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Election '08 . . . the day after post-mortem

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Okay, it's time for the post-mortem. The results are in and who's happy, sad or mad? Dist. 203 got its referendum passed. To say that it was a hot topic in this forum in the weeks and months running up to the vote is a bit of an understatement. So, how do you feel now? Sure, property taxes will be going up. The question is, are those higher property taxes worth it, especially given the fact that as many have pointed out, the District had a ton of cash on hand already? Well, the voters answered that one. And what about the other races? Are you satisfied with their outcomes? Were the right candidates chosen? Did enough people vote? Did anyone get any kind of a mandate? These are all questions that The Sun would like to get your views on. So, let the conversation begin.

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Actually, we DO agree on the idea that the numbers require a reference point. I was merely pointing out that the reference point exists deep in the bowels of these blogs!

We possibly disagree as you appear to believe the State averages are a good reference point, while I tend to think our own spending (after inflation) is a better reference point.

To clarify my own post above, my point was that even if the numbers presented were correct, there was not enough information to make a judgment on how those numbers reflect on the district, and that a frame of reference was necessary. Therefore, I don't think there was any agreement between Anonymous and myself.

For example, let's assume the cost numbers were constant. Exactly the same in 2005 as 1994. From Anonymous' arguments, that would be good. But what if during the same time period, the state averages for cost per pupil went down 50%? Under those circumstances, would we support Naperville in doing a fine job in controlling the costs of education despite steep declines in state averages? I, for one, would not.

Thanks in advance for your responses, but I don't think I'll be posting in the future.


Finally, I agree!!!!

If you have been reading all of these posts for the last several weeks,then you know there has already been work done on a past thread on just the question you ask.

If I recall correctly (and No, I didn't go back through everyone's posts!), it was laid-out that the doubling represented a fairly large jump OVER both enrollment changes and inflation (I want to say that about 35% of the jump was beyond those items). Until someone lays out the story for me, the rest reflects "poorly on the District", as you say.

Now I know there are some unfunded gov't mandates in there, but I have no idea what they are or how much they represent (I would love it if the District supplied us with it each year!) The poster Mr Higgins may have access to it if you're interested.

To disagree with you, though, I have no interest in using state averages as any indicator. My reason is simple: we are Naperville and our measuring stick is ourselves and our past ---I don't care about the results of a bunch of sub-par districts. Here in Naperville (both districts) we have consistently over the decades performed very well and spent well within our means to do it. I will not change my "baseline" now just because we are still below the State averages.

No offense taken, by the way. Your questions/comments were acute and, oddly for this board, you were quite civil!

To Anonymous:

Let's revisit your numbers from February 7, 2008 09:20 AM:

Below is the avg spending per student that was received from the District Finance office (the gentleman's name who provided it was an A.Albus):

1994: $5,297/per student
2005:$10,667 per student

If we assume these are correct, we still lack some basic information to judge whether or not these numbers reflect poorly on the district. What is missing is a suitable frame of reference, such as the state average. Certainly you can see that inflation and other factors may have a role in pushing per student costs higher over time. Simply saying that "per student costs have doubled over a given time, and the district is to blame" is an insufficient statement. It is like saying "the price of gold has doubled and is therefore a good investment". But without knowing the relative performance of other investments, that conclusion may not be valid.

I hope you see the logic in this and do not take these comments personally.


Boring is your belief that I am going to do the work for you, Just go through back issues of the Sun, Einstein!

Boring is your belief that writing something, posting it on your own website, then using that as data makes it somehow indubitable.

Boring is your ongoing attempts to squelch open discussion by bullying all who don't see it through your eyes (deified though you think they be!)

Boring is your personal attacks on those who partake in that diverging path.

In fact, YOU are boring!

Hey Anonymous!

Just post the damn numbers if you have them will ya?

This is getting boring.

Mr Higgins,

What is embarrassing is your constant attempts to insist you and only you are correct or have data. The data you keep insisting I don't have HAS been advertised before in the Sun --- Go find it if your so darned good at it! I will NOT do your work for you. You think that be pasting a bunch of crap into your post it makes you the only person with integrity or access. It doesn't .... it just makes you the most obnoxious!

Your right ---I am NOT his babysitter (never claimed to be), but apparently he is yours based on the stuff you post.

Regarding the other two:

MD - So, because he writes about his shortcomings (ie hate) you feel you have authority to hate him and hack at him. Guess what, Mr Higgins? That makes you out to be the same. Does it fell good? In fact, bases on what I read you are even BETTER at it….. congratulations!!!! You’re the winner!

