Riverside-Brookfield High School board sets lofty goals for students

26 composite on ACT, 100 percent graduation rate

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By Bob Skolnik

Contributing Reporter

The school board and administration at Riverside-Brookfield High School is aiming high. Last week the District 208 school board adopted some lofty goals for the district, the culmination of a long process to identify measurable goals to track district performance.

One goal that may be difficult to reach is for students to achieve an average ACT composite score of 26. Last year the average ACT score at RBHS was 23.6.

"There is nothing wrong with setting high expectations," said District 208 Superintendent Kevin Skinkis. "Setting high expectations, showing growth is still a success even if we miss our mark."

Skinkis said that the goal of a 26 average ACT composite score was set by looking at the top non-selective enrollment public high schools in the Chicago area.

"We took the 10 best [non-selective enrollment] public high schools according to the Sun Times and the Tribune rankings, and we did the average ACT score, and that was 26," Skinkis said.

By way of comparison, New Trier High School had an average ACT composite score of 27.7 in 2012. Hinsdale Central and Stevenson High Schools had average ACT scores of 26.2.

Oak Park High School had an average ACT of 24.5 and Lyons Township High School had an average ACT score of 24.

The average ACT score in the state of Illinois is 20.6. All juniors in public high schools in Illinois take the ACT as part of the Prairie State Achievement Exam.

The new goals for RBHS also include having a 100-percent graduation rate and making sure that every graduate of the school either goes on to some sort of further education or training or joins the military.

Goals call for all graduates to be what the ACT considers college-ready, which is defined as receiving a score of at least 21 on the ACT composite, at least 18 in English, 22 in math, 21 in reading and 24 in science.

"I think we would be doing the community and the students a disservice if weren't shooting to make every kid college- and career-ready," Skinkis said. "Is it a lofty goal? Yes, but as long as we continue to work towards it and continue to show growth I think that shows a commitment to the community and to the students."

Last year, 75.2 percent of RBHS students scored 21 or higher on the ACT composite. Eighty-five percent met the ACT college-readiness benchmark in English, while 66 percent did so in math, 68 percent in reading and 47 percent in science.

The goals also call for every student who takes an Advanced Placement test to receive a score of 3 or above. The school board also set a goal of having 75 percent of the graduating class pass at least one AP test. In 2012, 51.4 percent of the graduating class passed at least one AP test.

"The goal behind that is trying to get students somewhere in their high school career to take at least one AP course," Skinkis said. "Studies have shown that if a student takes at least one AP course or multiple honors courses in their high school career, these courses are rigorous enough to be comparable to the workload and the rigor they are going to see in college."

The school board also wants 100 percent of those taking AP tests to receive a passing score, which is a 3 or above. In 2012, the percentage of AP test takers achieving a passing score was 72.4 percent.

Although the academic goals are daunting they provide a focus and a target for Skinkis to focus on as the superintendent hopes to concentrate more on academic concerns.

"Although I still have some issues in regards to facilities and finance that I have to work on at the district level, this will make me dedicate more time to working with the teachers and the building staff to make sure we're providing the services that students need to be successful," Skinkis said.

"It's very easy in my job to get caught up in the operational and the financial aspects of running a district, and it's important that we don't lose sight of why we're here — and that's the 1,500 14- to 18-year-old adolescents that are counting on us to prepare them for life after RB."

Other goals established by the school board include negotiating a new contract with the teachers union, developing a capital outlay plan for repair and maintenance of school facilities, developing a technology plan and continuing to identify means to increase community feedback and dialogue.

One other goal is to research and identify revenue enhancement for the district.

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Reader Comments

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Comment Policy

Hey choice  

Posted: March 27th, 2013 11:04 AM

Nice one Jerry - always trying the Kosey mob tie angle. Chris and you really need to stop the anonymous blogging. Everyone knows it's you.


Posted: March 27th, 2013 10:49 AM

Taxpayer representation or Union representation brought to you by CURB's referendum team- Landahl/Kosey/Marciniak.

Thanks Jeff  

Posted: March 27th, 2013 12:10 AM

Jeff, I too will correct my previous post. Your analysis was on total compensation, not just salaries as I wrote. Thanks again.

Thanks Jeff  

Posted: March 26th, 2013 11:55 PM

I too am glad you posted to evaluate the "real" rate of salary increase. Inflation rate and staff adjustments are important. Your way of explaining what we got for our money puts it all in perspective. Thanks.

