November 2010 Archives

Plainfield Superintendent John Harper read this letter aloud during Monday's board meeting. The letter is from the family of Army Pfc. Andrew N. Meari, 21, who was killed in action on Nov. 1 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

He was remembered in a ceremony with military honors on Veterans Day at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood.

It's a beautiful letter that I wanted to share with you during this holiday season as we thank each other for small acts of kindness.

To: Dr. Harper, Members of the Board, District 202 schools staff, administration, and students

From: The Family of US Army PFC Andrew N Meari, KIA 11/01/2010

We wanted to take a moment to express our deepest gratitude to the entire District 202 family for the outpouring of support, respect, and friendship shown during this most difficult time for our family.

There have been so many acts of kindness that we couldn't possibly thank all those responsible, so if we omit anyone please understand it is unintentional and we truly do appreciate what everyone has done. First we would like to thank the Board for the moment of silence observed in Andrew's honor prior to your last meeting. We would like to thank Mr. Travis, Mr. Albright, and Ms. McKinsey of Plainfield South for the kindness that was extended to us at the football playoff game where there was a moment of silence prior to kickoff. Also, to the students, athletes, and coaches (both from South and from visiting Minooka) we thank you for your respect during this solemn moment. We didn't know a stadium full of kids could be so quiet, but you could have heard a pin drop and we were awed by the display.

The day we received Andrew at Midway Airport and the procession made its way through Plainfield, we passed several schools including Indian Trail, Plainfield Adademy, and Ira Jones Middle School on our way to South. As we passed we saw nothing but somber and respectful faces and we appreciate that so much. As for the circle the procession took around PSHS, there are no words for the feelings we had. Again, nothing but somber and respectful faces and tears being shed by some who never knew Andrew, but knew that he was a member of their community who lost his life in defense of this great country. Our two sons who are still students at South recognized this as not only a show of respect and appreciation for their lost brother but also as a show of support to them. They are most appreciative of that and we, their parents, are eternally grateful.

To the children of Ms. Schall's class at Eichelberger Elementary for the beautiful poster they made honoring Andrew we cannot say thanks enough ...and to Mr. Hernandez for delivering it to us at Andrew's visitation, thank you as well.

No words can adequately express our gratitude for all those that paid tribute to Andrew. You will forever be in our thoughts and prayers. Please know that, while the situation is unbearable, your support has meant more to us than you can possibly know.

With our deepest thanks,

The Meari-Meehan Family

It was a busy night in Plainfield School District.

Here's a quick synopsis:

Plainfield School Board has decided to address its uneven enrollment issues at the middle schools. Aux Sable and Timber Ridge middle schools are over capacity while Drauden Point is under capacity.

Aux Sable Middle School has 1,178 students and Timber Ridge Middle School has 1,103 students.

At other schools, there's more elbow room. Indian Trail, the district's smallest and oldest middle school, has 839 students while Drauden Point, a newer school, has 816 students.

The board instructed Superintendent John Harper to address this issue in the spring. What does that mean? Attendance boundaries will be redrawn to make the enrollment more even across the district. So your child may be going to a different middle school next year.

FINAL EXAMS

After a very long discussion, the board decided to not to change the value of a final exam at the high schools.

School board member Michelle Smith wanted consistency among the four high schools as to the value assigned to final exams.

The board discussed parity among its high schools regarding final exams. Depending on what high school you attend in Plainfield School District, a final exam could impact the class grade by 10 percent or 20 percent.

The high schools decided a couple years ago that finals would count for no less than 10 percent, and no more than 20 percent of the semester grade. But each building has autonomy to decide what that means for themselves.

At Plainfield East, finals are worth 10 percent of the final grade. Plainfield Central sets it at a firm 20 percent.

Plainfield South and North allows between 10 and 20 percent, depending on course or department. For example, all algebra courses are worth the same percent because individual math teachers cannot set their own percentages, he said.

Harper said he would recommend against the principals meeting to come up with a number that would be even for the district. He said that issue should be sent back to the district's Curriculum Coordinating Council (CCC).

In the end, the board decided to let its curriculum coordinating council, consisting of teachers, parents and administrators, come up with plan that would address consistency among the schools.

So what does that mean? Each school will get to keep their current grading system until next year. In the meantime, the CCC will meet to come up with a solution.

