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North Suburban Symphony Presents 25th Anniversary Celebration

November 11, 2013 by Leave a Comment

Rock group members:  Front Row:  Matt Berger, Guitar; Matt Erickson, Vocals; Aaron Rhoden, Keyboard. Back Row:  Michael Huhard, Drums; Art Bielski, Guitar.  Not pictured, Egon Doppenberg, Bass

Rock group members: Front Row: Matt Berger, Guitar; Matt Erickson, Vocals; Aaron Rhoden, Keyboard. Back Row: Michael Huhard, Drums; Art Bielski, Guitar. Not pictured, Egon Doppenberg, Bass

Sponsored Post: The North Suburban Symphony, based in Lake Forest at Gorton Community Center, invites the community to attend and participate in a celebration of its 25th Anniversary Season on Sunday, November 17th, at 4:00 p.m.

This is Ron Arden’s 7th season as music director and conductor of this fine community orchestra. Musicians travel from as far away as Chicago, McHenry, Morton Grove, and Wisconsin to be part of the orchestra. Two of the symphony’s youngest players are students at Lake Forest High School, Hannah Hart, principal bassist, and Niko Kyriacou, 3rd trombonist. All total, there are four student musicians who perform with the North Suburban Symphony despite their demanding school schedules.

The theme of the North Suburban Symphony 25th Anniversary Season — “Historic Past – Dynamic Future!” — was brought home, in part, at its initial concert of its 2013-2014 Concert Season on October 6th, when the NSS performed the program from its first concert in October of 1988. As firm believers in the positive role of community orchestras, it was a group of former members of the LFS who founded the North Suburban Symphony after the LFS elected to go professional. Several of its founding members are still dedicated and enthusiastic musicians of the North Suburban Symphony.

Expect to be blown away on Nov. 17th with what will be the NSS’s official celebration of its twenty-fifth anniversary year. The title of the concert, “Symphonic Explosion,” is but a hint of what will occur, but it is the substance of the event that will convince both young and age that here is a concert you can’t afford to miss.

A group of seven rock musicians, including two guitarists, a keyboardist, a percussionist, a bassist and a vocalist, will be on stage to perform with the full NSS to provide an afternoon of rock classics from the 80′s. Featured will be rock tunes by the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Chicago, Moody Blues, and much more. Among the selections chosen for your enjoyment are “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “California Dreaming,” “Stairway to Heaven,” “Horse with no Name,” and “Long Train Running.”

The husband of the NSS’s principal bassoonist, LoriLee Bieski, plays guitar with the group, Art Bieski. The drummer, Michael Hubbard, is the vice president for a Fortune 500 technology company. Egon Doppenberg, bass, is a neurosurgeon by day. Matt Berger is a composer as weill as a Chicago guitarist. Each musician brings to the group his own unique background outside their passion for performing classic rock together.

There is no doubt that your musical appetite will be satisfied, but there is still more to enjoy on November 17th. To satisfy your basic appetite, tasting stations will be set up that are sure to please the gourmet in us all. Participating will be The Grille on Laurel, Authentico, Francesca’s Intimo, Grille No. 43, Market House, and Bent Fork. For those of you who enjoy having “bubbly” with your food, libations will be available.

A live auction will be held during the concert. When you’re not enjoying the music or the food, a silent action will offer items to bid on for your future enjoyment.

Perhaps the most exciting event of the concert for members of the North Suburban Symphony will be the unveiling of our new name, as the new name is unknown to most members. One lucky concert attendee’s ticket will be drawn and the holder will get to unveil our new name.

Due to the popularity of this concert, we encourage you to purchase tickets in advance for what really will amount to a “Symphonic Explosion.” If you wait, we cannot guarantee day-of ticket availability. Tickets are $35.00 each, but the price does grant you access to all of the afternoon’s festivities. Order tickets at our webssite: WWW.NORTHSUBSYMPHONY.ORG or call (847) 295-1035.