Lisa Aulerich-Marciniak  

Posted: March 26th, 2013 4:14 PM

Jeff, I think the numbers you quoted from the state report card are accurate. There are others that aren't (or haven't been in the past). For expample, a year or two ago they had the ethnic breakdown of RB being 100% white. For some reason in another catagory they had mixed up our numbers with D96. For the most part, though, I think they get it right.

Jeff Miller from Riverside  

Posted: March 26th, 2013 4:13 PM

I forgot to note in my previous post that inflation from 2007->2011 was about 8%. So I should have written "we paid about 7% more in in 2011 in real inflation adjusted dollars and got 9.5% less in teacher time. Do you agree?"

Cat Nap  

Posted: March 26th, 2013 4:05 PM

If it was a 10-year "cat nap," then why was education so good at RB? If the crooks were running the show, why did the teachers bother teaching? Why not nap in their classrooms, smoke in the lounges, take 2-hour lunch breaks. Over that 10-year "nap," RB had a HUGE improvement academically. There is another side to this story, Felix. You sound like a pretty smart guy sometimes. Why don't you see it?


Posted: March 26th, 2013 4:03 PM

Felix, when the contract was approved in 08 the economy hadn't tanked. Then it did. That doesn't make the guys who negotiated the '08 contract crooks. Is that that hard to figure out? The new contract needs to reflect the new economy - absolutely - but it also should keep in mind the purpose of a school - to educate all the kids. Nothing is gained by Sinde/Welch's monomaniacal pursuit of fiscal idealogue purity. We need tough, sane, fair board members who have done this before as in D95.

Jeff Miller from Riverside  

Posted: March 26th, 2013 3:16 PM

Lisa, Sorry, I didn't see you were looking at 2007->2011 instead of 2007->2012. I put yearly enrollment and teacher numbers in my last post but the formatting disappeared so it came out in a jumble. In 2007 we had 95 fte teachers, and in 2011 86, a 9.5% decrease as you note. In 2011, total comp was 15% higher than in 2007. So basically we paid 15% more but got 9.5% less teacher time. Do you agree? Also, is the detailed school data on the Illinois State Board of Ed website reliable in your view?


Posted: March 26th, 2013 2:51 PM

Early voting has started. College age civic minded students should be encouraged to vote. Berwyn is the early voting site.


Posted: March 26th, 2013 2:24 PM

No doubt about that. D96 has seen some outrageous spending in the past decade. Back to the rip-van winkle voters. Sounds asleep while their pockets are being raided. Just because others are looting doesn't make it right. It all needs to be fixed (quickly).

The real crooks  

Posted: March 26th, 2013 1:41 PM

Obviously you don't live in Riverside. If you did you would see on your property tax bill that the tax rate for D 96 is almost double that of D 208 for the same amount of enrollment. If you check D 96 has a fund balance of $20M. The crooks you should be going after are in D 96. They're the ones that maxed the levy without going to referendum to back fill their coffers.


Posted: March 26th, 2013 1:20 PM

That's an easy one. In 2008....the community was still sound asleep, nearing the end of its 10 plus year cat-nap.


Posted: March 26th, 2013 1:15 PM

I think Chris published accurate salary data. He FOIA'd it and reprinted it. I don't disagree that the salaries he published are accurate. The problem is with how he uses them. A salary number is not the only thing that matters at a school and those salaries should be understood in their context - the market, the promotions and sponsorhips, the economy when the contract was negotiated, etc. There was not a SINGLE comment on the Landmark when it ran its story about the 08 contract. Why?


Posted: March 26th, 2013 12:25 PM

Has anyone tried applying the KISS method to this ongoing debate. Let's request the Landmark to publish information on expeditures including salaries for starters. It certainly would be a starting point moving forward. This data is public record am I correct?


Posted: March 26th, 2013 12:24 PM

For PR v Data: are you disputing the salary numbers posted at the issues link then? I don't care about anyone's analysis of the data, only the salary data itself. Like most folks, I can do the math and don't need your spin or Robling's spin. Again, are you saying that salary data is incorrect and if so, why don't you post the correct RB salary data?

Just One Opinion Re Teachers  

Posted: March 26th, 2013 11:58 AM

I believe the RB curriculum teachers are great as are the sports teachers. The Edu-Insiders, IMO, are those that game the system. Some unions have done this for generations. For example teamster leadership took advantage of membership. Congress investigated and what do you know, the mob had too much control. Some local fellows got tossed. Many of us disliked when the previous RB admin took advantage of quality, caring teachers and our community.

Union Offer from Brookfield  

Posted: March 26th, 2013 11:46 AM

The offer put forth by the union prior to the last referendum was one of the most cynical moves I've ever seen made. The awkwardness of the whole thing was beyond the pale, and assumed John Q. Public was nothing but a pack of slack jawed, mouth breathing morons. I was a teachers union supporter until the day they rolled their offer out. No more - anybody can teach.