NO INCREASE IN FEES FOR SCOUTS

Plainfield School Board approved new facility usage fees that will help offset costs subsidized by the district when organizations use its buildings and fields. However, the district made different arrangements for the Girls Scouts and Boy Scouts.

Originally, the district has planned to charge scouting groups and other nonprofit groups usage fees until local scout leaders protested, asking the district not to balance the budget on its backs.

At the October meeting, the board said it would consider a barter system of sorts: Community service hours for space. Scouts could pick up litter or help with landscape projects in lieu of rental fees.

But Plainfield School District administrators suggested another alternative at Wednesday's committee meeting: Putting the Scouts in their own category: Nonprofit, service-oriented youth organizations and groups that directly serve district students, such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

This group would not have to pay fees to use the facilities during the week, but would have to pay the annual administrative fee from $15 to $100, depending on how many days they rent facilities throughout the year. They would also have to pay facility usage fees and custodial fees for activities on school property outside normal working hours, such as the weekends. Organizations will also need to show evidence of their service hours on an annual basis.

PLAINFIELD -Plainfield School Board reversed its decision to give administrators four days of vacation during winter break after a heated discussion where the board president refused to let Superintendent John Harper tell his side of the story until after the vote.

School board member Mike Kelly reminded school board President Stuart Bledsoe of the Robert's Rules of Order and asked him to let Harper speak, but Bledsoe refused.

"There's a motion and a second. This board is in control, OK. Now, we'll call a vote,"
Bledsoe said Monday night.

"You are not going to let Dr. Harper talk? Kelly asked.

"Dr. Harper can talk after we vote," Bledsoe said.

john_harper.jpg
The board voted unanimously to rescind the work calendar for 12-month employees, which would have allowed those employees to take four vacation days between Christmas and New Year's Eve with pay, and without having to use vacation days. The 12-month employees will now have to use vacation days to take time off during that period, as has been done in the past.

Before the vote, the board had a heated discussion on who recommended the four paid vacation days. Kelly said the committee of three board members - Blesdoe, Rod Westfall and Michelle Smith - brought the 12-month work calendar and union agreement to the entire board with a recommendation from the committee as stated in the committee's minutes.

In September by a 6-0 vote, the school board approved a new work calendar that gave about 76 administrators four days of vacation to be used only during winter break. Those four days are valued at about $106,218 of work time.

Kelly stated that at the time it wasn't clear what the board was voting on. Kelly also said the four paid days was a recommendation from the board members and not administration.

But Bledsoe disagreed.

"Don't come across saying this is board driven. This is administrative driven," Bledsoe said.

Bledsoe blamed Harper for not bringing forth his concerns to the entire board earlier in the process. He said Harper only told the three board members at the committee meeting - personnel, policy and administration - that he could not recommend the four paid vacation days. Bledsoe chairs that committee.

"It's not his job to report your committee. It's your job to report your committee's findings," said Board member Dave Obrzut.

Without allowing Harper to speak, the board voted on the issue, reversing its original decision.

Kelly said the fact they are rescinding the vacation days doesn't mean that the board is not aware of all the extra time administrators put in for the district.

"We do appreciate what people do around here. This is just not the way it's going to get solved," Kelly said.

"I just want to apologize to the 12-month staff for this up and down rollercoaster that we've put them through for the past couple of months," Smith said.

Smith said she is changing her vote because staff is telling high school students they will not be allowed to practice for the tournament during those four days during winter break.

Roger Bonuchi also changed his original vote because of the high school athletes. He also said administrators put in an extra week's worth of work beyond their regular time by attending board meetings. He said the administators took a pay freeze and contributed to their health insurance benefits so they really took a pay cut.

Harper's side

After the board voted, Harper was allowed to comment and he said respectfully disagreed with Bledsoe's timeline.

"This story begins a year ago in December when (assistant superintendent) Darlene von Behren walked into my office between Christmas and New Year and informed me that she received a phone call from a board member saying that we should all go home and be with our families," he said.

"At that time I contacted the then-board president Mr. Westfall and explained why I could not accept that and why it was important that we stayed and worked," Harper said

The following year, the 12-month calendar showed up at the committee meeting.

"She described it as a project that the board members on the committee asked her to place on the agenda for discussion," Harper said.

In July, Harper attended the committee meeting.

"I expressed my concerns and lack of support. Nothing changed," he said.