We hope to see you on Sunday, November 17th at Gorton Center in Lake Forest, and likewise at our two remaining concerts of our 25th Anniversary Season: “Community Inspiration” on March 16, 2014, when we will partner with orchestra students at Lake Forest High School, and on May 4, 2014 in a concert titled, “Imagining the Next 25 Years.”

Not to be missed is an extra concert, the first after the unveiling of our new name, a Holiday Concert that will be held at Gorton Center in partnership with Gorton Center and what is still known as the North Suburban Symphony on Sunday, December 22nd at 4:00 p.m.

Visit www.northsuburbansymphony.org for more information.

Submitted by Nancy J. Thorner, cellist for the North Suburban Symphony

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Dt.common.streams.StreamServer.clsBy Nancy Thorner and Carl Lambrecht – 

In any school district superintendents come and go.  Some stay longer in a position than do others; however, the position often offers a very generous salary plus a sizable compensation package.

Consider Superintendent Dr. Harry Griffith (at right) who retired on June 30, 2012, as superintendent of Lake Forest Districts 67 and 115.  Hired by Lake Forest District 67 in 1994 from a school district in Texas to become superintendent, Griffith’s shared service superintendency arrangement began in 2004.  A year before retirement Dr. Griffith was already the highest paid superintendent in Illinois with a total compensation package amounting to $430,000, more than that of the Chicago and Milwaukee school chiefs and the governor of Illinois.

Upon retirement Griffith’s basic salary mushroomed to $363,000. Now in retirement Dr. Griffith was listed as number 58 in the top 100 state pensions covering the entire state of Illinois in 2013, with an annual pension of $231,109.  Not to be overlooked is that Griffith will receive an automatic guaranteed increase of 3% per year until his death from the Teacher Retirement System (pension fund) in Illinois.

To replace Dr. Griffith as superintendent of Lake Forest Districts 67 and 115, a search was conducted outside both school districts.  Michael Simeck was chosen and assumed his position on July 1, 2012.  Prior to his hiring Simeck was superintendent at Bloomfield Hills Schools in Michigan.  Simeck’s basic salary during the 2009 – 2010 school year in Michigan (the last school year available) was $165,000. (FOIA request, Feb. 38, 2012).  Lake Forest’s contract awarded  Michael Simeck a starting salary of $230,000, with an extra $30,000 thrown in for good measure because Simeck was managing two districts.  But in Michigan’s Bloomfield Hills Schools Simeck had likewise been superintendent over two school districts.  Simeck’s very generous contract also included a $500 a month car allowance, a $30,000 annual contribution to the Teachers’ Retirement System, a $750,000 life insurance policy, plus an agreement to share moving expenses of $15,000.

The price to hire superintendents to manage Lake Forest’s two micro (small) school districts did not come on the cheap, even for an upscale community like Lake Forest in Lake County, considering that Simeck will oversee approximately 4,000 students with the aid of assistant superintendents and other directors.  On the other hand, the NYC Chancellor of Schools oversees 1.1 million students and earns less than $130,000.  To be fair, many superintendent salaries are quite generous in northern Cook County and in its collar counties of DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will.

It was Highland Park resident, Carl Lambrecht, who informed me that only after a short time David L. Behlow, Ph.D. is retiring as superintendent of North Shore School District #112.  Lambrecht regularly monitors the school districts that serve his community.  District 113 includes Highland Park and Deerfield High Schools, while District 112 has 12 schools located in Highland Park and Highwood serving 4,609 students in grades PK through 8th. Both school districts are located just south of Lake Forest.

Mr. Lambrecht suggested that it would be prudent for the District 112 school board to evaluate its personnel to select one among them who could assume the role of superintendent.  In Lambrecht’s opinion, it is not likely that an administrator chosen outside the school system would do any better than one chosen within the ranks of the district.  Among the hundreds of teachers in District 112, there are a number of principals and assistant superintendents, and even teachers, who would be qualified to take on the superintendency position.