DD - Your actions are deplorable and you have sunk below the muck you refer to.In fact, to this reader you are an amoeba in that muck! Attacking any person’s livelihood is as low as another can sink --- you are THERE, young man! Again, constantly repeating your view and spin on something does not make you right. In this case it just makes you by definition a jerk.

Your bullying has caused several posters to leave what was designed as an open exchange of ideas and thought. Through your bullying you have in effect censored this blog. Your lack of grace insults your generations. You are a bully and should be ashamed.

From the state report cards, D203 cost per pupil has pretty much tracked the state average. Looks like about a 50% increase over the last 10 years.

1998 2007
D203 $6,330 $9,881
State $6,281 $9,488

The online state report cards don't go back to 1994, but every year since 1998 is available at:


For anyone interested in all the curious references to "trolls", see:



Regarding this;

I just have specific information from the District which shows a doubling of average spending per student in the District.

You keep saying this, either post the information that you, yourself, claim to have, or spare us any more comments regarding it.

I have posted links to an independent source that are the basis for my statements. Where are the links to your sources?

Really this is embarrassing, post the proof that, you claim, you have.

It's pretty lame to ask the world to do your work for you. You want to be taken seriously? Post the proof! Zager's not your babysitter.

Regarding this;

Your distaste for Mr Davit is palpable.

No, the distaste is all Mr. Davitt's as the following indicates. No comment by me is necessary,

Having respect for eternity, I'll only respond to one point within Higgins' endless rant. For the record, I don't hate teachers. I despise them. (I do though hate liberals who think money grows on trees; who equate money with education; and who resort to bullying on blogs). I have a problem with 75% of the teachers who threatened to strike in 2005 because they were not getting 5% raises. I have a problem with the teachers who were caught campaigning during the last school board election using school resources in violation of the state's Ethics & Gift Ban law. But then again, the end justifies the means for this group. I have a problem with a former teacher and union president (now running to fill Joe Dunn's seat) who produced ads implying I wanted to hire sex offenders for bus drivers and custodians. I have a problem with a certain girls basketball coach coming before the board saying "Central is a dump, and should be torn down." The money's been going to striking teachers, coach (would you volunteer to free up some of your strike-gotten gains for facility improvements for the students?). I have a problem with administrators who rate 75% of tenured teachers as "excellent." That's one hell of a public sector bell curve, and pure B.S. And I have a problem with enablers of this militant out-of-touch union. I hate to ruin my reputation, but I actually wrote a letter to one of my children's teacher's this semester complementing her for her hard work and creativity work. Not as creative as Higgins' rant though. Posted by: Mike Davitt | January 27, 2008 09:22 AM

Regarding this,

It would seem that you revel in attacking others and either saying or implying they are lying (the hack job you have attempted to do on Mr Denis is both immoral & appalling!)

No I don't revel in getting down in the muck with these men. But I made a commitment early on that I would let no fabrication go unchallenged, and as Mr. Denys is a "Master of Mendacity" I've been a little busier than I expected. If Denys and Davitt made honest arguments, we could have an intelligent discussion, instead I have to waste time showing how truth challenged they are. People need to know who these men really are which is why I posted the following link which you claim is so immoral. The truth will set you free my friend, remember that.


Mr Higgins,

I do NOT understand your stance as such an apologist for 203.

You accuse me of some "worldview", but it is nothing of the sort. I just have specific information from the District which shows a doubling of average spending per student in the District. I am not even sure the information is imperative.....I only mention it because you are so gung-ho to convince us we have this perfect Board that is close to sainthood!

It would seem that you revel in attacking others and either saying or implying they are lying (the hack job you have attempted to do on Mr Denis is both immoral & appalling!) Your distaste for Mr Davit is palpable.

You say you have info from the District, you post it, and we are to believe it is gospel. Anyone else gets info….Boom! They are lying because they won’t sign their name to it!

Best way to clear this up? Have Mr Zagar post the past 15 years of revenue, expenses, total enrolled students, average attendance students, number of employees on payroll, number of average employees, tax rate, total assessment, and maintenance budget. Then we can ALL be as informed as you!

Names and abbreviations add nothing to the argument. As was already posted, I doubt if C or N are real last names. I don't even know if Higgins is real! Those that want to accept it....fine. The rest can continue to live in denial of information that is not posted by "Mr Higgins".

Spell check? No time! I am running a business around these posts. However, as it seems to offend your delicate senses I will make a stronger effort to be more conscious of it.