Harper said when the four paid days came to a vote in September, Bledsoe had prepared comments about the calendar. However, Bledsoe told Harper that he wasn't going to read them because he didn't want to be misinterpreted.

Because of Bledsoe's comments, Harper said he didn't feel it was appropriate to comment to the board before the first vote. Now, he regrets not speaking up.

Harper stressed that the four paid vacation days during winter break was never placed on the agenda by administration.

"Nor was it ever endorsed by the superintendent," Harper said.

Harper said this recent miscommunication between board members shows that the committee process is not working. This year, the board had similar challenges with issues, such as artificial turf, textbooks and a new salary grid that would have given administrators raises.

To address the problem, Harper has suggested the board hold one committee meeting where the entire board is present to hear the administrators' reports instead of holding four committees consisting of three board members.

The committee of the whole would allow board members to hear business together at one time. This idea would help improve communications and understanding among all seven board members.

"I proposed to this board to change to a committee-of-the-whole because we've added one more item to that list," he said.

The board has decided to hold off on discussing this idea until their December self-evaluation meeting.


Plainfield school board President Stuart Bledsoe has told the teachers' union to KMA - (Kiss My A**) - on his Facebook page after hearing that union members have allegedly campaigned against him during their meetings at the schools.

"Really after standing up for the APT (Association of Plainfield Teachers) the past three years they are going to go after me. KMA. Watch how much support you get in the future. Look at your leadership they will lead you exactly where they want you to go," Bledsoe wrote on his Facebook page on Nov. 10th.

A person on his Facebook page asked him what he meant.

Bledsoe replied, "It just means the APT can hold their breath if they think I will be going out on a limb for them in the future. They are on their own."

Karie Beck, president of APT, took Bledsoe's Facebook comments to Plainfield Superintendent John Harper last week, saying the union has concerns.

"Our concern is this is what is being posted on a public forum," she said.

Beck also said she did not campaign during the union meeting, but informed members about the union's letters to the offices of Will County Regional Superintendent Jennifer Bertino and to Will County State's Attorney Jim Glasgow, regarding board member Roger Bonuchi's vote to give administrators four paid vacation days. The union thought that was a conflict of interest because his wife is an administrator. However, Bertino-Tarrant said Bonuchi's vote was not illegal or a conflict of interest.

Bledsoe disagreed with Beck's statement.

"They are campaigning. Every building is campaigning. ... It's personal attacks. I've done nothing to warrant personal attacks from the teachers' union," Bledsoe said. He would not say what the comments were.

"In their union meetings, they can say what they want, but if they are going to politick at their union meetings - that is against board policy and they will be held accountable for politicking on school grounds."

Bledsoe said he has heard that the union is telling teachers to vote against himself and Bonuchi and to vote for board member Dave Obrzut.

However, Bledsoe said the point is moot.

"I have no intention of running," Bledsoe said. "To put up with this for a longer period of time? No, not me."

SUBHEAD: Moving union meetings

Beck said starting next year the union will hold its officer's meetings off district property. She said the union is seeking people to run for school board, but is not campaigning on school property.

"We are trying to seek members that share collaborative efforts to improve the district," Beck said. "You don't want the us against them mentality because that will not get the best results."

Harper declined to comment on what actions he took regarding the complaints against the union for allegedly campaigning on school property and the union's complaint against Bledsoe's Facebook comments.

However, Harper did point out that board policy and state law prohibit political activities on district property and/or during compensated time.

"We want to emphasize the importance of the board, our two professional associations and the district administration working together in the coming weeks and months to address some very significant issues facing the district," Harper wrote in an e-mail.

SUBHEAD: Is this what we want?

Ann Bachman-Thomas, uniserv director for Illinois Education Association, questions Bledsoe's Facebook comments.

"We have always conducted ourselves in a professional way. What kind of leader do we have leading the fourth largest school district in Illinois? This is what we want?" asked
Bachman-Thomas said Bledsoe's comments didn't help morale which was already down.

There is a lot of anxiety among union members because of upcoming budget cuts, she said.

Harper is expected to make his recommendations to reduce the $6.7 million deficit before winter break.

"They are scared, angry, upset. ... They don't know who will be on the chopping block," Bachman-Thomas said.

