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Some District 113 Candidates Avoid Referendum Minefield

Half of those in high school board race dodge taking stand on $133 million measure during debate.

Most of the running for four seats on the Township District 113 School Board danced around the question about the on the April 5 ballot during a recent forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters at the . 

Candidates answered questions about fiscal responsibility, school consolidation, the pension scandal, the role of a board member and their credentials for election during an hourlong debate on March 6. 

The 10th candidate, Matilda Manfredini, was not present. George Pierachi made a statement on her behalf but was not able to answer questions under league rules. 

Only Greenberg and Lambrecht said they opposed the referendum. Mulert, Bronson-Adatto and incumbent Smith specifically voiced support for the proposal. Narrod said he wanted to address the aging infrastructure of and Deerfield high schools but did make an affirmative statement. The others were not specific. 

Even if the election creates a majority on the seven-person board that is opposed to the referendum, they will be obliged to follow the mandate from the voters on the capital improvement projects, according to current board member Annette Lidawer.

“We [the board] brought this to referendum so the community could decide,” said Lidawer, whose term expires in 2013.

When the subject of fiscal responsibility was raised by the moderator, the candidates were once again given a chance to discuss the proposal to spend $133 million for renovations at the schools. 

Greenberg made it clear the quality of education was satisfactory and the board must oversee a reduction in spending. 

“What we have is an ever increasing tax burden that’s becoming more and more onerous on the taxpayer,” Greenberg said. “The district needs to do what everyone else is doing and cut back.” 

Narrod pointed out 70 percent of all expenses go to payroll. He would look at appropriate expenditures and advocated working with staff to closely monitor spending.

“Everything is always in play. Everything is always looked at,” he said. 

Sandlow, another incumbent seeking re-election, considers the budget a challenge for the board and administration since expenditures have increased while revenue remains constant under a state mandate. 

“Over the past several years, we have been very fiscally responsible and cut over $3 million out of our budget,” Sandlow said. “This will continue to be the challenge in the future.” 

Smith added that current cost-cutting persists and most of the cuts came from recommendations of faculty and staff. 

“These are the people who can tell us how to cut costs without impairing the education of our children and their opportunities for extracurricular activities,” Smith said. “We are targeting another $2 million in cost containment as we move forward.” 

When the candidates were asked about their credentials in education, four—Sandlow, Smith, Hymen and Narrod—answered they have experience either on the current board or the North Shore School District 112 board. 

Others offered a background in business or education. Nearly all spoke of their experiences as parents of children in the schools. 

Small has taught graduate business students as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Chicago and has conducted a variety of seminars. He considers being a parent of diverse students to be his greatest experience. 

“My most relevant experience in the high school area is through my children,” Small said. “We have a freshman and junior at the high school now. Our 17-year-old son has Tourette's and as a result we have experienced the special education program as well.”

Tourette's syndrome is a neurological disorder that involves repetitive, involuntary muscular movements and vocalizations, often called tics.

Mulert acknowledged he has no direct education experience, though he has volunteered in the Deerfield schools. He is the parent of two Deerfield High School students. He does not think educational experience is a necessary qualification to join the board. 

“Obviously I have a personal vested interest in the educational aspects of the board,” Mulert said, referring to his children. “The board’s role is to play an oversight role. The district staff and the school staff--they bring the educational expertise.” 

Bronson-Adatto said her diverse experience as a teacher makes her well qualified to seat on the school board. She has taught art and has been a director of nutritional education for the public at the American Dietetic Association. 

When it comes to their views on the most important role of the board, the candidates agreed that it is to hire a superintendent and monitor the activities of the administration and staff. They see other roles as well. 

Lambrecht wants to act as a financial watch-dog and seeks to cooperate with other school boards in the area. 

“[The board should] control all spending for the community,” Lambrecht said, “and to look for ways to work with the school boards of other places to correct some of the laws which are not to the advantage to our students.” 