What the "insiders" did  

Posted: March 26th, 2013 11:37 AM

The "edu insiders" (I assume you just mean teachers but want to insult them some more?) did was to try to offer raise freezes for some contract security from this lunatic board. Sinde/Welch prevented even the DISCUSSION from happening. They want war with the teachers. That has been the point all along and it's ridiculously damaging for RB. It has to stop. Put sane, balanced, reasonable board members in place. Landahl/Snyder negotiated a tough contract in D95 without breaking the district.

Spin, again  

Posted: March 26th, 2013 11:30 AM

If you think Tim Scanlon retiring was good for classroom education at RB, you are crazy. Zeman was not a classroom educator - he was a coach. Assistant coaches or volunteer coaches are not classroom educators - they are coaches or volunteers. It shouldn't be that hard to list ONE thing - ONE thing - Sinde/Welch have done to improve classroom education at RB, should it? It's really that hard? Doesn't that say something about them?

PR vs. Data  

Posted: March 26th, 2013 11:28 AM

The purpose differs. PMA provides numbers for data purposes. Chris provides numbers for PR purposes. As soon as he compiles "his" data, he also posts to his PR blog and the mystery poster (i.e. Jerry) puts it up on the PR issuu.com account and then suddenly "anonymous posters" (read: Jerry and Chris again) start re-posting the link over and over. One set of numbers was provided to be data. The other was provided to be PR.

To Time Frames  

Posted: March 26th, 2013 11:12 AM

Chris likely didn't use staff additions for the same reason because he didn't use former staff, because he couldn't readily compute a percentage increase for them. As for administrators, it would be interesting to see those figures separately. Still, If we decide teachers deserve more, it follows that administrators are worth more. There may be a better way to address staff fluctuations, but no one has tried.

Calculate & Audit  

Posted: March 26th, 2013 11:11 AM

About the numbers and who has the best. Mrs. Marciniak likes PMA. Others like TRS. Some like D208. Hold on, the start point should be the two contracts. Let's say someone started in 2005 with a BA. Go to the step and lane tables in the contracts, list the pay, compare years and compute the contractual raise. Then do it for an experienced teacher with a Masters and so on. Summarize the years. That's what PMA did, check their tables. Then compare to amounts actually paid over at TRS/D208.

To: Spin  

Posted: March 26th, 2013 11:04 AM

I have a few, Scanlon/Zeman and coaches with multiple drug arrests are gone. The impact on education is huge.

@ To Time Frames  

Posted: March 26th, 2013 10:35 AM

Chris tries to equalize for staff reductions, but ignores staff that was added. There were some replacement hires. That's part of the equation, too. Get what he's trying to do but he's no statistician. Claims to be showing effect of union contract while including administrators in analysis. Picks and chooses numbers that exaggerate the point he wants to show. Like someone said, you can make numbers do just about anything. At least Lisa didn't fiddle with them.

To Time Frames  

Posted: March 26th, 2013 10:06 AM

No one is criticizing Lisa for providing data from different time frames. Everyone uses the data available, giving us a different look at salary increass. Robling's data is an analysis tool. Compares salaries for educators who were on staff for a specific time frame. Lisa's information is financial info. It doesn't equalize for staff reduction, as Chris's attempts to do. Equalizing for staff reductions gives a better picture.

Why aren't the edu insiders smart  

Posted: March 26th, 2013 9:39 AM

enough to realize that there isn't anymore money to pay? Hey, I'd love to roll back to 2008--hell, roll back to 2005. Life was good then. Many of us were rolling in dough. Not anymore. Only the public sector union members. Are the teachers and their supporters so stupid that they don't know what's going on? It appears so. Get real, folks.


Posted: March 26th, 2013 9:32 AM

You have to understand that Chris (and Jerry and Sinde/Welch) are not interested if their numbers are "right" - just how they look and the spin they provide. That's the entire point of the numbers. Just like the point of the right-wing Champion web site and the salary fliers that got plastered on us in 2010. The tea party section of the right-wing really is in a war on public schools. Am I wrong? Chris - what's one EDUCATIONAL thing that's better about RB now under Sinde/Welch?

Time frames  

Posted: March 26th, 2013 9:22 AM

Funny, Lisa is being crucified for using a different time frame for comparison. It is off by one year, because that's what PMA reported, and guess what??? It covers a time when raises were bigger and staff cuts were smaller, so her numbers should actually look worse than Chris'. But because you don't like her numbers, you'll anonymously try to beat her up. That's the strategy. Keep on spinnin' boys!

