A quest for information and accountability regarding ethics violations allegedly committed during the spring 2011 elections in Grayslake School District 46 continues.
Taxpayer watchdog Lennie Jarratt, who also serves as chairman of the Lake County Tea Party, filed a formal complaint with the Lake County Circuit Court seeking an injunction to force the school district to comply with the Freedom of Information Act and release certain requested public documents and e-mails.
A summons was served Saturday to school board president Ray Millington at district offices.
In a statement to Patch.com, District 46 Superintendent Ellen Correll said, “Due to the fact that this is litigation, I have no comment.”
In the complaint, plaintiff Jarratt alleges the district refused to produce certain records regarding various e-mail correspondence made via a written FOIA request on April 8.
Jarratt said he launched his investigation to due concerns that district employees and board members were using school resources to campaign during the spring 2011 elections. Alleging ethics violations, Jarratt used the Freedom of Information Act to acquire copies of such correspondence.
In response, the district tried to have certain documents deemed exempt under the Freedom of Information Act, citing their release would be an invasion of privacy if those e-mails inadvertently included unessential names of students, parents, personnel and community members. The district also wanted to make exempt documents that included internal discussions and opinions related to district actions and policies.
In June, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office notified District 46 attorney Kevin Gordon that while some requested e-mails could be withheld (e-mails that contained internal discussions and opinions), the balance could not be.
While Northbrook/Glenview School District 30 (where former District 46 board president Mary Garcia worked as a teacher) complied by releasing 87 pages of e-mail documents between their district and District 46, Jarratt said District 46 only released eight pages of e-mails. This discrepancy must be rectified, he said.
According to Jarratt’s complaint, District 46 willfully and intentionally withheld requested documents and ignored the determination of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. The public, states the complaint, was denied access to at least 79 pages of documents, if not hundreds.
“It’s obvious there is something they are trying to cover up here or they would have released them months ago,” Jarratt said.
“The district should comply with the laws of Illinois. The citizens of D46 deserve ethical board members and administrators. The district is charged with protecting and educating the children when they are in school, therefore they need to be people of integrity and honor, i.e. people the parents can trust. Corruption should not be tolerated, especially in our local schools.”
The district has 30 days from Oct. 1 to respond to the complaint.