New business at the Sept. 5 School Board meeting included an agenda item regarding an internal complaint filed by two district employees against board member Michael Carbone.
The names of the complainants were not revealed by the school board in the agenda item, but had been published by the Daily Herald. Some school board members said they believed the details of the confidential complaint had been leaked.
"I don't appreciate seeing us on the front page of the Daily Herald," said board member Kip Evans, who held up a copy of the newspaper. "What's being presented is a witch hunt. When are we going to stop leaking information?"
According to the Daily Herald report, two D46 employees filed an internal complaint against board member Michael Carbone after he registered his daughter for school on Aug. 7.
The employees stated in their complaint, details of which were published in the Daily Herald, that they felt "threatened and worried" when Carbone refused to indicate if he intended to pay for the registration fee and refused to sign a promissory note as required.
Carbone acknowledged to Patch that he did not pay the fee at the time of registration because it is not a requirement, nor did he sign a promissory note, though the Daily Herald report states Carbone printed and signed his wife's name in front of two witnesses. Carbone told Patch he has not received a bill from the school district for the registration fee.
Carbone said he believes the "leak" of the complaint was intended to defame his name as he is campaigning for a seat on the Lake County Board for District 16.
"Everyone thinks this is nothing but trumped-up charges," said resident Joan Seifert during public comment.
Carbone is crying retaliation because he has exposed board and district improprieties related to the 2011 campaign coordination of board member Sue Facklam and former board president Mary Garcia by Supt. Ellen Correll and other staff during work hours, and for his exposure of alleged insider hirings, violations of the Open Meetings Act, and other ethics matters.
Correll was ultimately publicly remanded by the board for her actions and Facklam was found by the Lake County State's Attorney's Office to have committed two felonies for allegedly offering students gift cards in exchange for votes. Though the state's attorney's office declined to prosecute, Facklam was censured by the school board.
In a statement he read to the board and audience, Carbone said he knows certain board members don't like to be challenged, but that he will continue to expose wrongdoing.
"These tactics of intimidation will not make me go away," said Carbone, suggesting some board members would rather play politics than discuss real issues at-hand, such as the district's "$1.6 million budget deficit."
Criticizing the leak of the internal complaint and the fact that the matter was on the agenda despite board president Ray Millington's motion to handle the complaint through a uniform grievance procedure, Carbone said there should be no exceptions to protecting the privacy of district staff, students and parents, and he is a parent.
"To go above the law for personal vendetta is embarrassing, unethical, abusive and most of all, disrespectful to this body of government."
"Just pay your registration fees," yelled board member Keith Surroz, prior to walking out of the meeting for a couple minutes.
Carbone is no stranger to controversy while sitting on the board. He was censured in March 2011 for allegedly seeking confidential information he was not authorized to have related to whether full-time teachers took the day off to attend union rallies in Milwaukee.
At Wednesday's meeting, Carbone called out the district for its own violations by not releasing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests made in April 2011 by a local attorney regarding that censure.
Carbone showed a document from Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office stating the district was obliged to release the requested information within seven business days. The district did not respond until Sept. 2011, and still did not release all requested documents.
Lennie Jarratt, chairman of the Lake County Tea Party, has taken D46 to court over the denied release of hundreds of e-mails he requested through FOIA. The next court date is Sept. 20.