Tempers Rise at D46 School Board Meeting

At one point Board Member Keith Surroz got up and left the meeting
At one point Board Member Keith Surroz got up and left the meeting
It wasn’t just the parents complaining about the heat in the non-air-conditioned classrooms at the Grayslake Community District 46 recent Board meeting on September 5th, it was also the verbal exchanges between Board members that got heated. In fact, it got so heated at one point that Board member Keith Surroz got up and exited the room to cool down.

I don’t usually cover the happenings at the Grayslake D46 School Board meetings but after reading an article in the Daily Herald in which a local candidate who is running for my Lake County Board District had a formal complaint lodged against him by two staff members, I decided to find out more about it.

The meeting started off with a presentation by a health insurance firm that appeared to offer substantial savings on employee health insurance plans by using individual policies rather than a group policy, and only using a group policy for those who do not qualify for individual ones. Then it moved on to the Public Comment portion where numerous parents complained about their kids being kept home on Tuesday due to the heat in the classrooms that did not have air conditioning installed. Several questioned why ALL the classrooms didn’t have it installed instead of only a limited number. Resident Lennie Jarratt also spoke about considering dropping his lawsuit if the Board handed over the other email that have come to light during recent court proceedings. Many of these emails date back to the prior elections in which gift cards were handed out in an attempt to secure votes.

The agenda eventually moved on to the complaint issue against Board member Michael Carbone. The Board wanted, and passed, a resolution that would require any of these types of complaints to be handled like an arbitration complaint and would allow the Board to then pass judgement/penalties on the individual. In the video below, you can listen to Carbone’s statement which he read into the record. Near the end of his statement Board member Keith Surroz got so upset, with words being shouted across the tables, that he finally got up and left to cool down.

A couple of other agenda items that were approved were to grant a 40% pay increase to the assistant to the business manager who has only been there for a year (over numerous objections by several Board members). Also approved was to extend the contract with AT&T to continue video taping the meetings at an “additional” cost of $2700/month. Anyone who has viewed the quality of their videos might be scratching their heads on this 3-year approval.

Also on the agenda was discussion on D46 Superintendent Ellen Correll’s contract extension. The discussion went nowhere with Carbone and member Kip Evans suggesting that everyone take the time to read the emails that are at the heart of a lawsuit, before voting on a contract extension. This item will be on the next meeting agenda which is sure to be another lively meeting.

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