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Resignation Shatters Calm on 113 Project

Shapiro resigns from leadership committee despite progress between people who opposed each other a year ago.

Editor’s Note—This is the first of a two-part series about what has happened in the year since voters rejected a referendum for capital improvements at and .

After more than a year of measured progress among the factions surrounding the , the calm was shattered Wednesday.

Previously, the Township High School District 113 School Board and reached out to everyone involved and invited them to the table to study potential alternatives after the voters rejected the plan.

Six committees including a leadership committee were formed to look at all aspects of the District’s needs. The findings of the leadership committee are scheduled to presented at a May 21 Board meeting. That committee became a member smaller on Wednesday.

, who is part of the Education First group that opposed the proposal, left the leadership committee over a flap about whether raw data of a community survey would be released.

“This was presented as a decision by the leadership committee and we never voted on it,” Shapiro said. “It was a board decision.”

He felt his credibility as part of the group was damaged. “I felt we got away from transparency.”

The survey was done under the supervision of the market research committee to gauge the public mood about needed capital expenditures at the two schools. Results of the survey have been posted on the District website since March.

Though the leadership committee may not have voted, there was a great deal of discussion and the consensus was the raw data from the survey should not be released, according to District 113 Communications Director Natalie Kaplan.

“A majority of the members on both the Market Research Committee and the Leadership Committee decided that the raw data requested should not be released,” School Board President Harvey Cohen said in a statement responding to a request for the raw data from Frank Pirri of Deerfield, the head of Education First.

“It was the professional opinion of the community members on the market research committee that releasing raw data is not a common professional practice,” Cohen added. “The recommendations are prudent and should be honored.”

Though Shapiro was not happy with what he called a lack of transparency by Fornero, he was mostly pleased with the results of the survey. He thought they demonstrated the arguments made by Education First. “It was a reflection of the community,” he said.

Tomorrow’s story will focus on the consensus that was built over the last year through the work of the committees and the education everyone, including Fornero and the Board, received from the work of the committees.

Bringin' Down Briarwood May 07, 2012 at 02:13 PM
a) I never said anything about the headline b) Do you really not think a "no comment because the process is still ongoing" wouldn't have been appropriate? I could buy your argument if Pirri's letter didn't appear in the Review on the same day. Otherwise, same E1st s***, different day. Sorry to see it. Let's also be clear about one thing before my comment is abused. I don't think the data should open to the public at all - simply the committees. Anyhow, I appreciate your months of service. Sorry it ended so poorly on both sides.
David Greenberg May 07, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Comparing to a corporation is not entirely correct. In this case, the School District produces no products (we can argue about graduating students as being a product all day, but essentially they don't produce a physical product). They take in taxes, spend them, and educate the students. We all want a quality education for the kids - but the funding from the taxpayers is NOT unlimited, nor should it be expected to be such. It behooves the District to set aside adequate reserves year-on-year to account for the lion's share of future repairs and replacements rather than coming to the taxpayers and asking for more money to do this-or-that. In the interim, they also need to perform proactive maintenance to save scarce funds. I'd argue that we're reached a point of diminishing returns. By ever increasing the taxes, we're driving people away from our community because of the heavy tax burden. And by doing that, we're decreasing the value of our real estate - because the value goes down as the taxes increase. We've seen it happening already - many, many Realtors will attest to that (and have during D113 meetings). The District needs to cut costs and reduce the tax burden. If that means that we can't offer Program X to every kid that wants to be in Program X, and only some get into Program X - then so be it.
David Greenberg May 07, 2012 at 09:26 PM
So the people on the Marketing Committee have no bias? Please. We're all intelligent adults here, we know better. I have a strong background in graduate-level statistical analysis techniques. Am I qualified in your opinion? Sure I'm biased, but I'd also be glad to share my analytical and normalization methodologies for others to review and compare/contrast. As I've said before - publish the data sans the personally identifyable info like email addresses, etc.. Let everyone review it. Encourage a comparison/contrast of the results. Will we all agree? Maybe. Maybe not. But as the process over the past year has show, considered intelligent discourse can have unexpected learnings that result. And in my opinion, that's not a bad thing.
Harry Steindler May 08, 2012 at 05:23 AM
SInce it's me smiling in the April 2011 picture up top along side Sam I thought I'd begin sharing some of my thoughts - the first one - those on the 1914 / PE committee are people interested in seeing something done to make our schools' facilities live up to the high level of the rest of the District 113 education equation. We've got outstanding teachers, parents and students - we pretty well all see that our facilities are far from outstanding - some barely servicable at best - most outdated and detrimental to today and tomorrow's students and community. The Ed First proponents in our group seemed to see these truths just as well as RIck and I (former CARE for 113 Co-Chairs) and the rest of the committee did. Sam - I know you're passionate - sorry to see you leave the group - but if you do not believe that our schools need significant improvements (understanding that we may differ as to what that means) I'm fine with your departure. A final unrelated comment - if you have not yet supported Lungevity's Breate Deep Deerfield, please do - visit my facebook page or www.lungevity.org. Thank you!
PAL PICCHIETTI May 08, 2012 at 09:01 PM
WE ARE IN OUR THIRD GENERATION AT DIST 113 AND FROM THE 40'S TILL NOW HAS SERVED US WELL . I WAS ACTIVE BEFORE THE WITE GROUP GOT INVOLVED AND WAS PRESENT THE NIGHT THEY GAVE THEIR PRESENTATION AT THE DIST 113 MEETING .I VOICED MY CONCERNS THAT ''NEEDS''WERE MORE IMPORTANT THAT ''WANTS'' AND THAT THE ECONOMIC SITUATION WOULD COME INTO PLAY AFTER ALL WE DO HAVE LOW INCOME PEOPLE JUST STARTING OUT , YOUNG FAMILIES , BOTH WORKING TO MAKE ENDS MEET AND SENIORS ON A FIXED INCOME PLUS LAY OFFS ,LOSS OF JOBS , HOMES LOST , EMPTY STORE FRONTS . OTHER PEOPLE VOICED THEIR CONCERNS AND THE BOARD THAT WAS ELECTED TO REPRESENT US DID NOT BUDGE . REFERENDUM LOST $93,000.00 TAX PAYERS MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN . FOLLOWED BY STUDY GROUPS THEN BY A SURVEY. ALL THAT INFORMATION AND IT CAN NOT BE RELEASED . IT SEEMS THAT THE TAX PAYERS ARE LEFT OUT AGAIN . HOME VALUES ARE GOING DOWN AND TAXES ARE GOING UP AND ITS THE PULSE OF THE TAX PAYERS THAT COUNT . WE DO NEED MAKE IMPROVEMENTS BUT UNDER THE PRESENT TIME WHEN WE HAVE A 5000 CAPACITY AND 3700 STUDENTS IN SCHOOL WITH A DECLINE IN THE FUTURE ITS THE NEEDS THAT ARE IMPORTANT. FIX INSTEAD OF REPLACE.------PAL PICCHIETTI

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