SUBHEAD: Bledsoe violating ethics?
Bachman-Thomas said she believes Bledsoe is in violation of the school board's code of ethics for his inappropriate comments.

That policy which was revised in 2009, says:
- I will avoid any conflict of interest or the appearance of impropriety which could result from my position, and will not use my board membership for personal gain or publicity.
-I will take no private action that might compromise the board or administration and will respect the confidentiality of privileged information."

Bledsoe disagrees, saying he has few friends - 81 on his Facebook page and the majority of them are not teachers.

"I don't feel like I've done anything ethically wrong," Bledsoe said. " I felt their comments against me were unwarranted. I'm not a board member who is running for re-election. I'm not a board member who is standing in their way. I'm a board member who has supported them for the entire time I've been on the board.

It's not clear what actions can be taken against Bledsoe, if any.

"Our legal counsel does not see an unfair labor practice, because (board of education) members are allowed to make personal opinion statements against the union. It is not illegal, however we see it as unprofessional and anti-collaborative," Bachman-Thomas said.

The issue might be a concern to the Regional office of Education, Bachman-Thomas said.

However, Bertino-Tarrant said there is no action she can take regarding Bledsoe's Facebook comment.

"While I do not condone any actions that appear unprofessional, Mr. Bledsoe's authority as a school board member begins and ends at school board meetings and activities that relate as such," she wrote in an e-mail. "He needs to remember he is a public official in his community and his comments have more weight."

Bertino-Tarrant said being a school board member is a tough responsibility.

"Nearly all of the time you have people that love your decisions and the other half that do not," she wrote. "Board members are individuals that volunteer their time away from work, family, rest, etc. and are often scrutinized. In my opinion, while not the correct method--he appears frustrated by the process."

Bledsoe agrees he is upset and frustrated by the unjust comments.

"If they look back on my record, I can say with all pride, I am one of the few board members that have stood up for them on every account," Bledsoe said.

In March during last year's budget cuts, Bledsoe wrote on his Facebook page: "This school district has to stop (expletive) with peoples lives. It's just not right - going to do what I can but it will never be enough."

Joliet Township High School Board is looking at allowing indoor scoreboards that would advertise local businesses as a revenue generator.

If approved, it will be the first time the district is allowing advertising on its scoreboards, said Spokeswoman Kristine Schlismann.

Side Effects Inc, a Ohio company, has a 12-year-history of supplying high schools with the state-of-the-art scoreboards at no cost. The district will receive some money from the advertisements. The board is expected to vote on the issue at tonight's 7 p.m. meeting at the administration building, 300 Caterpillar Drive in Joliet.

The district's attorney, Tim Rathbun, has spent a great deal of time rewriting the contract to insure that district's rights on what and who is purchasing the advertisement space, said Assistant Superintendent Rich Pagliaro in a memo that was sent to the board.

So the question of the day: Which school district will copy JTHS?

Money is hard to come by these days. I can see other districts stealing this idea.

Before Superintendent Paul Swanstrom leaves Joliet Township High School District in June, I'm sure he'll be given plenty of awards and honors and maybe a retirement cake.

Paul_Swanstrom.jpg

He recently accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual "Celebration of Success" hosted by the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

The award is one of the Chamber's most prestigious honors bestowed upon community leaders and recognizes those who have made positive improvements for the future of the Joliet community.

"Dr. Swanstrom has changed the face of public education in Joliet," said Chamber President Russ Slinkard. "As superintendent of JTHS, he has maintained a strong focus towards preparing the district for its second century of service, while recognizing the significant contributions of board members, staff, and our community."

In his nine years of service to JTHS, Swanstrom has been instrumental in passing referendums to add facilities, which include two new field houses, updated science labs, additional classrooms and a new cafeteria at the West Campus.

In addition, air quality and restoration of the Central Campus resulted in new heating systems and temperature control for heating and cooling the century- old building.

"Joliet is truly the best place I could have ever come to," said Swanstrom during his acceptance speech. "I have been honored to work with wonderful people who have allowed me to collaboratively address issues in education that focus on helping our kids, who are our resource and future, be all that they can be. "

Community involvement has been a primary district initiative under Swanstrom's leadership.

"Dr. Swanstrom has worked tirelessly to improve communication, and has involved business and community leaders in the design and implementation of JTHS coursework, " Slinkard said.