But I am a troll, I am not accountable for anything.

Anonymous, (I assume to be Mike Davitt)

I am not the poster named Troll, nor have I ever indicated I was.

If you have detailed physical documents please post them for the community to review. I suggest you compare them to the detailed information I have supplied. The source of your problem may be your unwillingness to read anything that doesn't support your worldview. Absent your making them available, you're just blowing smoke.

Also, if you want to be taken seriously, I suggest you post under your name or some abbreviation, so readers can identify your posts.

You might want to use your spell check before you post too.

Mr Higgins (or Troll, as you indicate you are one and the same),

I know you are posting something above, but all I read is Blah, Blah,Blah.

You sound like Jethro Clampett ...... remove this, interim that,see the Herald, blah, blah, blah.

I have the physical documents from the District....I will stick with them as gospel for now. Since the District gave them to me, I believe it is incumbant upon them to distribute the data to the entire community AGAIN to correct any misconceptions.

Again, I say it: the increase in average spending per enrolled student from '94 to '05 was at least double per District 203 distributed information.

Here is the link to the Daily Herald stat's that refer to the statistics I referenced above.


Please note the spread sheet above shows the gross increase in revenue at 58%. However when you solve for the 6% increase in enrollment that number falls to 49% see this link for the proof regarding the increase in the ADA


In addition, I called and verified with the Finance Director's office that Audited Financials state total revenue, not expenditures, revenue, for 1996-1996 was $123.147 million as the Herald indicated. For 2005-2006 the number matches the Heralds $202.787 million after you remove a $7.196 million payment to the TRS fund as the reporting requirements changed in the interim and the Herald removed it so there is an apples to apples comparison of the numbers across the years. This information is available for inspection by the public at District 203 offices. BTW the $7.196 million represents the funds the teachers pay into the retirement plan.

These are verifiable facts, in black and white, and prove that, adjusted for the increase in the ADA, revenue increased 49%, not 83%. It is there in black and white. Go look for yourself.

I don't think anyone posted thast the Sun DID donate any funds to the referendum, did they?

Did I miss that post, or is this an assumption

Let me know so I can re-read. I would have hated to miss that one without commenting!

Note from moderator: It's an assumption and a bad if not ludicrous one.


You should either do your own research or shut up and admit YOU are the liar.

Below is the avg spending per student that was received from the District Finance office (the gentleman's name who provided it was an A.Albus):

1994: $5,297/per student
2005:$10,667 per student

If these are incorrect, I would suggest the problem lies with the district's administration office as they are Their numbers.

Sorry to break your little apologist's bubble.

1994 2005 Change
5793.291167 10622.19091 83%

From the Daily Herald Study last fall.

1996-1997 Revenue $128,147

Avg. Daily Attendance 16,586

2005-2006 Revenue $202,787

Avg. Daily Attendance 17,613

Revenue increase 49%

Avg. Daily Attendance increase 6%

State Average Revenue Increase 52%

State Average ADA increase 8%

School Finance 101 is still available for download, all 10 chapters, on their website. They also have excel spreadsheets that you can download for analysis. The Herald choose to use the Avg. Daily Attendance for some reason and not Total Enrollment. While it does not make a difference here. It does inflate the costs per student figures I've quoted elsewhere, and shown on the graph below..

For those interested in 203's costs and performance, a picture is worth a thousand words. The link below is a graph from the Herald study plotting all 77 elementary school districts (and their corresponding HS) costs vs. their ACT College Readiness Score. Pretty impressive.


As far as the Sun donating to the referendum? No.

While we're at it, let's review some results from last April:

Vote For 3 Candidates 76 Prec 76 Prec Cntd 55,487 Rg V 14,088 Tot B 25.39% Votes Recv

Steve Deutsch 3,173 8.17%
Fred Lu 2,651 6.82%
Mike Jaensch 5,565 14.32%
Suzyn Price 7,762 19.97%
Terry Fielden 5,589 14.38%
Mike Davitt 5,265 13.55%
Daniel E. Denys 4,405 11.34%
Jerome F. Buch 4,449 11.45%

How do I unsubscribe?

Note from host:

Do you mean unpublish? Did you post a comment you would like us to unpublish?

Paramount to nothing... and I do mean nothing:

I simply can't imagine A. George ever hitting the bottle, much less doing so before hitting the roads. But I got a laugh out of the "was he drunk" comment only because it reminded me of a discussion the city council had a few years back.

