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Police Called and D46 Served Lawsuit At School Board Meeting

Angry residents speak out against superintendent and school board members.

And you thought school board meetings were boring? Here's the short version of the twists and turns at Tuesday night's D46 board meeting:

  1. Angry protestors rallied at the entrance to the meeting because of allegations of unethical behavior against the superintendent and board.
  2. During the public comment portion of the meeting, a lawsuit was filed against the school superintendent and board.
  3. The police were called to control the extremely angry audience.

Even before the contentious meeting began, residents gathered in protest outside Grayslake Middle School before the 7 p.m. meeting sharing their anger over allegations of unethical and possibly illegal behavior on the part of the superintendent and school board.

"I am a D46 taxpayer and I am shocked and certain that these people are not repesenting the taxpayers," said lifelong Grayslake resident Ann Cleary.

Two of the more serious allegations, culled from D46 and other local school district e-mails, include: (1) giving gift cards to 18-year-olds to vote for incumbent board members and (2) the hiring of an outside mediator by the superintendent to investigate allegations against herself and the other board members, instead of submitting the charges to the states attorney's office for an impartial review.

The angry crowd moved from the entrance to the meeting room to sit-side-by-side with parents there to see their children perform at the meeting as part of the Grayslake Middle School Honors choir, seemingly unaware of the charges being made.

"I appreciate that we had the GMS Choir here tonight because tonight is the night this board will have to face the music," said protester and Hainesville resident Paul Mitchell.

Notably absent when the meeting began were out-going board president Mary Garcia and newly re-elected board member, Sue Facklam, both the primary targets of the electioneering charges. Facklam did appear for the swearing in ceremony and then left abruptly during the conclusion of the meeting.

Public comment after public comment spoke of residents' frustration and disappointment, beginning with a request that the board hold off on making any decisions on current agenda items until the charges against them had been reviewed.

"Very serious allegations have been made and I ask that the board put aside any 'business' on the agenda tonight and deal with the issues at hand," said Shannon Smigielski prior to being sworn in as a new board member.

Many of the comments focused on the responsibility the board and administration had been given and misused.

"I am a 32-year resident and when I read these e-mails about getting re-elected being sent during school time I was upset. What you have done is at a minimum unethical, at worse a violation of the law," said Don Castella.

"This is where it all happens, at the community level. As taxpayers we expect the board to do the right thing. Not to worry about their own agendas," said Bob Bednar.

It wasn't long before a gentleman stepped to the podium and read the following statement:

"Late today, a lawsuit was filed against this board in the County of Lake, Lake County, State of Illinois, for defamation of character. Being appointed by the Clerk of the County of Lake, State of Illinois, I hereby give legal and official public notification of that suit, as the process server, duly appointed by the Clerk of Lake County and I serve you with legal notification of that suit."

After this disturbing news the audience became more agitated and began to heckle both the superintendent and current board members: "Shame on you!" "Honor the people!" "You're disgusting!" "Shut this meeting down!"

The Grayslake police where called in to manage the contentious and potentially explosive situation. "We are not here to take sides, we're here to make sure the meeting can continue without an issue or to close the meeting if that's not possible," said Grayslake Police Officer Foy.

The newly elected board members were sworn in and after going back and forth with nominations, the board selected Ray Millington as president and Keith Surroz as vice president.

Board member Michael Carbone requested a special board meeting be set to get the charges reviewed by the State's attorney and discontinue the district relationship with the mediator hired by superintendent Ellen Correll. That meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 17 at 6 p.m.