"He has been an advocate for the development of the Academy Network Teams, and has worked to improve articulation between JTHS and its feeder elementary schools through the creation of Leadership for Educational Articulation and Planning, and the Joliet Region Interfaith Education Council," he said.

Debate over deficit

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By Catherine Ann Velasco
cvelasco@stmedianetwork.com
BOLINGBROOK - Superintendent John Harper asked the Plainfield School Board to decide whether they wanted to erase the $6.7 million deficit in one year or over a couple of years.
Back in September, the board met for 4.5 hours to address its deficit and how to eliminate it. Harper had asked for five to seven parameters, but they gave him two.
No. 1: Eliminate the entire deficit.
No. 2: Do not increase fees for extra-curricular and co-curricular activities except for the ones already planned.
However, Harper said Monday night that some members had different expectations, such as eliminating the deficit over two years.
"Certainly, if there is another direction from the board, we will address it accordingly, but it is important that I understand if the board is looking for a plan or they are looking for plans - plural - that extend beyond a year," Harper said.
Board members Mike Kelly and Michelle Smith were in favor of options.
"I want to see how much pain that $6.7 million is going to be," Kelly said. "We had a lot of pain last year and I'm looking to see if there is a way to ease that."
Smith wanted options in case she disagreed with some of the administration's recommendations. She asked if they should have a meeting to hash out whether they want to keep middle school sports or other programs before Harper gives a proposed deficit plan to the board.
"I would prefer that we do what we can to erase the budget this year," said board member Dave Obrzut.
Obrzut said if the board decides to take out a recommendation made by administration that the board should replace the cut with something else rather than send it back to Harper to come up with other options like they did last year when the board made about $22 million in cuts.
"If we want to be specific as a board we need to be specific. ... We should set these parameters right now and don't waste time," Obrzut said.
School board members Eric Gallt and Roger Bonuchi favored ending the deficit in one year. School board President Stuart Bledsoe said he preferred cutting the deficit in one year, but be given multiple options.
Board member Rod Westfall was frustrated that the state didn't paying its share in transportation costs so the district remains in a deficit.
"When does it end?" Westfall asked.
"It doesn't," Harper replied.
John Prince, assistant superintendent of business and operations, said he was in favor making the difficult decisions up front and that only waiting another year will add to the deficit.
In the end, the board agreed to its original parameters of ending the deficit in one year and not increasing student fees.
Currently, the district is conducting an online survey at www.psd202.org, asking the community what services and programs should not be reduced and which ones can be eliminated. So far, the district has receive 590 responses.
Harper expects to present to the board a deficit reduction plan by late fall or early winter. At that time, the district will conduct another survey.

Free coffee for a cause

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There's a fast-food chain giving out free coffees on Fridays. But here's a better way to get free cofee and help out the community.

Community members are encouraged to donate nonperishable food and toiletry items from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 11 at Plainfield East High School, 12001 S. Naperville Road in Plainfield.

The event is sponsored by the high school's student council and the Mother's Club.
Anyone who drops off donations will also receive a cup of java.

They are looking for donations of nonperishable food items and toiletry items like shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, toothbrushes, and toothpaste.

All items collected during the drive will be given out to Plainfield East High School families in need during the holidays.

So if you are driving around Plainfield on Dec. 11th and need a pick-me-up, bring something to donate and enjoy!

Here's an interesting press release from the office of Gov. Chris Christie in New Jersey.

We've heard about salary caps for athletes, but superintendents? New Jersey is moving toward superintendent pay based on the size of the district.

If a similar plan happened here, you wouldn't have a superintendent of a smaller district earning more than a superintendent of a larger district. That's what's happening now. With extra perks, New Lenox Superintendent Mike Sass earned more last year than Superintendent John Harper who leads the largest school district in the county and the fourth largest in the state.

So should superintendents be paid by the number of children they serve? What do you think?


Trenton, NJ - The Christie Administration today announced it is moving forward with a comprehensive plan to enact fiscal discipline and promote the prudent use of scarce property tax dollars by capping salaries for superintendents.

The regulations, announced in July, will result in a salary reduction for more than 360 school superintendents who serve school districts with low numbers of students.

"In these difficult economic times, when fewer resources are available for our schools, it is not acceptable for superintendents in districts with fewer than 1,000 students to be paid salaries of $150,000 and greater," Christie said.

