Grayslake District 46 board member Kip Evans finally had his say Wednesday about the censuring of fellow board member Sue Facklam.
Evans was not at the Nov. 1 meeting when the action occurred. He said he had a long-standing prior commitment, but was eager to give his opinion on the matter on Nov. 15.
Facklam was censured by the board of education following an investigation by the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office into complaints she had violated the state’s election code by allegedly giving high school students free gift cards for registering to vote in her favor in the April school board elections.
The investigation into Facklam’s alleged election and ethics violations began in April by an attorney working on behalf of Lake County Tea Party Chairman Lennie Jarratt.
On the night she was censured, Nov. 1, board members Shannon Smigielski and Michael Carbone tried unsuccessfully to table the matter until Evans was present.
On Wednesday, Evans took an opportunity to address the board and Facklam.
“Sue, I’m disappointed in you," he said. "The smile on your face says it all—you got away with one.”
In August, Facklam received a letter from the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office stating her conduct constituted a Class 4 felony, but that she would not be prosecuted because the investigation did not uncover a broad pattern of illegal payments.
The fact that this letter was not brought to the board’s attention until days before the censure was a sore spot for Evans, who suggested it was “hushed up by somebody.”
Though Evans did not say he wanted Facklam to step down from the school board, he did make another plea, which went unanswered.
“I ask you to ask her to step down from SEDOL (Special Education District of Lake County). She represents us and she does not represent me any longer.”
Facklam currently serves as the D46 representative on SEDOL’s executive board.
In other district news, business manager Anna Kasprzyk said the proposed 2011 tax levy of $31.9 million was reviewed by the finance committee and recommended. The levy represents an increase of $1.4 million or 4.64 percent over 2010. Kasprzyk said this was necessary to capture property taxes from new construction in the district.
Kasprzyk suggested the district ask the county for the entire levy, but review in March review whether to accept the total funds allotted or abate them, which would save taxpayers some money. Giving the taxpayers a break with an abatement was an idea board member Michael Carbone had previously suggested.
D46 Superintendent Ellen Correll noted that she had just heard from the mouths of legislators at a luncheon earlier in the day that the state may not provide school districts any funding next year for bus transportation. The district’s transportation budget is about $2.5 million.
“That’s pretty scary,” said Correll. “Hopefully this is just political to get people scared, and we are scared.”
A public hearing on the proposed 2011 tax levy will be held next month.