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'Threat of Violence' Brings Police to D219 Board Meeting

Resident to school board: "I am not a terrorist. You guys are over sensitive."

Residents were greeted by uniformed Skokie officers carrying metal-detecting wands prior to entering District 219's board meeting on Monday night. Attendees were also subjected to a bag search. 

“District 219 received a threat of violence in connection with tonight’s meeting,” District 219 board president Robert Silverman said prior to the meeting. “In response and in consultation with the Skokie Police Department we put in place some extra security just as we do in our schools.”

The threat was received after property tax bills were sent out last week. While the amount of property tax revenue the district is receiving this year is set to grow by 3.13 percent, some homeowners saw the amount they are paying to the district jump by 13 percent or more.

Morton Grove resident Ron Nash, who has lived in the district for 45 years, addressed the board about the property tax bills, but started his remarks by saying, “I am not a terrorist. You guys are over sensitive.”

In a brief interview after making his statement, Nash, a senior citizen who uses a cane to get around, said he knows the added security was for him. He called the district more than once to talk about his tax bill, and was told each time that he could attend the meeting July 9. In one of those phone calls, he said, he asked if they would have someone using a security wand to make sure no one got hurt.

“I thought that was a reasonable thing,” he said.

But it was enough to draw a visit to his home from the Skokie Police, and to have two Skokie police officers in the lobby of the district office at the beginning of the meeting. The officers politely declined to comment or to be photographed.

“All this is for me,” he said. “It’s an overreaction.”

When he spoke, Nash told the board they should be cutting back, not expanding programs in these hard times. He also asked how to fire the school board and how to get the elementary and high school districts combined to eliminate duplicated administrative costs.

Administrators at District 219 are among the highest paid in the state, The district also has the second highest cost per pupil in the state - about $24,000. In comparison, the Illinois average is half that, coming in at $11,197. Meanwhile,

Silverman said he was “shocked” to see the amount he is paying to District 219 after it jumped 13 percent this year. He asked the district’s business office to explain why individuals’ bills went up when the amount of property taxes collected is capped at the increase in the consumer price index plus new growth. Last year’s CPI increase was 1.5 percent.

“What’s going on is a massive shift in our equalized assessed valuation from industrial to residential,” Silverman said.

In 2000, 44 percent of the property taxes were paid by individual residential taxpayers and the rest was paid by industrial and commercial property owners. By 2006, 50 percent of the tax base was residential, and in the latest assessment, it was 59 percent.

That means while the district is not collecting much more than before, a much bigger share is coming from homeowners. In January of this year, the school board

“This is a huge shift,” Silverman said. “We’re doing everything we can, but we cannot control the shift of the tax base. Who do you go to complain about this? I don’t know.”

In response to Nash’s comment about the need to cut programs, Silverman noted that the district’s tentative 2012-2013 budget cuts the operating expenditure per pupil.

“The district has been very prudent in how much we’re levying and how we’re spending,” Silverman said.

District 219 includes  and  high schools.

Will Stokes July 13, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Oh for heavan's sake, while you two quibble about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin -- don't you see what's going on here? A 76 year old handicapped Morton Grove taxpayer makes an offhanded comment about the citizens storming the Bastille and armed Skokie Police officers show up at his (Morton Grove) door. Then Skokie's armed government agents institute a TSA-styled police state wanding of citizens at a public forum and intimidate an AOL cub reporter into not making a photographic record of their unusual and unprecedented public activity. Reminds one a bit of Sam "Momo" Giancana and Tony "The Tuna" Accardo and other mobsters who when leaving a courtroom would drape their coats around their faces and grunt, "No Pictures, No Pictures." Just who do these District 219 administrators and Skokie cops think they are? The politburo and KGB? And Zorning is right, AOL patch and other local media should grow a pair, begin doing their jobs and insist on their 1st Amendment rights and back it up with their lawyers if need be.
Will Stokes July 13, 2012 at 03:53 PM
You forgot to mention that District 219 had (until he began drawing his opulent pension) the state's (if not the world's) highest paid gym teacher and that D219 is second only to posh Lake Forest in employee and administrator salaries: http://bit.ly/NvjNh2
amorro July 29, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Melongo’s Eavesdropping Case Dismissed: Another Blow To Illinois Eavesdropping Law Upon the defendant's motion[1], Judge Goebel filed his written order[2] dismissing Melongo's eavesdropping case on June 19th, 2012. The state hasn't decided if it will appeal. [1] http://www.illinoiscorruption.net/documents/MotionRequestAmendedOrder.pdf [2] http://tinyurl.com/cqq6ahg Melongo's motion : http://tinyurl.com/6nqv2se State's response: http://tinyurl.com/73fwecf
amorro August 01, 2012 at 12:23 AM
RCFP Article on Melongo's Case: http://tinyurl.com/cx45d4b
JAMES CHWALISZ December 04, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Thank You Mr. Jarratt for providing the sample salary figures for non-administrative positions. Add these figures to the outlandish salaries of administrators and you can see that our schools are in financial trouble or should I say our tax-payers are in financial trouble. Why do we need more than one administrative superintendant for each high school, junior high or grammar school? And what are we getting for our money? Failure of any of our schools to be included in the top 100 grammar, junior and high school ratings which were recently published in the Sun-Times,

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