Continuing with his thoughts Carl Lambrecht opined:  Why not open the position of superintendent to all staff members in Districts 112 and 113?  After all it is a given that those hired to work in Districts 112 and 113 have fine credentials in keeping with the fine quality of teachers and administration located by the search firm employed to fill positions.  And let’s not forget the many fine executives in Highland Park who could competently step into the administrative job.  Even a member of the school board might fill the position?

Although North Shore School District 112, like Township High School District 113, is doing an excellent job for some of its students, for others it is failing.  According to the school report card of North Shore School District 112 two of its schools are failing. (Read pages 17 and 18).

Regarding School District #113, Highland Park High School has received a failing grade for about nine years.  Its report card can be read on pages 11,12, and 13. Although Deerfield High School does fail from time to time, it is not at this time.

Might teachers and students who are doing well be having success in spite of the administration and the Illinois School Code, and, if so, why might this be so?

In the past twenty years there has been an increase in the cost to operate school systems in this nation, yet the quality of education has not improved.  Consider how Ron Clark came to New York City as a new, young teacher, taking a position at one of the worst schools in the city.  Being the new teacher that he was, Mr. Clark was given the worst class in his school, only to be recognized as having one of the best classes by the end of the school year.

As a new teacher in a bad New York City school, Ron Clark made a real change in the performance of his students.  In so doing Ron Clark proved that credentials, salary and tenure do not automatically make for a fine teacher or superintendent.  If you want more details about how Ron Clark outperformed teachers with tenure and many years of experience, there is a DVD and books in the Highland Park Public Library to check out.  If the material isn’t available in your library, request that it be purchased or read the amazing success story of Ron Clark at  “The Inspired Teacher.”

In no way is Carl Lambrecht implying that a superintendent shouldn’t receive a decent compensation; however, there are many superintendents with salaries of less than $100,000. The Regional Superintendent of Lake County Schools, Roycealee Wood, makes a salary of $120,000.  Governor Quinn’s salary is $170,000, and he is one of the highest paid governors in this nation!

Why is it that despite the decrease in school populations, the number of administrators continue to increase relative to the number of students and teachers?  At a time when computers have reduced administrative work in the private sector, it makes sense for schools to follow suit.  After all, the key person in a school is the teacher.  In a medical office it is the doctor, not the administrator.

Two questions are in order:  1. Why should a supeintendent for District 112, or any school district in Illinois, earn more than the governor of Illinois?  2. Why does a micro district such as District 112, as compared to a mega school district as found in Chicago and New York City, need so many high paid administrative positions?

Wouldn’t it makes sense to fill the open position of superintendent in District 112, and within other school districts, from within the ranks of its administrators and staff, rather than bringing in an outsider with a compensation package far grander than is called for and which must be funded by taxpayers?

Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 06:30 AM | Permalink

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Thorner

By Nancy Thorner – 

The prestigious Lake Forest High School (District 115) located in Lake County, IL, has had its share of publicity, and not all good, in the past year.

Starting in the fall of 2012, Lake Forest High School teachers went on strike, walking the picket line, even though their average base salary was $106,500, along with other perks such as family health insurance, annuities, pension contribution payments, etc.

Ending the year was the arrest of the former theater manager at Lake Forest High School, District 115, Benjamin Davidson, for sex related crimes. Since then Davidson has pleaded not guilty to 18 sex crimes in the Lake County Criminal Court in Waukegan.

Now newly-elected LFHS School Board member Ted Moorman of Lake Forest starts off his term with an unnecessary cloud hanging over him.  Moorman, who ran as an independent on a platform advocating more Board oversight, transparency and accountability, has been sued by former Board president Sharon Golan in connection with statements he allegedly made during his election campaign.

As reported in the Gazebo News, Golan’s lawsuit accuses Moorman of defamation and invasion of privacy and seeks $500,000 in damages for allegedly causing Golan to experience severe emotional distress, mental anguish, embarrassment, and injury to her reputation.