Hymen acknowledged the supervisory role over the superintendent but also said that communicating with all constituencies, including the public, is a key component of being a school board member. 

“You can never share too much with the community who elects you,” Hymen said. “They [the residents] have a right to the information. They have a right to know within the realms of public sessions what you are doing, how well you are doing it and how you need to improve.”

Ellen March 27, 2011 at 09:56 PM
David - Wants and needs are subjective. Your plan on concealed weapons - a need or want?
Ellen March 27, 2011 at 10:05 PM
Jim - I couldnt agree more! I wish he had something more interesting to say. His stance on weapons were quite interesting...... I hope the voters out there in the community realize what type of people are against this referendum - they are people like David Greenberg who just like to say no to everything just because.....they are negative, pessimistic, have a vendetta against the school board or administrators and don't really take the time to read and understand the actual facts.
David Greenberg March 27, 2011 at 10:14 PM
Nope, I don't spam. I'm not advertising anything. I'm answering questions posed of me, or providing relevant information related to discourse in progress. You post an opposing view point as well, I'm not making you out to be a spammer.
David Greenberg March 27, 2011 at 10:16 PM
I'm not a pessimist - I take a realistic view. I'm actually quite a positive person, and I have no vendetta against anyone. Why would you think that I do?
David Greenberg March 27, 2011 at 10:20 PM
Ellen - I already answered your same question here: http://highlandpark.patch.com/articles/district-113-needs-a-better-cheaper-plan But just in case you missed it: Needs vs. wants can be subjective - sure. But let's take one example: Repairing a pool for thousands vs. replacing a pool for millions. The concealed weapons discussion has been hashed out previously on this site. I have NEVER claimed that it would or should be a part of the needs with respect to the referendum. Regardless, I have NO PLAN on concealed weapons - I commented on questions people posed of me. Please review the other message threads regarding those thoughts.
Harry Steindler March 27, 2011 at 10:27 PM
David - I'll take it that you meant to describe facilities, not the athletics themselves - the issue is that the schools do not have the proper space or facilities for the PE / athletics needs of the students. Teams practice in parking lots, athletes run in the halls at DHS. Training is held in academic hallways. You've suggested we place mirrors in the HP track to help safety - if you've been in competitive track you know how ridiculous that is. The track was the best that could be built decades ago - it doesn’t come close to meeting modern needs / standards. Do you know that DHS is yet to play a home baseball game this season because of the bad state of the fields at DHS? You can patch the pools but that doesn’t make them appropriate for modern swimming or diving needs. Its doesn’t change the fact that the spaces they are in are inadequate to allow good air quality because the level of usage. Those problems wont go away even if the pools could be "fixed". Have you attended any athletics events - PE or athletics teams in recent years? Do you understand the differences in such since your days or my days or Carl's days in school? You and Sam can call out the people involved in the community group as much as you want - at least they are people who understand the needs of the students on not just the cursory level that you and Sam do - not to mention that the official leaders of Ed First - Pete & Stuart Fried have no connections to the schools.
David Greenberg March 27, 2011 at 10:52 PM
Yes, the facilities. I did suggest we place mirrors in the HP track to help safety - as someone who ran track (albeit briefly) as an HPHS Freshman, I'm not suggesting those for the runners, but rather for the spectators or other "pedestrians" who want to cross the track in certain locations. Mirrors can be used for those pedestrians to know if it's safe to cross or not. Regarding modern diving needs - my father was a fancy diver in high school in Chicago - won many awards. That pool was 8' deep. The old Twin Pools run by the HP Park District had a "low dive" and a "high dive" (low was about a meter, I'm not exactly sure about the high dive) - that pool was 10'. I enjoy swimming and SCUBA diving myself as well. The basics of the crawl, backstroke, breaststroke, scissors kick, dolphin kick, and butterfly don't seem to have changed to me. Supposedly the ventilation problem at the HP Pool was fixed for $40K, but we hear it's not. So I ask "why not"? What'd we get for our $40K? Did it ever work properly? If it did, then what changed? I have attended many athletics events in recent years.