Kind of  

Posted: March 26th, 2013 7:52 AM

Jerry (Confirmed $$, since you are touting the exact same link, again, for PR), the union actually did try to give RB money back. It's not that Sinde/Welch didn't agree - who knows what the offers were - but a YEAR ago they refused to even TALK about it. And then, except for Walsh (a board member not under Robling's thumb), we never would have even known they were refusing to talk. That's kind of disgusting, isn't it? To not even TALK to solve our problems? That's leadership?

Kind of  

Posted: March 26th, 2013 7:48 AM

The teachers made an offer to give up a large chunk of their contractually agreed upon raises if the referendum passed. We, the community, didn't pass the referendum, so we had to pay for the contract we negotiated. Back in '08 when we negotiated the contract, the economy hadn't crashed and people weren't hurting the way they are now. After the referendum, the teachers again tried to give back raises to preserve school quality. Sinde/Welch kept refusing to talk about it. Not what they want.

To Lisa Aulerich Marciniak  

Posted: March 26th, 2013 6:26 AM

Thanks again for your comments to Jeff Miller. It seems that your PMA reports and Robling's analysis cover different time frames, so comparing them isn't helpful. Also,as you note, with large drops in staff, actual budget costs dropped. Still,that doesn't mean the staff that remained didn't get scheduled salary increases. It seems as if we paid for the salary increases by reducing staff - something the voters did when they voted down the referendum. Am I missing something?

Confirmed $$$ Amounts  

Posted: March 26th, 2013 6:19 AM


Confirmed $$$ Amounts  

Posted: March 26th, 2013 6:13 AM

What next, will Marciniak tell us the Union gave us money? I suppose it's sad when your spouse gave it all away and now you whine that there is little left for the kids. So you cry and promote the new Edu-Insider team. The actual dollar amounts paid to our teachers are from Illinois TRS and confirmed with D-208. Marciniak can average and mix apples and oranges and try to sell us bananas but a $ paid is what it is and its right here: http://issuu.com/rbissues/docs/d208_

Lisa Aulerich-Marciniak  

Posted: March 26th, 2013 12:30 AM

The years I looked at in the PMA report were the ones there were actual numbers for, 2007-2011. In that amount of time the personnel cuts were only 9.5%, not 17%. So, although Jeff is right that the number would have been bigger had we not cut teachers, it would not, for those years, have been as much bigger as his number indicates. Due to the large number of teachers cut in 2012, PMA actually shows a budgeted drop from 2011 in salary and benefit costs that year. I didn't include this drop.

Before I ever consider paying another penny at RB,  

Posted: March 25th, 2013 10:15 PM

I want to see where my tax dollars went--you know, for the $68 mil construction. WHERE IS THE AUDIT? WHERE DID THE MONEY GO? That it has not been made public after all this time makes me think that something fishy went on. Lisa, tell your husband to provide the financial details.Until he does, how could you continue to blather on and on and on ad infinitum about class sizes and sports and who knows what. That's the reason a tax increase won't pass for many years. No accountability,for God's sake

Thank you, Mr. Miller  

Posted: March 25th, 2013 9:55 PM

Thank you for coming here to post, Mr. Miller. Having read your recent posts at riversideinfo.org, I absolutely appreciated the logical, fact-based, coherent arguments you made. Please keep posting.

My God  

Posted: March 25th, 2013 9:55 PM

My God - raises of 60%?? How could they have tried to scam us with a referendum that would have cost us 80 gazoogldey million dollars too over an infinite number of years?? How stupid do you think we are? RB teachers make what top high school teachers make. Until Sinde/Welch started wrecking the class size, RB's academics were top notch too. With a reasonable negotation instead of all out war, we can keep a decent school with talented teachers - if we have a sane board.

Details matter:  

Posted: March 25th, 2013 9:33 PM

Details reveal 8 year raises of more than 60%: The 2005 Herbst contract, 3yrs @ 10% and the 2008 Marciniak contract, 5yrs @ 7%. See 3 files to verify calculations: --- http://issuu.com/rbhstaxpayer/docs/rbea_contract_2005-2008 --- http://issuu.com/rbhstaxpayer/docs/rbeacontract2013 ---- http://issuu.com/rbhstaxpayer/docs/rbea_8_year_analysis

