Lake Forest School District 67, Board of Education request for transparency. Similar request made to Lake Forest School District #115 Board of Education

November 19, 2010

As a Liberty Leader at the Illinois Policy Institute, I am working with the Institute and over 1,000 volunteer Liberty Leaders to conduct Local Government Transparency audits of every level of government as a way to prevent corruption and improve the democratic system.

The Illinois Policy Institute has developed a 10-Point Transparency Checklist to hold government and elected officials accountable to citizens and taxpayers and provide a “best practices” framework to improve government transparency.

State and Federal governments have begun the trend towards more transparency.  Now county governments, local municipalities, and even school district are beginning to hear citizen demands to open up their financial books to public scrutiny.

As a citizen of Lake Bluff and a taxpayer I am concerned why Lake Forest High School District 67 ranks first in spending per student, $23,789 per student.  I am likewise concerned why the kindergarten through 8th grade schools in Lake Forest also are among the top 15 out of 386 school districts in spending per student in the entire state.  The $23,789 figure for Lake Forest High School was obtained from the new data now posted on the State website.  The average cost per student is $11,197 for all schools in the state, making Lake Forest more than double the average school district.  

Regarding the lower grades under the supervision of Lake Forest School Board #67, the data presented lists $14,047 as the amount spent per student, almost $300 more than the prior year. The site does not break down K-8 versus high schools.  The average cost per pupil remains at $11,197 from K through 12.   
Here is the link to the Illinois interactive report card:

Are taxpayers really getting the biggest bang for the buck in educational advances and educational experiences to justify spending an amount per pupil which far exceeds the state average in grades K – 12? 

The Illinois Policy Institute’s Ten-Point Transparency Checklist follows:
1.    Elected & Administrative Officials: Contact Information


2.    Meeting Information: Calendar (Future) Minutes & Board Packets (Past)


3.    Public records: FOIA submission & FOIA Officer Contact Information


4.    Budgets: General Fund and Special Projects


5.    Financial Audits: Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports


6.    Expenditures: Checkbook Register and Credit Card Receipts


7.    Salary & Benefits: Wages, Salary, Overtime, Health, Dental, Life, Pension, etc.


8.    Contracts: Union, Private Contractors, Vendors


9.    Lobbying: Taxpayer-Funded Lobbying Associations


10.  Taxes & Fees: Sales, Property, Income, and Miscellaneous Taxes, fees on residents & businesses, etc.

There are many things that must be fixed on your website for more transparency.  The public (taxpayers) expect and deserve this information for review and also a time frame when the items I’ve noted can be accomplished:

~Many times the agendas for all Board and Committee meetings are not posted on the website 48 business hours in advance, as required by law.

~ The charter for the Tri-District Committee is disabled on the website.

~There are no minutes posted for the Tri-District Committee since Oct, 2009.

~The 10/14/10 Tri-District meeting did not appear on the 2010-11 Committee meeting schedule.

~There are no members listed for the Audit Committee.

~There are no minutes posted for the Audit Committee for this year or last year.

~There is no meeting on the 2009-10 or 2010-11 schedule for the Audit Committee.

~There are no minutes posted for the Budget Committee.

~There is no date scheduled for the Budget Committee to meet.

~There are no minutes posted for the Joint Shared Services Committee since Jan. 2008.

~All the documents/packets prepared for all the meetings of the Board and its committees should be posted in advance of the meetings on the website.  

The Illinois Policy Institute further invites you to sign its “Transparency Pledge.”

I look forward to hearing your response and seeing the requested results. 


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