Mark Brottman March 28, 2011 at 02:08 AM
To suggest that we go based on the standards that were used when your father was diving is ridiculous. Did they have seat belts when your father was driving let alone air bags,, car seats or even the technology that has evolved in modern football helmets. You have brought this fact many times in the past and we can not go based on standards based in the past. The goverment has new standards and that is what should be the standard that is enforced and used and the measuring stick. Not what your father did how many years ago. The dives that the divers are performing now where never thought of back when your father was a diver. Everyone ignore these stupid comments and VOTE YES.
David Greenberg March 28, 2011 at 02:27 AM
Mark, Sorry you feel the comments are stupid, I do not concur. We're not talking about the construction or safety of vehicles, we're talking about swimming pools. The point I'm trying to make is that just because some standards body decided to update their regulations, doesn't automatically mean that we have to rip out something and replace it. Or that what we have has suddenly become dangerous (it hasn't). What is the context of those regulations? What circumstances caused them to be formed, and how does that apply or not apply to ours? We meet the IDPH standard for depth already. My dad did front flips, back flips, twists, somersaults, spins, multiple bounces, and he even walked on his hands onto the board, bounced on it, and did the fancy dives - among others. I've watched quite a bit of swimming in person as well as the Olympics on TV and it looked the same as what my dad did...What are the new dives that divers are performing now? Vote NO for a better plan, one that's fiscally responsible and which focuses on needs, not wants.
Richard H Heineman Jr March 28, 2011 at 03:07 AM
David: The issue is not the dives that were done, it is the depth of the pool. My brother was a college diving coach and he never allowed his divers to dive in a pool less than 12.5 feet. This was back in the seventies. A 10 ft pool (HPHS) and an 11ft pool (DHS) are dangerous. Often people break fingers and my wife once treated a quadriplegic that dove into an 11 ft pool. The standard now is 14 feet and this is what it should be. These pools cannot be saved. Vote yes for the safety of our students.
David Greenberg March 28, 2011 at 03:25 AM
The IDPH standard is 10', IHSA is 14', others are 11' 5", 12' 6". Which is correct? I'd argue that it's dependent upon the context. It's unfortunate that someone became a quadriplegic after diving - what were the circumstances of the dive? Did the individual hit the board, the wall, the deck, another swimmer, an appurtenance such as a ladder, something item floating in the pool, or the bottom of the pool? As I've said before, we need to look at the context of those regulations and see how they apply to us. Hypothetically speaking - if we were to build a new pool to whichever regulation is deemed correct, and that regulation then changes - are we to then build a new pool? We don't have any high dives at our pools, the current boards are one meter (about 3').
Richard H Heineman Jr March 28, 2011 at 03:42 AM
Obviously the bottom of the pool or it would not have been relevant to the conversion. Are you being deliberately dense?
David Greenberg March 28, 2011 at 05:04 AM
Not at all. You said "my wife once treated a quadriplegic that dove into an 11 ft pool" - people diving into pools of various depths can hit all manner of obstructions that cause injury. You didn't specify what the person hit, so I asked.
David Greenberg March 28, 2011 at 05:09 AM
I did some additional research. The District's pools meet the IDPH standard for depth. FINA has a depth of 11.48 ft, but the preamble to their regulations is: "...for the competitive use and training, not intended to govern issues related to the general public.", the FINA regulations then go on to detail that the regulations are for pools constructed AFTER 3/1991, and it detailed regulations for World Championships & Olympic games - neither of which are being held in the District, so I fail to see how FINA could apply. I was unable to find the regulations for IHSA. Do you have a link to the IHSA rules related to your claimed depth of 14'? In particular, I'm interested in the discussion of the rationale for the depth, so if you have a link to the minutes of the policy committee as well, that'd be helpful as well - thank you.