Lisa Bako May 09, 2011 at 06:48 PM
I don't know what you want from me. I have said from the beginning that I do not condone that type of behavior and think that the personal attacks are way out of line. I am not some public official or leader, I am a community member. No one I know has participated in the type of behavior you describe. No one is jumping in telling people to stop attacking me, calling my home, emailing me or heckling my children. It works both ways, LMJ. I do wish the heckling and attacks would stop. I wish that everyone would start acting like respectful adults. What more do you want me to do? I too have been threatened and attacked for my position of "let the authorities handle the allegations and let the punishment fit the crime and move on".
WorriedParent May 09, 2011 at 08:16 PM
Lisa, I am sorry that you have had to endure these types of attacks, in person and online. That is just not right people! Everyone is entitled to their opinion or to support the candidate they FELT was the right one (whether at that time or still does.) This is a democracy and we all have the right to the freedom of speech and the right to vote. We do as members of this community also have the right to be angry about what has been transpiring. I have gotten from Lisa's posts that she does not agree, nor condone the actions of all that are involved. She wants due course to happen (although I would give it a rest on geting Lennie to answer your questions on motive..it does not appear that it is going to happen.) She may be involved with a PTO, but each school has their own PTO and she was not on the one that sent the emails. She acknowledged that there was a mistake. I think in the end we all agree like HM posted above: "Know that we, the residents of Grayslake are watching, and that we expect you to be fiscally and morally and ethically responsible, not just with our tax dollars, but with our children as well. The leadership of this district is sending a terrible message to our kids."
Nancy May 09, 2011 at 08:34 PM
Wow, first you get beaten up and then you are to apologize. I don't think so. Everyone is entitled to make mistakes. MANY on this board have made serious mistakes. Serious. Not just the school board. Lisa, you are letting certain party members on this board wear you down. Your family needs you. The PTO needs you. The more you let them interrogate you, the more you will be forced to agree with them. Give yourself a break from the boards and stay far away from the witch hunt. When they get bored, they WILL go after you. You have told them all they needed in order to get the fires going. Get in R&R, Lisa. You deserve it.
HM May 09, 2011 at 08:42 PM
Lisa, I agree that the community members also need to act with a level of civility. Thank you for pointing that out.
Lisa Bako May 09, 2011 at 10:39 PM
THANK YOU!!!!
Lisa Bako May 09, 2011 at 10:56 PM
What you don't seem to be able to understand is that this district has 7 PTO's! I am A PTO president, not THE PTO PRESIDENT! I am more than willing to accept accountability for MY actions, and although I do not condone the actions of the others, I cannot take accountability for them either! I cannot believe that you want me to apologize for KNOWING about emails. Instead, I went into action to make sure that no "forums" would be held without representation from ALL CANDIDATES, in a neutral and fair forum. I think the candidates should be THANKING ME, instead I have to endure this ridicule. I had NOTHING to report, as none of it took place! I have had direct communication with Mr. Jarratt and have personally apologized for any part I had in anything he felt was less than respectful. I don't see how that is YOUR business. I have done NOTHING to Lennie personally all of my communications have been the same from the beginning. But, one more time might just do the trick, so here it goes: I DO NOT CONDONE OR RESPECT THE BEHAVIOR OF THE HECKLERS AND PERSONAL ATTACKS. I DO NOT TURN A BLIND EYE TO THE ALLEGATIONS. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE MATTER HANDLED BY THE PROFESSIONALS AND HAVE THE COMMUNITY UNITE AND MOVE ON TOWARDS THE BUSINESS OF EDUCATING OUR CHILDREN. How would I know if if was you that called, emailed or heckled my children, you post as an anonymous person, which I guess I should have done to avoid the personal attacks.
Lisa Bako May 09, 2011 at 11:00 PM
I have never called anyone the enemy. I do think that all of us have the same "every child deserves a quality education" goal in mind. I just think that we may feel differently on how that should be accomplished or what the end result should look like. I am open minded and like I have been saying all along, I welcome ANY suggestion for positive change. What are you doing to better the community?
Lisa Bako May 09, 2011 at 11:01 PM
Thank you Nancy and HM. I am going to have to give this a rest. It has consumed me and I regret that.
Lisa Bako May 09, 2011 at 11:02 PM
You are being an instigator. Just stop.
Sully May 09, 2011 at 11:08 PM
Don't sweat it, Lisa. This is just one tiny point in time in one tiny little school district. The importance of these people is miniscule. It's frustrating as all hell, but this will pass. Soon enough the tea party will have others to go after and you'll be a distant memory. Don't let it get to you!
Sully May 10, 2011 at 12:06 AM
Have to post this here as well. Again, this is Lennie's real goal- http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_05/targeting_the_very_existence_o029452.php
Rob Smith May 10, 2011 at 02:00 AM
I was just forwarded emails from Lisa to some of the other candidates running in this race. It is apparent that she was more than just " A PTO president". it will be interesting what the perspective is when these emails come out. It is obvious that she was not just supporting candidates, but misusing her role in the PTO and the trust associated with that role to give the candidates she wanted in information and support that was only available to her because of her role. I say we stop the conversation and let the attorney's figure it out.