Golan’s lawsuit claims that Moorman made false and misleading oral and written statements concerning her participation on the Selection Committee for the construction manager for the $50-million-plus renovation of LFHS.  The contract was awarded to Pepper Construction, a company owned by the uncle and cousins of Golan’s husband, Stephan Golan.  Bringing family ties full circle, Mrs. Golan is represented in her defamation lawsuit by her husband’s law firm, Golan & Christie.

As an outsider looking in, it appears that Golan’s lawsuit could be nothing but a very expensive exercise in hair-splitting.  Golan indisputably put herself in a position that smacks of, at the very least, an appearance of impropriety.  She does not dispute the essentials of the matter:  1) that her husband has close familial ties to Pepper Construction; 2) that she accepted a position on the Selection Committee; and 3) that Pepper’s bid was selected by the Board.

What Golan does dispute are the peripheral facts of whether or not she “publicly” disclosed her familial relationship to Pepper and whether or not her immediate family had any financial interest in Pepper.  Golan claims that she disclosed her family ties to her fellow Board members once she learned of Pepper’s bid, but it is debatable whether this constitutes a “public” disclosure.  Is the Board considered the public?  Was the disclosure made during a public meeting or was it made behind closed doors?

Golan further claims that the Board’s lawyer gave her the green light to continue her participation in the selection process because her immediate family had no financial interest in Pepper.  Did the Board’s lawyer do an independent investigation of Golan’s financial interests or did he accept her assertion that she had none?  Did the Board’s lawyer explore whether Golan’s husband’s law firm represents Pepper, in which case the contract award could well have been at least an indirect financial benefit to her immediate family?

Regardless of whether Golan’s disclosure can fairly be characterized as “public” and regardless of whether Golan had any financial interest in Pepper, the uncontested facts reveal that her involvement on the Selection Committee may have been inappropriate.  Indeed, Golan’s act of recusing herself from the final Board vote on the award showed her hesitation.

The Golan/Moorman lawsuit does bring front and center a fundamental problem that exists on many school boards throughout Illinois.  Candidates for school board positions are chosen and supported by local caucuses, but not before vetting has been done to make certain the candidates are in tune with what the administration and superintendent wish to happen.  This is why very seldom does an independent candidate get elected to a board position, especially one who will not toe the line or rubber stamp every issue brought up for a vote.

Having a reformer like Ted Moorman on the Lake Forest District 115 School Board is a breath of fresh air.  For too long school board members of Lake Forest District 115 have functioned as “yes” men and women for whatever the superintendent desired.

Author’s Disclaimer: Mrs. Thorner endorsed Ted Moorman for Lake Forest District 115 School Board in the recent election.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 08:30 AM | Permalink

 

Submitted  by the North Suburban Symphony by Nancy Thorner:

Nick Arden

Nikolas Arden

The North Suburban Symphony, a community orchestra based in Lake Forest and sponsored by the Lake Bluff Park District, will hold its final concert of the 2012 – 2013 concert season, ITALIAN PASSION, on Sunday, May 5th at 4 p.m. at Gorton Community Center, 400 East Illinois Road, Lake Forest, IL, its 6th season with Ron Arden as Music Director.

What better way to celebrate the upcoming summer season as thoughts of travel enter your mind, either real or imagined, than to hear music by Italian composers.

Featured first on the program will be Antonio Vivaldi’s “Concerto for Four Violins.” Nicknamed “The Red Priest” because of his red hair and his priesthood in the Catholic Church, Vivaldi ranks among the most popular and widely recorded of Baroque composers. First Prize Concerto Competition Winner, Aidan Perreault, a freshman at Niles North High School, will assume a leading role as a violinist in the Vivaldi selection.