The discussion had to do with on-call city workers like those who'd drive snow plows, and the blood alcohol contents the city allowed them to have and still clock in for work. Lord knows how they determine such things in the midst of a snowstorm. Anyhow, I think they were allowed a .04 BAC, and I believe Mr Furstenau took issue with this, and expressed concern that the city allowed "half drunk" workers behind the wheel, as .08 is the legal level.

I distincly recall thinking Mr. Furstenau's take on the situation wasn't entirely accurate. After all, whether one's "half drunk" or "half sober" really does depend upon his intentions, now, doesn't it?


I received this e-mail today. I wish to refute one point: to the best of my knowledge, The Sun did not expend any money in support of the referendum.

Dear 203 Taxpayer:

Hat’s off to the 41% (12,400) minority whose vote was guided by principle and values. It was a respectable showing considering the campaign efforts of 21 schools, an ethically-questionable school board funded “citizens” group that spent thousands on signs (not to mention ads scaring people about property values), and endorsements from both local papers.

People United for Responsible Spending in Education (PURsE) will maintain its watchdog efforts on behalf of the ill-treated 203 taxpayer. The Hold203accountable.org website will be updated regularly with news and opinions.

Taxpayers can continue to expect 5% budget increases as student enrollment declines. The board will continue to rubber stamp text books that promote Planned Parenthood and RU-486. In 2009 we can be assured the NUEA will be spending thousands to re-elect the four incumbent board members who are proven union sympathizers. In 2010 we can be certain the union’s board will carry on salary increases 2-3 times above the private sector, and perpetuate the golden parachute retirement plans (they promised to discontinue in 2005).

This was the third referendum request in 14 years. It will only be a matter of time before District 203 comes back asking for more. Students of history know full well the fiscal ineptitude of the past decade is guaranteed to continue. After all, responsible and competent fiscal management cannot be expected from a school board with members whose ideology is: “if people don’t like their taxes, they can move.”

The fight against this socially liberal and fiscally irresponsible school district must go on. We’re only 10% away from victory. One of these days, Naperville taxpayers are going to get fed up with referendums every five years, culture taxes, parking garage taxes, $4M auto dealer test tracks, and Carillon bail outs. To quote Winston Churchill: “we must never up.”

Best Wishes,

Joe Taxpayer

Please share the Hold203accountable.org with friends.

To unsubscribe simply respond with “unsubscribe” in subject

February 6, 2008 email to Joe:

“Although the referendum succeeded, I want you to know that I (and several others out here) appreciate your efforts and believe that your message had an impact. The District, the PAC and the Sun spent a lot of time and money on this referendum. Yet, 40% of voters were voting on the "principle" that you articulated. I appreciated the facts that you set out and maybe more importantly the objective (no mud slinging) and non-threatening way that you did it. I think there is something to be learned in that for the next school board election. I know that monitoring the district and maintaining the data is a full time job. I suppose you can't continue to do that until we get a few independent thinkers on the School Board, eh?”

Again, thank you

This is a lie:

"[the district] has doubled it's spending per student per year"

Pure out and out lie.

Won't take much research to refute this one....

SS Dad,

If you are happy with a district that used to be way below the spending average, and which has doubled it's spending per student per year with virtually no enrollment increases, and is NOW "just below the average with the same scores, well....So be it. It is clear you are happy with the status quo.

Of course, I would not expect you to actually know all of tis as you believe Mr Higgin's stuff is actually the end of all facts. Perhaps you should do a little research on your own.

Continuing our discussion in which issue matters most us in regards to this year's presidential election, I and guest speaker Professor Linda Peckhart of Maine University will be discussing homosexuality and politics and how they will affect our upcoming presidential election.

Linda is an expert in social issues regarding homosexuality and its impacts in family life. She is currently under contract to write a book for Hardcourt Trade Publishers, called "Homosexuality: The Question No One is Asking."

This is an open forum and we will allow anyone to speak on upcoming issues in Naperville regarding homosexuality. Please understand this is meant to be a friendly discussion.

It will take place next Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the Student Center in North Central, pending their approval.

Please let me know if there are any topics we should be prepared to discuss beforehand so that we can prepare.

--Brenda Ruzich

For my money the biggest story of this election has been this Potluck blog.

It has produced hours and hours of entertainment.

It allowed Thom Higgins to illustrate time and time (with independent FACTS, not opinions) again that 203 achieves extremely high performance at a cost just below the State average, which is really very remarkable. We all moved to Naperville for the schools, but to see the numbers in black and white - wow!


