment: Being a BOE member is a very difficult thankless job. You can never please everyone, so at the end of the day you have to ask yourself what is best for the children and go from there. BOE members have a tough job ahead of them. All I have to say is good luck keep your heads up and do the right thing. Do these things and you will always have my support.
HM April 06, 2011 at 02:27 PM
Count on it - "Now we get to sit her and criticize you to death" does nothing to move this district forward. I have stated I did not support Garcia, but I never sat here and "criticized her to death". I have criticized her stance on a number of issues, most notably cutting the gifted program (when she originally ran, she wanted to expand that program, but she ended up supporting its demise). As I have stated in other posts, the polarization here is absurd. When those opposed to the current BOE members over analyze, supporters of the BOE complain. Now that one of your two candidates lost, it seems you are going to take the same radical approach. How does that solve anything? How about this - the voters voted. Period. Making threats to Shannon that "it is going to be a VERY difficult four years" is just juvenile. She has worked tirelessly to help find resolutions to the problems of district 46. You may not agree with everything she does, but respect the fact that she ran on her principles, and won. Quit with the sour grapes.
Rich April 06, 2011 at 02:42 PM
Homer here! Congratulations to the winners! And to those that came up short in the vote count, thanks for caring! It s an election. All Homer hopes for is honesty and integrity. And remember, when the difficult decision has to be voted on, always ask yourself, is this best for the students. They are your only masters. Homer will sign off for now. Unless there is another breach of ethics! It was that Carbone thing that got me going.
Tara Strain April 06, 2011 at 02:44 PM
Count on it, your post is exactly why Garcia receives the criticism she does, because of tasteless supporters like you. I'm sure she would prefer that you keep your threats to yourself as they reflect very unprofessionally on both of you. I do not support Mary Garcia's position on issues in this district, but I do respect the fact that she dedicated a great amount of time and energy to this district, more than we can say for many parents and taxpayers who bash the system and the taxes, yet do nothing to change either. You might support Garcia, but your comments obviously do not support the children of this district.
Tara Strain April 06, 2011 at 02:49 PM
Actually, teachers do not HAVE to get a master's degree. More education=pay increase. Pay increase=pension increase. Pension increase=higher taxes.
Tara Strain April 06, 2011 at 02:53 PM
Brad, I did not read or hear of anyone calling anyone else stupid. Stating only 10% of the taxpayers voted is simply stating the facts (it was actually almost 15%). I wouldn't use the word stupid, I would say it's disappointing, a sign of the times, a really poor turn-out, a sad display of a freedom that take for granted...but not stupid.
Carl April 06, 2011 at 03:51 PM
Tara... D46 Pensions are funded 1st by the teachers (9.4%) off the top of their salary), 2nd by the return on investments, 3rd by the district (0.58%) and last, a small portion, by the state; however, the state has not made its contribution to the pension fund since '95. So, your taxes are not paying pensions. The state pays some interest on its debt from time to time, but not its contribution. TRS even has to sell some of its investments, reducing ROI, to make up for the state not paying.
GoBlue April 06, 2011 at 03:58 PM
Tara, I apologize if I misspoke. It appears in Illinois that teachers are not required to have a Master's, but I would submit to you that a majority of teacher's (especially experienced teachers) do have a Master's and therefore are paid accordingly. In virtually any business a person with an advance degree would expect to have an increase in salary. I understand that an increase in salary means an increase in pension and therefore an increase in taxes. I am ok with that. It is a necessary evil to have to pay for a quality education. You cannot have a quality education without qualified, dedicated teachers. I am not saying all of the District 46 teachers are good or bad. All I am saying is that teachers or basically anyone who works should be encouraged to continue their education and should be compensated for their efforts. The more teachers District 46 obtains/retains that have both experience and knowledge (furthering education) to me is a great thing. Why people think teachers should not be paid well is beyond me. I am not a teacher, but a good teacher has a heck of a lot of value. They can impact a child for the rest of their life. To me that is worth every penny.
Carl April 06, 2011 at 04:42 PM
D46 Pensions are funded 1st by the teachers (9.4% off the top of their salary), 2nd by the return on investments, 3rd by the district (0.58%) and last, a small portion, by the state; however, the state has not made its contribution to the pension fund since '95. So, your taxes are not paying pensions. The state pays some interest on its debt from time to time, but not its contribution. TRS even has to sell some of its investments, reducing ROI, to make up for the state not paying.
Tara Strain April 06, 2011 at 04:59 PM
CE, I think teachers deserve what every other hard working individual deserves and more. The problem with the system begins from the top and works its way down. There is absolutely no way that you can convince me that a Superintendent deserves to make over $200,000 yet the teacher on the front lines with these kids is making $40,000. The only way to up that $40,000 is not merit based, it is by adding more education, which they (the teachers) are responsible for paying for so the pay increase is offset by new school loans. Another way to earn more is through tenure, a system designed for the teacher and the system, not the students. I honestly don't know what it's going to take to fix what seems to be plaguing the entire public school system nation-wide. I do know, for the sake of our children, that what we're currently doing isn't working. Some people may not like the new changes in the board but the status quo was getting us nowhere.