Jeff Miller from Riverside  

Posted: March 25th, 2013 9:08 PM

Lisa, Your totals are right but it's important to note total comp would have increased far more than 15% if full time equivalent teaching positions had not been reduced by ~17% . The Illinois State Board of Education website shows enrollment is basically flat, but fte teachers fell by 17% since 2007. As a result, RB has the highest student teacher ratio among comparable suburban schools. 2012 1467 79 2011 1440 86 2010 1464 88 2009 1475 91 2008 1493 98 2007 1487 95 Jeff

Lisa Aulerich-Marciniak  

Posted: March 25th, 2013 7:12 PM

I'm not saying that looking at the details isn't useful. Again, a board that has done the homework know how these things affect the bottom line. But what Chris posted was not good info. It didn't look at benefits. It combined an odd mix of administration and union members, but did not include all in either group and claimed to portray only how the union contract worked. It didn't separate salary details from stipends. Details are important in the context of the whole picture.


Posted: March 25th, 2013 6:42 PM

BILL KUCINSKI COACHED 2009-2010-2011 https://www.asep.com/registry_coaches/registry_transcript.cfm?num=352587 MIKE BERTONI COACHED 2010-2011-1012-2013.only recently certified https://www.asep.com/registry_coaches/registry_transcript.cfm?num=372813 IM SO GLAD THAT RB HIGHSCHOOL SHOWS CHARACTERS COUNTS.WHEN THUGS AND BULLYS RUN THE SHOW BACKGROUND CHECKS AND PROTOCALL ONLY APLY WHEN IT SUITES THEM. OTHERS NEED NOT APPLY.

To Lisa Aulericich - Maciniak  

Posted: March 25th, 2013 6:07 PM

Thank you Lisa for posting the slide show, high level numbers such as the one an the slide show don't enable analysis of what drove the increase in costs. Only looking at details and the subgroups do that. Looking at benefit costs are interesting too. It tells us more to look at them separately too, particularly health care. Is it correct to say that Chris's analysis looks at the educator subgroup? Why wouldn't knowing this and other sub group analysys be valuable?


Posted: March 25th, 2013 3:36 PM

If we're so fixated on getting at teacher salaries and benefits because the district is so broke, why in the world are Sinde/Welch talking about 1-to-1 laptops? Beyond the cost of the device, you also have the cost of the increased bandwidth and the cost of the repair and maintenance. When RB has class sizes that are bigger than any other Chicagoland high school, why spend $ on laptops? Can we please have smaller classes and talented teachers instead of screens and machines?

Lisa Aulerich-Marciniak  

Posted: March 25th, 2013 3:22 PM

Someone asked how I would analyze this. That's how I would do it. Why? Because despite what happenes to individuals salaries and benefits, what we really need to worry about is the total cost to the district. Boards that have done their homework know how the individual components will play into the whole cost, but it is this number they concentrate on.


Posted: March 25th, 2013 3:18 PM

If your overall salary/benefit numbers increased 15.3% over that time, then that's the bottom line right? The ultimate cost that we - the taxpayer - have paid for salary/benefit increases over that span, right? Moreover, looking only at a salary # in any light misses the larger picture of the mission of a school. The mission of a school is to educate kids. That's what we're starting to mess with now and undermine under Sinde/Welch. But they'll tell you they've got no "measurable data" yet.

Details Count  

Posted: March 25th, 2013 3:11 PM

Your analysis includes all wages regardless of classification, amount of time worked, pay rate etc. It is a net amount on which it would be illogical and impossible to specifically relate to the contract terms. It includes non bargaining unit, part time, full time, hourly, salaried and temporary. If you believe your answer is correct are you willing to use it for a model and roll back wages to your 15.3 % over 4 years? It looks like some of PMA's details are missing.


Posted: March 25th, 2013 2:59 PM

Lisa, it's admirable that you are using facts and logic. If you want to understand what Robling and his hand-picked board are about, consider that Robling tried to FOIA all "climate change" lesson plans from RB when Gobble was here in order to intimidate the Bio department from not teaching climate science. When that didn't work, he got Gobble to leave and hand recruited board members like Keen and Moon who were happy to pursue that partisan idea. He's still at it at riversideinfo.org.

Lisa Aulerich-Marciniak  

Posted: March 25th, 2013 12:48 PM

I think these numbers are more relevant because they show the actual expense to the school for employment, including benefits, which are usually an important part of any negotiation.

Lisa Aulerich-Marciniak  

Posted: March 25th, 2013 12:43 PM

I am much more confident in numbers presented by the school's financial consultants than I am in something Chris cobbled together after picking and choosing what to include. Go here: http://www.rbhs208.net/subsite/dist/page/school-board-138 then click on the PMA slideshow. On page 16, you'll see a line titled "Salary and Benefit Costs." You'll see that in total, these costs rose from $14,115,828 in 2007 to $16,276,204 in 2011, a difference of 15.3%, I believe.