Mark Brottman March 28, 2011 at 02:53 PM
Since this is a high school, the IHSA would be the governing party. We've discussed this many times.
David Greenberg March 28, 2011 at 04:53 PM
I'd dispute the idea that IHSA controls our schools - it's my understanding that they're a voluntary organization that schools can belong to. This would seem to be borne out by the information on the IHSA website: "The Illinois High School Association, founded in 1900, is a not-for-profit organization of over 750 public and private high schools. The IHSA is governed by a eleven-member Board of Directors, who are principals of member schools. One member, the treasurer, is appointed by the Board and does not vote. Through its administrative staff of one executive director and eight assistant executive directors, the IHSA regulates interscholastic competition in 13 sports for boys and 13 sports for girls, as well as 7 non-athletic activities. The IHSA stages state final events in all of these sports and activities except music." They can have all the policies and requirements they desire, they do not carry the force of Law. The Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) has a law and administrative codes which require our pools to be a minimum of 10' deep - we meet that requirement.
James Dean March 28, 2011 at 05:01 PM
So does that mean as a school board member you will advocate that Dist 113 drop out of the IHSA and no longer compete in any state tournaments for any sports?
David Greenberg March 28, 2011 at 05:30 PM
I never said that. That the IHSA has promulgated a rule that could cost us millions of dollars, does not mean that we automatically have to spend millions of dollars. It's incumbent upon them to provide the rationale for the rule as well so our schools can decide whether or not the cost of the rule is justifiable for us or not. The pools are deep enough. See this link: http://www.reocities.com/woras.geo/Deep.html "All pools with diving areas do not have to match the depths of Olympic venues simply because all divers are not World Class Olympic Divers." - Wayne Oras, Diving Coach for 40+ years, Diver, Diving Chairman for IL Swimming Assoc for 28 yrs.
Jim Long March 28, 2011 at 07:41 PM
THE NEW DAVE GREENBERG TWITTER (of sorts): http://twitter.com/davegreenberghp (Grenberg asked Twitter to take down the old one cause he doesn't find it funny)
Al Dolnick March 28, 2011 at 08:59 PM
That is because the man is devoid of a sense of humor. The twitter parody is a masterpiece of the current political scene and especially effective in the case of Mr. Greenberg because his views are so extreme and yet the tweets on the account seem as though he could have made them. Whoever created the parody is a political genius and is deserving of a book deal or at a minimum a piece in North Shore Magazine....it could be titled Tweets from the Tea Party - An adventure into the mine of a radical right wing hater. Mr Greenberg......did Title IX exist when you attended HPHS.....It seems that the demands on the athletic complex were somewhat impacted by the passage of that legislation. Dazzle us with a comment......I think you are advocating the destruction of womens sports so that the demands on the athletic facilities return to their originally designed usage. Perhaps we should just cancel all women's sports to solve the problem.....hey that would make a good tweet!
David Greenberg March 28, 2011 at 09:16 PM
Al, I don't recall ever meeting you - if we had, you'd know I have a great sense of humor. What views of mine do you consider "extreme"? I am not a member of the Tea Party, I'm not a radical, I'm not a hater, and I'm not certain what you consider "right wing". Yes, Title IX did exist when I attended HPHS - I take no issue with women's sports, and I'm not certain why you believe I would.
Max Sternberg April 04, 2011 at 06:58 PM
How about depth is pointless when the filtration system is a health risk? Some of these fixes are going to be forced once the school is no longer exempt from new code and to not complete the construction while we have the opportunity will not save us money, but rather cost us dearly in the long-run. We have the luxury of cost savings because of the district's impeccable financial record and to not take advantage of that opportunity would simply be irresponsible. Maybe you wont have to shoulder the burden of later expenditures (I wonder how long you plan to reside in the district?), but for those of us who will, let us take care of the problems now. Procrastination is something we all try to teach out of students so to show a level of procrastination that opposing the referendum would obviously do is not only irresponsible from a fiscal perspective, but also a poor example.