Michael Thomas May 10, 2011 at 02:03 AM
The editor should print out the information on these sites Sullivan. In all fairness. Everyone needs to see what is going on. They are trying to blindsight this community with the school board garbage. The bigger picture is alot more serious. What say you editor? We all need to read these articles. And yes, Sullivan, unions are important. Been there, done that. If it wasn't for the union, things would have been different for me. They saved my job and livelyhood. I am in a higher up position now as a result. Being treated like a human is important.
Sully May 10, 2011 at 09:15 AM
Rob- you are one pathetic human being. WTF is your problem? Some Elliot Ness wannabe? You came on here originally pretending to be some bipartisan bystander with an open mind. You are anything but. I wonder who you really are and what you are trying to achieve. Probably some self-important little man with a Napoleon complex the size of Texas. Once again, making a mountain out of a molehill, as the saying goes.
Sully May 10, 2011 at 09:18 AM
Thanks Michael!
Lisa Bako May 10, 2011 at 02:11 PM
Rob Smith, you are full of it.
Michael Thomas May 10, 2011 at 07:00 PM
We totally agree Sullivan. It didn't take much to figure out that Rob Smith was the fox in the chicken coup. He slipped up too many times early on. Someone even said he was not to be trusted. And here he is. You couldn't have said it better Sullivan. His time will come. Truly.
Rob Smith May 11, 2011 at 12:05 PM
It does not really matter what you say about me. The sad part is that no matter how many emails come out no matter what proof becomes available, the people that do these things will continue to deny it and the people that choose to support them will continue to attack the people that talk about it. Interesting how that works. The sad part is when this district is run to the ground people will still be blaming the people that talked about the corruption instead of those committing the corruption
Rob Smith May 11, 2011 at 12:10 PM
very important Michael. The issues in Grayslake have nothing to do with unions. They have everything to do with a corrupt superintendent, and a few corrupt school board members. Unfortunately they are playing a ponzi scheme trying to mix around the issues to make it seem like anyone that talks about what they have done doesnt care about the children or the teachers. Grayslake has wonderful teachers. Unfortunately these people have been making decision to benefit themselves personally and then trying to redirect the attention elsewhere and its wrong. Keep the unions, keep the teachers. get rid of anyone using their position of trust for personal gain. Get rid of anyone that broke the law. Its simple
Rob Smith May 11, 2011 at 12:11 PM
I am not asking to be trusted. Could not care less what you think of me or say about me. But people of Grayslake need to wake up and start asking the questions that matter and stop defending corruption before it is too late and we turn into a Chicago.
Nightcrawler May 11, 2011 at 01:28 PM
Ponzi scheme? I don't follow that one at all.
GoBlue May 11, 2011 at 04:45 PM
Wow Rob. This is a ridiculously slanderous statement: I was just forwarded emails from Lisa to some of the other candidates running in this race. It is apparent that she was more than just " A PTO president". it will be interesting what the perspective is when these emails come out. If you are going to say something like this, than you should actually have some proof. All the e-mails about Correll, Facklam and Garcia have been posted, so why can you not post on this forum these e-mails you say implicate Lisa? To just say she misused her stature as PTO president, but not be able to back it up is ridiculous. Lisa has already been forthcoming with exactly what happened. You cannot seem to back-up your claims. Not attacking you, but it would be nice to see some proof.
Sully May 11, 2011 at 06:39 PM
Really, LMJ? Still? You must've been awfully P.O'd last night after the board meeting. Nobody was taken away in chains.
Sully May 11, 2011 at 09:31 PM
Carl- no insults please. Canines are our friends and should be treated with respect.
Matt Thomas May 11, 2011 at 11:14 PM
It was great to see a board meeting that was civilized. Enough of being the brunt of all the jokes near and far. How shameful that certain people have taken it upon themselves to destory Grayslake. Shame on them for what they have done. This is a matter that should have never left our community. You made a laughing stock of Grayslake. Makes you wonder what else they are doing.
Lennie Jarratt May 14, 2011 at 04:25 PM
Those who defend corruption in the local schools are teaching their children that bullying works.
d46 parent volunteer May 14, 2011 at 06:53 PM
No one is defending the alleged corruption, but you Lennie are being a bully. Carbone is one too...
Nightcrawler May 14, 2011 at 07:42 PM
This is a recording. If you have heard this message before, please hang up and try back later. This is a recording...
Sully May 14, 2011 at 10:10 PM
What do you teach your children, Lennie?
Joseph Vassau May 19, 2011 at 12:43 PM
Tea Party Pat. Once again Ms. Correll is making news! Surprise! In additionto spreading good chear with District "surplus monies", she aligning herself with, supposedly intelligent, concerned board members who want to better the district so badly....she bought votes.....from 18 years olds? Novel idea Ms. Facklam. And now, we are to believe Ms. Correll will select an impartial mediator to review the alegations? I agree and say "adios" to the whole board, starting with Corell.

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