It gave Mike Davitt the rope with which to commit political suicide with a classic unhinged rant of how he "despised" teachers and "hates" liberals. He couldn't get elected as Dog Catcher now.

If only he would stop posting as "Anonymous"....

Say, Mr Higgins (if that IS your name), you spend a lot of time talking about those who post anonymous. Outside of yourself and one other, NO ONE uses a full name.

Do you realize how silly you sound? Like, Joe C is his/her name. Or Jim, or Tim, and if that IS their name, how many Jim & Tims do you think live in Naperville? Or read blogs?

Why don't you quit being such an obnoxious person to others and concentrate on something positive?

It is unfortunate that there are those that spend countless hours thinking up ways to apologize for the school board and administration, while thinking that posting in these blogs with their name (allegedly) somehow allows them a form of superiority.

No matter what the issue, the school board is alway perfectly correct and completely open in their view. And of course making any honest argument that opposes the school Board & admin is lost in their overarching desire to say anything to discredit those that ask the questions.

The fact that these same acolytes make these attacks SO personal is a prime indicator of their complete lack of class.

I'm pleased that so many more residents showed up to show that they are NOT catotonic and are slowly becoming aware of the incestual relationships that exist between our Board, admin, and the unions.

Though others don't do math as well (perhaps they did NOT come from the 203 system?), it was heartening to see over 40% of the voters saw all this and took the time to vote NO despite the belief that everyone knew it would pass.

This is testimony to the vision of these voters, the fact that there is a rising tide of folks who will now watch the district even closer, and an even brighter light on the apologists disguised as independent citizens' groups that are anything but.

I would suggest that everyone stay tuned. I'm sure we will soon be reading about the financing of all this activity, and I'm just as sure we will find it both suspicious and questionable.

Of course, I would NEVER expect the apologists to acknowledge this, as their rose-colored glasses would never allow it.

I was just curious if anyone knows; wasn't the turnout for the 203 referendum vote something of a record ? It looks like there were a total of some 20,000+ votes cast; how many registered voters are within 203's boundaries ? It appears to definitely have gotten the vote out.

Also to Ted, I think your introductory question is mildly inflamatory ("...the District had a ton of cash on hand already?"). As Thom pointed out in the other thread, the over-collected money can't be used for this purpose. So to do what the SD wanted to do, they needed the referendum.

Anyway, we'll see how it all turns out 10-20 years from now.

I am grateful to Thom Higgins for eloquently stating during the past few weeks his support for the funding of District 203 schools. Additonally, the Naperville community is to be commended for passing this much needed referendum to keep our school district one of the best in the country.


The comment was meant for the anonymous poster above me. They always seem to be anonymous don't they?

I have a lot of faith in, and respect for, the school board and administration. So yes, let's all of us watch, but I think we all will be pleased with the outcome. Some will say the $114.9 million expenditure is wasteful in and of itself, but for those of us who want to see our schools prosper, I feel confident that we will be proud of the manner in which this is accomplished.

Mr. Higgens, with all do respect, I personally never said the SB was unethical or deceitful, but I did say they were WASTEFUL! For people to assume that now given this new check that this Board, or any SB for that matter, will toe the spending line are either unobservant of bureaucracies, naive or both. I realize that this is a pretty cynical comment but it is a learned response from many years of watching bureaucrats spend other peoples money.

So now that the referendum has passed, let us ALL now watch and see just how this SB spends their new found treasure.

I am glad to see that 203 residents have supported this referendum, realizing that excellent schools cost money and have a positive effect on property values. I have no children, but my vote was a very big YES.

It is unfortunate that there are those that spend countless hours thinking up ways to harass the school board and administration, while posting in these blogs anonymously.

No matter what the issue, the school board is alway wrong, unethical, or deceitful in their view. And of course making an honest argument is lost in this overarching desire to say anything to discredit the schools.

I'm pleased that, just as in the last school board election, so many residents saw their arguments for what they were, and ignored them.

The final numbers show almost a two to one positive vote. Considering that raising taxes is never a popular vote, and the uncertainty as to whether we are slipping into a recession, the fact the this referendum was overwhelmingly approved is testimony to the vision of the voters, and the irrelevance to those that attempt through any means possible, to attack our schools.

Now comes the fun part. When the Buildthefuture.com group files their updated reports with the state we will see how much the union funded their campaign. Once again, the union wins. Oh well, I'm moving out of Illinois soon. See ya suckers!!! Enjoy paying your high property taxes. I warned you.

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