Skipping 200 years in times, we recognize Italian composer Ottorino Respighi who was born July 9, 1869. It was his Respighi’s musicological interest that led him to compose music based on the music of the 16th, 17th, and 18th century. To be performed, “Ancient Airs and Dances Suite 1,” has four delightful movements based on Renaissance lute pieces by the father of Galilei and other anonymous composers.

Since Italy and opera seem to go together, no program would be complete without including familiar operatic selection. For this purpose four very talented vocalists were enlisted for your listening delight. Andrea Hanchey Pokrefke, soprano, is a native to Richmond, Virginia; Carol Carpenter, mezzo soprano, hails from Ann Arbor; lyric tenor Cole Seaton is an Idaho native; and Nikolas Arden, baritone, is the son of music director Ron Arden and concertmaster, Cynthia Arden who currently resides in Chicago.

Opera arias featuring a trio of noted operatic composers will be performed, Verdi, Rossini, Mozart. At first glance Mozart might seem like the “black sheep” as he lacks Italian heritage as do both Verdi and Rossini. It was, however, between 1769 and 1773 that the young Mozart and his father Leopold Mozart made three journeys to Italy.

All four soloists will join voices to sing, accompanied by the North Suburban Symphony, Rossini’s “Offertorio”; “Bella figlia” by Verdi; and the famous No. 12 Quartett from “Rigoletto.” The fourth operatic selection, Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte,” will feature mezzo soprano Carol Carpenter and baritone Nikolas Arden

A Complimentary Wine and Cheese Reception will immediately follow the concert in recognition and in celebration of the NSS’s upcoming 2013 – 2014 25th Anniversary Concert Season. Stay tuned for some exciting happening!

Tickets: Adults $18; Seniors/Students $10; Children under 12, Free with adult ticket purchase. Tickets available at the door. Call for information: (847) 234-4150. Website: northsuburbansymphony.org

 

 

There must be a bit of magic connected to Lake Forest’s Tree Lighting Ceremony, for why would individuals return year after year to observe the big tree in Market Square be set ablaze with glowing lights? It is definitely the magic of the season that causes children’s faces to glow in anticipation of a visit from Santa.

Then to, the Holiday Season is a time of hustle and bustle for adults, with interludes of inspiring music and festive occasions with family and friends, all leading up to Christmas Day, which to Christians signifies the birth of Jesus.

Tradition is what drew me once again to Lake Forest’s 29th Tree Lighting Ceremony. Bundled up against the chilly wind and nippy temperature, I was eager to see what Art Below Zero would be sculpting in ice this year. Watching Max Zuleta carve Angel Wings out of ice, my thoughts wandered back to the day before and the seasonal Thanksgiving spring-like temperature, thinking at the time that similar weather would not have been kind to Max Zueta’s ice sculpture creations . http://www.ArtBelowZero.net

As tradition would have it, Ermanno Amidei, owner of the alley-like market place behind the formerly Marshall Field’s building, was once again roasting chestnuts with helper, Domenico Plandri. You are missing a real treat if you have never tasted a roasted chestnut! You can experience this culinary treat by visiting Lake Bluff’s Holiday Celebration next Saturday for a repeat of Emanno Amidei’s chestnut roasting.

Feeling the need to warm my hands I ducked into Talbots, but not for very long before hearing “Ho, Ho, Ho” which could only mean one thing: Santa was making his way to Market Square and greeting children along the way, eager for Santa to lend them his ear. I watched as Mrs. Claus carefully arranged a blanket on Santa’s listening bench so kiddies could sit comfortably beside Santa.

New this year was Raging Kitchen, hired to provide refreshments for the event. Through inquiry I learned that a Raging Kitchen Food Truck can roll up to your home to park, with a chef on board, to cook and then serve some jaw dropping, awe inspiring dishes with menus that change with the season. Raging Kitchens also does private catering and corporate events. Lines were long for the freshly baked donuts being handed out in small bags to each person from the Raging Kitchen truck.