Naomi Chambers April 04, 2011 at 07:29 PM
Mr. Greenberg, How can you possibly think you are qualified to be a member of the school district? You repeat over and over that you don't know what the Tea Party is, you don't keep up with entertainment news, you don't know what Title IX is, etc etc..... Your fiscal conservatism will decrease our property values, and place the schools in a state of disrepair that will offer the community something that no one wants, HIGH TAXES and LARGE CLASS sizes while the schools are left behind from a technological standpoint. This referendum isn't about Sports facilities, this is about keeping the standard of living in District 113 at the current or better level then it already is. The type of "plan" you are offering is short sighted and costly. The work and the money has been spent it is now time to act. Sorry your "Better Plan" is not worth the gamble. Scrapping the work done will double or triple the cost and unless you personally have the money tree and your backyard to pay for all the extra bids etc. then we have the answer. I know what I did and I am proud of it! Vote Yes tomorrow!
Big Dog April 04, 2011 at 07:29 PM
And what do we make about a Mayoral Candidate who campaigns with the "no" supporters, David Greenberg and Elaine Sobel, but tells others she supports the refreendum? I wish candidate Roetering would come out and tell us what he really thinks.
linda schneider April 04, 2011 at 08:54 PM
Big Dog, I also heard that Elaine Sobel hosted a coffee for David Greenberg and Nancy Rotering. So I was wondering how Nancy feels about the referendum and DG's candidacy. Does anyone know if Nancy is a David fan?
David Greenberg April 04, 2011 at 11:16 PM
The filtration system is fine. The recent problem at DHS was caused by a power outage - nothing to do with the pool. Moreover, the filter can be replaced without demolishing the pool. We are in compliance with the Illinois Dept. of Public Health regarding depth. The other "rules" have been created by voluntary organizations with no legal authority, and we've never seen the rationale for the rule's creation. We also teach students that "haste makes waste" - in this case, hastening to cram this ill-conceived and overly expensive referendum on the April 2011 ballot, rather than taking the time to do it right and put it on the March 2012 ballot is an extremely poor example.
David Greenberg April 04, 2011 at 11:24 PM
So, I choose to focus on things that matter. I'm not interested in the Tea Party, I'm not going to waste my time on them. Similarly, I'm not interested in pseudo-news (aka entertainment news) so I'm not going to waste my time on that either. * I do know what Title IX is. We've been over that. * Our property values are already decreasing - partially because of an onerous tax burden, and partly because millions of persons borrowed more than they could afford in order to satisfy their wants instead of their needs. * We should focus on the needs, not the wants. * I don't know why you keep bringing up "large class sizes" - no one's said we should have that. * We already spend hundreds of thousands each year on technology, so we're not in danger of "falling behind". The District has proposed spending MILLIONS of dollars on technology, so I'm asking what they propose to use it for. Thus far, I haven't seen a curriculum plan. We haven't been told how it's going to improve the educational outcomes of the 96% of students that graduate and go to college, the additional 1% that graduate and go on to a vocation, or the remaining 3% (about 120 students) who don't graduate. How is that equipment going to be upgraded in 3-5 years? What's that going to cost? Who's going to pay for that? * Vote NO, we deserve a better plan, one that makes fiscal sense.
Walter (Tripp) Hainsfurther April 05, 2011 at 12:27 AM
David: I am almost going to miss your comments after tomorrow. I only hope that people who vote tomorrow do not give you, Carl and Matilda a platform to continue your nonsense.
David Greenberg April 05, 2011 at 02:51 AM
And I will definitely miss your commentary as well Tripp.
Jill April 05, 2011 at 05:10 PM
I would guesss ( and it's only a guess) that since she has four children in the school system, she would be most likely be in favor of the Referendum. Again, it's just a guess. She does attend Friday night football games under the lights, so my supposition is that she is not a fan of the aforementioned candidate.

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