"Capping pay to reasonable levels is a commonsense initiative that will end abuses that have been permitted for too long at the expense of our children's education. By bringing superintendent salaries in-line with district needs, we will be able to save millions in tax dollars and put that money back where it belongs - in the classrooms," Christie said.

About 70 percent of the state's school superintendents currently earn above the proposed salary caps, costing school districts a total of $9.8 million. Under the Governor's proposal, superintendents earning in excess of the cap would have their salaries brought in line with the cap after their current contracts expire.

Acting Education Commissioner Rochelle Hendricks said the Governor's proposal also introduces performance bonuses, which she said is an important reform in the way the state pays educators.

"Raises will no longer be automatic but will be earned, based on how students are performing in a school district,'' Hendricks said.

Local districts can develop criteria for how their superintendents can earn one-year incentives that will not count toward a superintendent's pension. The districts' performance standards and proposed merit pay increases must be based on the attainment of key educational objectives, such as a year-over-year improvement in student learning, and will be reviewed by the Executive County Superintendents.

"After the one-year incentive expires, the salary reverts back to its pre-bonus level," Acting Commissioner Hendricks explained. The Department and local school boards will determine new criteria so that superintendents can earn future one-year incentives if the performance of the district continues to improve.

To implement the pay caps, the Christie Administration will publish regulations in the Nov. 1 edition of the New Jersey Register. The regulations are available for review here: www.state.nj.us/education/paycaps.

The pay caps would link the size of a school district to the salary of a superintendent as follows:

Student Enrollment of Districts(s) Maximum

0-250 $125,000

251 - 750 $135,000

751 - 1,500 $145,000

1,501 - 3,000 $155,000

3,001 - 6,500 $165,000

6,501 - 10,000 $175,000*

*The Commissioner, on a per case basis, may approve a waiver of the maximum salary amount for districts with a total enrollment of 10,000 or more.

Superintendents may earn $10,000 more for each additional district they supervise, and they can receive an additional stipend of $2,500 if their district includes a high school.

School boards would not be permitted to increase a superintendent's base pay (for example, with longevity increases) beyond these salary caps. Additionally, no superintendent contract that includes a compensation package above these salary caps could be extended; at its expiration, the new compensation package of the superintendent would need to conform to this new policy.

The regulations are scheduled to take effect on Feb. 7.


While facing a $6.7 million deficit, Plainfield School Board voted to give about 76 administrators four days of vacation during winter break that is valued at about $106,218 of work time.

Since last summer, Superintendent John Harper has been against the paid vacation during winter break for 12-month employees, saying 10- and 11-month employees do not get the same benefit.

This school year as a cost-saving measure, administrators' salary has been frozen. The four days of paid vacation during winter break could be perceived as a salary increase , Harper said.

Spokesman Tom Hernandez emphasized that 12-month employees will not receive an increase in salary. If they take four days off between Christmas and New Year's Day, they will be paid and not have to use their vacation time. Certified administrator get 25 days of vacation and non-certified get 20 days of vacation.

So that means they get an extra four days to use in that one week and they don't lose their 20 or 25 days of vacation.

The folks who can take advantage of this perk are: The superintendent, assistant superintendents, principals, assistant principals, certified directors and assistant directors, director of community relations, coordinators, network administrator, district technology administrator, web designer, director of custodial services, director of facilities, technology support specialist, assistant director of facilities and high school athletic directors.

For the record, Harper, Hernandez and Margie Bonuchi, district technology administrator, have said they plan to work during that time so they won't take advantage of the four vacation days.

For the story read:
Herald-News story on paid days


Scream High Class of 2010 did well.

What was just a dream two months ago, became a huge hit and a successful event in a short amount of time, said Ken Erdey, the vice-chair of fundraising for Plainfield School District 202's Foundation For Excellence.

Folks wanting a scare brought in more than $6,000 for the Foundation which supports the students and teachers of Plainfield School District. About 2,000 folks attended.

Way to go!

Catherine Ann Velasco


Catherine Ann Velasco has covered education and children and family issues for The Herald-News since 1997. She keeps an eye on schools in Will and Grundy counties. Her best stories always come from readers’ tips or public comment during a board meeting. So if there’s some good news or bad news at your school – she’d like to know. Join the conversation about the twists and turns and surprises that pop up on her beat. And, find some extra news that she just can’t wait to tell you.

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