GoBlue April 06, 2011 at 05:20 PM
I am all for change. Of course change for the greater good, not change for the sake of change. I agree with you 100% that the system is not fair or equitable. Teachers do deserve more, but I have seen info on the district and I believe that the Superintendent does quite a bit and took on the responsible for another position that was eliminated. In this individual case, I do not feel that the Superintendent is overpaid. At the end of the day, I want what we all want, a quality education for the children. I do think that District 46 is doing a good job educating the children. With that said I thinkall of us, not just the board, need to do all we can to keep a tidy balanced budget. It is a tough thing to do, but I do believe that if the BOE works as a team this can be accomplished.
Sully April 06, 2011 at 06:51 PM
tara, if you look at what other superintendents earn, you'll see that mrs. corell's compensation is not so outrageous (actually, i don't even know what she makes a year). i have lived in other places where the superintendent made more than half a million, plus had assistant superintendents out the wahoo, all of whom made a substantial salary. grayslake does not have a particularly top heavy administration, which allows more money to be spent at the school level. the facts are though, grayslake still cannot afford many of the services (such as gifted education) or luxuries (like computers) that other districts provide.
Sully April 06, 2011 at 06:55 PM
oh tara, i do believe teachers should be paid more. i'm in no way saying they are given adequate compensation for what they do!
Lisa Bako April 06, 2011 at 07:57 PM
Tara, please keep in mind that Mrs. Correll oversees 7 buildings, over 400 staff members and over 4000 students. She also does the job of two administrators in order to SAVE our district significant monies. The teachers are definately deserve to make more money too, but our community was in an uproar about their 4% contractual raise. The teachers in our district gave back almost half of the raise they were entitled to in order to save our district money too! They ended up receiving only 2.7%.
M. Norris April 07, 2011 at 08:30 AM
Thank you to everyone that took the time to vote on April 5th, it is a privilege and honor that should never be taken for granted. Like so many people that have commented above it is my hope and prayer that this campaign piqued enough interest for the people of Grayslake and surrounding communities that individuals will become more involved in local government. It is only through involvement that we can provide government the necessary oversight that is essential to ensure there is a fair and equal balance of representation of all of the stakeholders in a community. It is essential that all of the actions, policies and procedures raised by the community, discussed at the school board level and implemented be in alignment with local statues and state laws. http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1005&ChapterID=17 Please take the time to become informed about the school board. Attend the meetings as regularly as your schedule will allow. Hopefully, we as a community can begin to work together to bring transparency and openness to this district and allow the entire community to have a voice moving forward in the direction that is taken. Best Marchell
Tara Strain April 08, 2011 at 08:02 PM
I would like to stress that I believe all teachers and administrators are deserving of raises and their incomes but, being deserving of something does not justify necessity. As parents and teachers, we are responsible for teaching our children the importance of fiscal responsibility. A major component of this is teaching them how to differentiate between wants and needs. Setting the example that because you deserve it means you should have it is inevitably setting them up to fail. Although Ellen is deserving of her income, I do not believe a $10,000 honorarium is justified when her income already exceeds $200,000. Especially not when there is discussion about raising the textbook and registration fees for parents of children in this district. Parents who are not protected by tenure and secured raises each year. Parents who are living off of unemployment or public aide, have no health insurance, and make just enough to keep a roof over their child's head and food on the table. In the midst of a recession with unprecedented unemployment and foreclosure rates, our children need to know that a raise is a luxury, not a necessity.
Tara Strain April 08, 2011 at 08:02 PM
In response to the teachers having 1.3% withheld from their raise: A teacher making $40,000 would then be out $520 for that year. A few months ago, Ellen provided the teachers of this district with $1000 bonuses each through the use of federal stimulus funds. This means a teacher with an income of $40,000 actually received almost double the amount that their 1.3% withheld raise would have provided.I honestly am not stating any of this as a personal knock on anybody, especially the teachers. I simply think we need to be realistic and follow that which we should be teaching our children as their teachers and parents. If you don't have the money, you shouldn't spend it...deserving or not.
Carl April 08, 2011 at 09:03 PM
Couple things... 1st, teachers get compensated on the "Whimpy Principle". Remember Popeye's buddy? The district says, "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today." That's what happens in a contract negotiation...it's deferred compensation. So, it's not a raise they gave up, it's what they earned earlier and expected today. But they gave it up anyway. The bullet everyone wants them to bite is coming in the next contract...I'm sure. As for the stimulus money, there are other ways they MIGHT have spent it; however, it could not be spent on reducing registration fees or equipment...it had to go to personnel. That's the law. Now they could have beefed up some of those ERO offers with it. That would have made more sense, IMHO.