To Lisa Aulerich - Maciniak  

Posted: March 25th, 2013 8:43 AM

I would really like to see your calculation of the RB salary increases, the way you think it should be calculated. It's hard to reject what has been presented without something to compare it to.

To: It's For the Kids  

Posted: March 25th, 2013 5:36 AM

I was at those Board of Ed meetings, and that statement is pure Skinkis. The Board was mostly reluctant. They didn't seem to understand that Skinkis was saying more money may be needed and the requests for more teachers may be last minute. He may have goals but I find it hard to believe the current board fully supports them except on a soundbite basis.

Lisa Aulerich-Marciniak  

Posted: March 24th, 2013 10:46 PM

I have no problem with people knowing what they are paying for their children's teachers. What is upsetting is the dishonest way in which it was "analyzed" so as to stir animosity. And done so by someone who on another forum claimed we should not make it personal and he did not begrudge the teachers a single penny. What is the point of his posts then? I'm tired of those who talk out of both sides of their mouths. The political game playing is not healthy for our school or our community.

70 to 80%  

Posted: March 24th, 2013 9:59 PM

All school budgets are 3/4 payroll. Just depends on what you want to pay for babysitters or people that will make our children smarter. Respect, vision and good pay...what every employee wants.

BIGonbrainsshortoncomnsenc from riverside  

Posted: March 24th, 2013 9:56 PM

the current administration and its subsurvients have hired a slew of unqualified (uncertified in first aid ASEP)coaches.there have been hordes of children injured.wheres the activists crying FOWL?i guess its not as serious as RINGWORM.il cast my vote for moe,larry and curly!!!


Posted: March 24th, 2013 9:36 PM

The point of AP is not to make it in a lecture hall like college. The point of AP is to challenge a high school student with curriculum that is college-level in rigor but give them high school level supports. Stop trying to justify. If you want to say it's all about money and bottom lines, just be honest. Stop hiding behind pathological fixations on JoAnne Kosey or other strange obsessions. Right-wing union attacks and public employee assaults are not unique to RB. Just be honest about it.

Its for the kids  

Posted: March 24th, 2013 9:11 PM

"The 1,500 14- to 18-year-old adolescents that are counting on us to prepare them for life after RB." That is why I'll cast my votes for Jepson-Sinde-Welch

Pay- Internet w/names  

Posted: March 24th, 2013 9:06 PM

Here is the public information. It would be great if we can obtain the 7 year summary with no names if Mrs. Marciniak would agree that the numers without names will be acceptable. To demonstrate the fiscal problem. Since pay is about 75% of expenses before benefits. http://issuu.com/rbissues/docs/d208_pay_2012_v_2008

Top teir or Maywood/Berwyn/Cicero?  

Posted: March 24th, 2013 9:02 PM

Seriously...What's the goal? The educational goal?

Pay Problem  

Posted: March 24th, 2013 8:54 PM

I know it was upsetting to Mrs. Marciniak that teachers pay, like most public servents, is public record. The data comes with names and without names some would say the information is made up. Each teachers history is at Champion. We thought comprehensive means more. Did you know that the 3 year and 5 year contracts, both done with no lawyers, actually = 60% raises? Same course, same short year, same books, same responsibilities=60% increase. Why? Was it a cruel trap for the teachers? Now what?

Ignorant assumptions  

Posted: March 24th, 2013 3:39 PM

College Calculus is typically taught in classrooms of 18 to 25, not halls of a 100. This is the issue brought up below, differentiation is smart use of resources and more effective...and we are not seeing that from this board. Worse yet, they don't get it. Anyone else find it ironic the GOP-minded posts sound like the Obama supporters they crack on (You can't say you inherited it all from Bush. How many years do you need to fix it? When are you going to take responsibility for this mess?)?

Quick question  

Posted: March 24th, 2013 3:03 PM

You are assuming that a lecture hall includes 40 kids. It could be 100 who knows? While I understand your point of view about your daughter being in high school not college sometimes you need to think outside the box! It might benefit some kids for college who knows! I graduated from rb in 2004 I wish I was more college ready that's all. But I survived lol!