With darkness approaching, I knew it was time to walk to the site of the sing-along on Western Avenue across from the fountain, led by Timothy Haskell, Director of Choral Music at Lake Forest High School, with his students, who freely participated even while on Thanksgiving break. It was a joy to see the enthusiasm of the students. How young they seemed to me, yet at one time I likewise felt so old, yet in reality was so young! This is Tim Haskell’s 27th year as Director of Choral Music at Lake Forest High School.

Prior to the final chorus selection, all eyes were directed to a platform erected to the right of the choir, Mayor James J. Cowhey, Jr., with his wife and three children, mounted the stage on which stood the old Lake Forest Railroad switch stored throughout the year at the Lake Forest’s Municipal Building. Cowhey’s daughter had the honor of switching on the lights.

With Lake Forest now festooned with lights, Tim Haskell led the chorus in the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah, another tradition, having inviting all in the audience who had sung this munificent choral work in the past as LFHS students to join the chorus.

With the singing of this glorious choral work, Lake Forest’s 29th Tree Lighting Ceremony became history, until another year when tradition mandates that Lake Forest will hold its much anticipated 30th Tree Lighting Ceremony.

 

From the North Suburban Symphony:  by cellist, Nancy J. Thorner

north suburban symphony

Internationally acclaimed pianist Susan Merdinger of Highland Park to perform for North Suburban Symphony

The North Suburban Symphony, a thriving community orchestra in Lake Forest in association with the Lake Bluff Park District, will present the first concert of its 24th Concert Season on Sunday, October 7, at 4:00 p.m. at the Gorton Community Center Auditorium, at 400 E. Illinois Road, Lake Forest. Ron Arden, Music Director and Conductor, is beginning his sixth season with the NSS.

During the 2012 – 2013 concert season the NSS will travel around the world in a musical tour of America, Germany, Russia, and Italy. Each of these countries holds a special place in the history of music and in the hearts of all musicians on the symphonic concert stage. You will hear standard classical works alongside jazz, ballet , and opera with wonderful soloists book-ending the four stops of the orchestra’s musical tour.

It is appropriate that the first stop of our musical tour on October 7th should be in America, with a concert entitled American Spirit — A Celebration of Jazz and Symphonic Pops celebrating the genius of musical greats George Gershwin, Leroy Anderson, and Morton Gould.

Featured soloist on the program will be internationally acclaimed pianist Susan Merdinger of Highland Park, who will perform George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” which combines elements of classical music with jazz-influenced effects. “Rhapsody in Blue” has since become one of the most popular of all American concert works since its premier in 1924 by bandleader Paul Whiteman New York city with Gershwin playing the piano. The clarinet solo at the beginning of the “Rhapsody in Blue” is sure to capture your attention as performed by principal clarinetist, Scott Schappe, who is a full time Associate Professor of Physics at Lake Forest College.

Among her many accomplishment, Ms. Merdinger is a First Prize Winner of the 2012 Bradshaw and Buono International Piano competition, and a winner of the Artists International Alumni Winners Prize and the 2011 IBLA Grand Prize Competition “Special Liszt Award. She has also performed as a collaborative pianist with principal members of the New York Philharmonic, the New Jersey Symphony, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Live performances include WQXR, WFMT, Belgian National Radio, BBC Television and in major concert halls such as Carnegie Weill Recital Hall, Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall, and the Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center and Fullerton Hall at the Art Institute of Chicago. Merdinger received her formal musical education at the Yale School of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, the Westchester Conservatory of Music, and the Ecole Normale de Musique in Fontainebleau, France. She is on the Piano Faculty of the New Music School of Chicago.

Leroy Anderson built a career by composing sophisticated short works for orchestra such as “Sleigh Ride” (a Christmas-time favorite) and “The Typewriter.” Compositions to be performed by Anderson on Oct. 7th are “Waltzing Cat,” “Syncopated Clock,” and “Old Mac Donald.” Anderson was all set to take a job as a language instructor upon graduation from Harvard. Thanks to conductor Arthur Fiedler, Anderson was encouraged to compose and continued on with a career in music. This was especially expressed in a long collaboration with Fiedler and the Boston Pops. The world is richer for it.