Sully April 08, 2011 at 09:38 PM
tara, you're comparing apples and oranges. by not giving teachers what they rightly deserve, you're teaching fiscal responsibility? no, you're showing kids that their teachers are not important enough to deserve adequate compensation. how many kids are sports fans? they see athletes making millions and millons af dollars, breaking contracts year after year and getting paid more for doing so, and they see their teachers not being worthy of more than two percent raise? they see politicians, bankers, ceo's earning millions and millions every year, yet their teachers are lucky to make $40,ooo? what do you think that is teaching them? if one group is asked to sacrifice, why shouldn't all groups be asked?
Lisa Bako April 08, 2011 at 10:05 PM
The part I have so much trouble with is, the way people think that because of our "economic state" the teachers should not get their contracted raise? Then they give back part of the money they are entitled to and people are still in an uproar. Did all of you that complain about the foreclosures and layoffs go around asking your neighbors, families, friends and even yourselves to give back your raises? I'm sure that if anyone you know got a raise, they did not give it (or a portion of it) back to whomever they work for because of our "tough economic times". Even the ceos and multi-million dollar companies that received their pay increases AND government stimulus monies did not give any back and you can rest assured that they are all making way more than our teachers!! I beg you to stop blaming the teachers for the troubles in our district. They work so hard for little comparatively.
Carl April 08, 2011 at 10:19 PM
Tara... You also made a comment that tenure is for teacher and the system, not the kids. Au contraire. Without tenure, the Tea Party would fire every high paid teacher so they could get a break on their taxes...the good ones would be outta there! Keeping the best and most experienced is truly in the kids best interest. And don't anyone give me that crap that you can't fire a tenured teacher. The administration doesn't have the guts to do what they have to do to fire them, and then they blame it on tenure or the union. Tell the administrators to step up and do their job...they get the big bucks.
Sully April 08, 2011 at 10:45 PM
Carl April 09, 2011 at 02:27 AM
Case rested...
Tara Strain April 09, 2011 at 01:34 PM
Carl, I do not follow nor do I trust anything from the Huffington Post. I also respect the opinions and feelings of all posting; it shows that you actually care about this issue, which is praise-worthy in itself. Lisa, I commend you for all of your time and commitment with the PTO. I sincerely believe volunteers are the backbones of our society. I'd like to rest this whole discussion by stating that we all obviously agree to disagree. I want to just clarify that I do not hold the teachers responsible for anything in any way shape or form. In fact, I feel they actually get the short end of the stick. Why did they only get $1000 when several administrators received $5000. Those $5000 bonuses could have been reduced or withheld and applied to aide in reducing contributions that teachers have to put in to their own healthcare or pensions. Ellen's honorarium could have saved a job. I could respond with my opinions on everything else posted but that obviously does not move this district forward. Everyone has valid input, I really hope that we can all put our heads together peacefully to create a positive change for the kids, and their teachers.
Carl April 09, 2011 at 02:13 PM
Research the HP article and you'll find it to be factual. Start here for a small sample. Look at class size. Follow the reference links. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Singapore Other countries focus only on their best and brightest; obviously they will test better. Here, we provide everything we can for every student...you can't measure us with the same stick. As for stimulus funds, you are somewhat correct. If they had been used as incentive for early retirements, money saved could have save a teacher and replaced the outgoing one. You've hit the nail on the head, indirectly, by suggesting that we stop placing blame on the biggest target (teachers) and focus on those that really have control (administration).
Sully April 09, 2011 at 04:31 PM
carl is correct, tara, there is plenty of evidence or articles written in other journals or websites that verify the information from the huffington article. don't let the source of this particular article lead you to believe it is a false premise.
Lisa Bako April 09, 2011 at 08:01 PM
Thank you Tara! I love doing it!! I agree, volunteers are so important! I wish EVERYONE would give just a little of themselves, our world would be such a better place and I strongly feel it would help unite us both locally and nationally. It feels makes you feel better about yourself and your fellow man. I too hope we can come together for our district. The fight is over. (for now) :o)
Brad Faxton April 11, 2011 at 11:51 PM
@Tara - If you don't read anything on HuffPo, where do you get your factual news? FoxNews? I sure hope not. Certainly the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Tara Strain April 12, 2011 at 01:58 AM
Brad, I would never be so naive to assume I was receiving factual, unbiased (no spin) information from either a liberal or conservative media outlet. I try to avoid mainstream media altogether and seek the facts from several different sources, but never one that leans politically one way or another. Thomas Jefferson said, “The most truthful part of a newspaper is the advertisements." I was raised by a true hippie, which might explain my affinity to stray from the sheeple. I sincerely believe each party makes its own truth so none of us ever really know what to believe.
Sully April 12, 2011 at 11:12 AM
there is certainly nothing wrong with getting news from multiple sources, however, in the case of the post from huffington, there are facts to back it up. the source does not automatically mean bias in one direction or the other. unfortunately with fox, so much of what they present as fact is actually conjecture, opinion, or just outright lies, that now all media is looked at either as far left or far right, rather than as accurate or inaccurate (which the mainstream media can only blame themselves for. i don't watch mainstream news either.).


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