To: Quick Question 2  

Posted: March 24th, 2013 2:22 PM

You are assuming that all colleges have large lectures. This isn't the case in many of the most exclusive colleges and especially not in the case of students who qualify for special programs at many colleges. Pretty much everyone, except for those who want to slip by unnoticed, learns better with more personal teacher attention. I am really sick of people saying we need to prep these kids for college--they are high school students now. If I wanted my Junior in college she'd be at Triton not RBHS

Quick question  

Posted: March 24th, 2013 2:09 PM

I understand that not everyone is falling in that category but if you have 3 AP math classes with 18 kids in each class why not just combine them and put them in the little theatre or some where to that extent? They are taking college level classes why not give them a college like atmosphere? This will also open up the kids that need that small class learning and maybe even open up classes for people maybe not seeking college. It's all about challenging kids to get to the next level.

for Quick question  

Posted: March 24th, 2013 1:57 PM

Larger classes might work in some cases, but think about the fact that not every kid is headed off to college or can learn well from a class that is taught in a lecture only format. Teachers are less in touch with their students, and some kids will slip through the cracks. One size fits all answers (like the current 30 kids/class target) have problems. Are RB's classrooms even large enough to safely contain 40 students, desks, and other equipment needed?

Lisa Aulerich-Marciniak  

Posted: March 24th, 2013 1:38 PM

The board is elected by the community to be stewards of community resources while working to use those resources to provide the best education it can for the children of the community. I don't feel the board is putting the resources it currently has, either financial or human, to the best use possible. There are many in the community who feel this way no matter how they voted on the referendum. Being grateful your taxes didn't go up isn't the same as thinking they are doing a good job.

Lisa Aulerich-Marciniak  

Posted: March 24th, 2013 1:31 PM

I think the previous board did the right thing when they hired Dr. Skinkis. He is performing well despite a lack of leadership, innovative policy, and forward motion on the part of the current board. The board president does not have more power than anyone else on the board, but does help to set a tone while running meetings, and does need to communicate well when acting as spokesperson. The board chooses its president so we need to elect members who all have the prerequisite skills.

Quick question  

Posted: March 24th, 2013 1:30 PM

While I keep reading on these comments about class sizes and "great teachers" leaving. Why is it so bad for seniors and even some junior classes to have 30-40 people and use them as a lecture hall? It's going to prep them for college and most seniors are 17-18 years old why is it so frowned upon? It may also shrink freshman and sophomore classes while doing it. Just asking.

Spring break- take one  

Posted: March 24th, 2013 1:05 PM

Interesting, the President has no more power or authority than anyone on the Board. The Boards function is to hire the Superintendent and set policy- that was the long standing statement by both Marciniak and Herbst. Does the former first lady now disagree? I think Dr. Skinkis is doing a good job in light of fiscal constraints he inherited from the aforementioned crew.

Board Represents the Community  

Posted: March 24th, 2013 12:58 PM

"I have always supported the kids, and I want a better board for them" Marciniak. Interesting thought but the Board represents the community not just your interest in getting the same for each of your kids. Many citizens want to stay in their home they've been in for years. The money's gone unless maybe you and your sidekick, otherside JAK can get some of the millions hoarded by D96.

Attacking the man?  

Posted: March 24th, 2013 12:51 PM

I think people should look at the performance of board members before granting them more time on the board. The board president is supposed to communicate well as the board spokesperson. If this hasn't happened we should vote him out. Would it be attacking the man to point out that a basketball player was lousy at shooting free throws? It's part of the job.

Credit where credit is due  

Posted: March 24th, 2013 12:06 PM

Ask the Math Club parents just how difficult it was to work with the school to have their club last year. And figure out how much those fees actually cover for those athletic programs that we're all still paying for through our taxes. I would rather my taxes were put to work keeping class sizes down and offerings broad. Fees are not a creative solution. The way they have been implemented at RB has been simplistic and problematic.

Math Club - good example  

Posted: March 24th, 2013 11:37 AM

of creative ways to save important co-curriculars when the taxpayers vote no to dough. The current board made it possible with a new approach. Also saved sports thanks to caring parents. The RBEA plan was to punish by cutting - Union 101- not good for teachers or kids!

Lisa Aulerich-Marciniak  

Posted: March 24th, 2013 11:12 AM

Get over what? Get over the fact that kids are paying the price academically for the decisions this board is making? I still have a child in this school, and I see how his opportunities have differed from his brother's. I have always supported the kids, and I want a better board for them.

rbparent from riverside  

Posted: March 24th, 2013 9:54 AM

RB demonstrated its priorities when it came to cutting after school programs; sports survived while academic programs, such as the math club didn't. In fact, a small group of parents had to fight really hard to bring the club back. It finally took a newspaper article to shake some sense into RB. Where was the support of the community for academic clubs last year? Don't bother to comment on my English. I'm an ELL and I'm pretty sure you understood my point.