The third American composer to be featured is Morton Gould. During his long life Gould was celebrated as a composer for Broadway, film, and television, as well as the concert stage. Gould’s “American Salute” (Based on “When Johnny comes Marching Home”) opens this concert. It was written during World War I I and since then has become Gould’s most popular work. Morton Gould attended a performance of his “American Salute” by the United States Military Academy Concert Band on the last evening of his life.

Ending this grand celebration will be “Salute to the Big Bands” featuring well known standards like “April in Paris”, “Pennsylvania 6, 5,000″, and many more. Sure to set your foot a tappin’, you will be transported back to the era of big bands without ever having to leave your seat!

Bring the entire family and friends to an afternoon of music that is planned to please both young and old – and all those in between.

Tickets prices: $18.00 for adults – $10 for Seniors/Adults – Children under 12 are admitted free with a paying adult.

Ticket can be ordered ahead of time by calling 847-295-1035 or purchased at the door on the day of the concert.

Check out the NSS website at www.northsuburbansymphony.org

Thorner: Lake Forest teachers continue strike while paid $30k more than average

Published at Illinois Review on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2o12

As a resident of Lake Bluff and a taxpayer, part of my property taxes go to fund Lake Forest School District 115, where high school teachers are now on strike and can be seen picketing in front of their state-of-the-art Lake Forest High School facility along McKinley Road in Lake Forest. Teachers from other school districts joined the picket line on Monday, Sept. 17 to show their union solidarity.

My concern lies with how the board is handling replacements. I assumed that the board was hiring replacements last week when Lake Forest High School students had three days off from school.

Now it appears that school is in session today (9/17) but not with the usual class instruction. The board said they will be providing “quality offerings” and giving passports rather than simply attending their scheduled classes.

If District 115 does not hire replacement teachers, then it will have no choice but to cave, as it stands to reason that kids simply cannot keep missing normal instruction.  I hope the board is presently lining up teachers for jobs and that they are being hired.

News of the LFHS District 115 teacher strike was discussed at WLS-AM 890 yesterday morning (9/17) with Dan Proft and John Kass of the Tribune.  Kass was a substitute host at WLS-AM during the 9:00-11:00 a.m. time slot.

Charles Greiss, head of the LF teacher union was interviewed by Dan Proft during his 8:00 a.m. morning gig at WLS-890.  According to Charles Greiss, Lake Forest has plenty of money in reserve to pay teachers more.  Furthermore, since the board hired the teachers that are now on strike the district can afford to honor what the union is requesting.

When Dan asked if the teachers at LFHS are worth $30,000 more than what is the average high school teacher salary in IL, Charles Greiss, whose base salary was almost $150,000 during the 2011-2012 school year, would only say that he had come from business to teach at LFHS and how teachers at LFHS must be paid more so the very best teachers can be hired for our kids.

Lisa Black, a reporter at the Chicago Tribune, must be complimented for her excellent followup articles, in collaboration with other Tribune reporters, in covering the latest strike activity in the almost daily Tribune accounts.

The Chicago and the Lake Forest Teacher strike went national on Sunday (9/16) at the American Thinker, a prestigious website with Thomas Lifson as editor.  Now Lake Forest is know throughout this nation for the absurd nature of its strike. No longer is the Chicago strike taking all the wind out of the sails.  The Lake Forest situation now is getting the attention that it deserves.

The heat must be kept on for LF Board #115 to toe the line.  The powerful influence of the IEA (NEA) must be confronted for who it is or else education in the state of IL will remain controlled by an organization that has become too powerful — doing little to advance educational standards here in Illinois — with a platform that vehemently opposes school vouchers and home schooling.

Education should be in control of local school districts, not vested in the IEA, of which LFHS teachers are members.