Sour Grapes  

Posted: March 24th, 2013 9:45 AM

Come on, Jim had his 4 years and also had his 2 as President. I'll grant he looks good and speaks well but his main accomplishment was signing the RBEA contract that darn near sunk us. Get over it! Move on! Do something for the kids!

Attack again  

Posted: March 24th, 2013 9:06 AM

When no longer able to attack on the facts of the turn around, Lisa attacks the man. I applaud the community not going after her hubby's hair, could have put him in cartoons witt Blago! But it would have been childish.

Lisa Aulerich-Marciniak  

Posted: March 23rd, 2013 1:18 PM

If you wonder if I am overemphasizing what I consider to be a problem, I would encourage you to attend one of the two public forums that will be held the first week in April, where the communication skills of all the candidates will be on display as they answer questions from the public. Everyone should decide for themselves how important they think this is.

Lisa Aulerich-Marciniak  

Posted: March 23rd, 2013 1:15 PM

My complaint is not about writing style. It is about deficient communication skills, skills I feel it is important for the "spokesperson" of a Board of Education to have. The only "force" behind this is the hope I have that we will elect someone with greater competencies this time around, as this person represents our school and our community to the greater public. I wonder what ever happened to Dan Moon's request to consider voting on a board president annually?

The Other Side  

Posted: March 23rd, 2013 7:41 AM

I just made a series of very specific, very factual, very accurate claims. Can you please identify which one you thought was untrue or non-factual? I'll be happy to provide links or documentation for any/all of them.


Posted: March 23rd, 2013 5:50 AM

What forces are at play to encourage such non factual claims? What forces support the goofy personal attacks on reputable folks working hard for a cherished institution because there writing style doesn't suit personal taste? Should the community have made a bigger deal of objecting to mobbed up individuals, convicted felons who previously did time on the board and those with strong ties but bogus agendas? It's so easy to loose sight of the difference over the years.

The Other Side  

Posted: March 22nd, 2013 6:35 PM

I'd also submit that this isn't about preserving "Russian IV." When you have so many kids in a lab that they can't even sit at the lab table or participate in the lesson, that's not cutting a peripheral luxury elective, is it? Thank goodness we still have water polo.

The Other Side  

Posted: March 22nd, 2013 6:29 PM

I also think it's bizarre that this article states that an adopted "goal" of the board (Sinde/Welch) is to explore revenue enhancement, and yet Welch in his candidate survey says another referendum is not needed. What other revenue enhancement are you looking for? Do you really want to raise fees even more? Activity engagement already dropped 10% in year's span - that's 150 kids who aren't in ANY activities whatsoever at RB. Revenue enhancement or not? Sinde/Welch can't have it both ways.

The Other Side  

Posted: March 22nd, 2013 6:26 PM

Yes, demographic shifts drive the dropout rate too, but we've doubled down by cutting the support services to those at-risk kids. And it didn't have to be this way. Even without a referendum, Sinde/Welch had some choices. They chose this. To say that there's no "measurable data" is dodging the truth or just lying about it. To campaign on buying laptops for each kid with the other cuts they are pursuing is lunacy. Please, teachers and services - not laptops and more screen time.

The Other Side  

Posted: March 22nd, 2013 6:21 PM

If the word 'huge' for class sizes feels inaccurate, try "bigger than any other high school anywhere near RB." The better high schools in Chicagoland don't have our class sizes. Neither do the average or poor high schools. We're pretty much the biggest now. Sinde/Welch say that there's no "measurable data" that the class size has hurt education. Yet our graduate rate is the lowest in 10 years, meaning more kids are dropping out, and the change started as soon as class sizes went up.

@NOT an angry parent  

Posted: March 22nd, 2013 5:04 PM

RB is a good school. RB is not what it was two years ago, and as costs continue to rise with no new revenue in sight, people worry about where it is headed in the future. Many see the current board as consumed by making the easy cuts instead of working to find creative solutions. They see the board as driving away the one thing every school needs most -- good teachers. The future, in the hands of this board, seems worrisome to those who have already sensed decline.

NOT an angry parent  

Posted: March 22nd, 2013 11:33 AM

And, by the way, my child is registered for Spanish AP next year. It's not going away.

NOT an angry parent  

Posted: March 22nd, 2013 11:31 AM

RB is a small school. That's why most of us moved here--to send our kids to a small, community school. That means that the school doesn't always have the resources to be everything to everyone. If you want your child to take Russian or conversational Chinese, live in a district with a giant school. You'll lose that homey feeling, though, where the teachers know the kids. My kid goes to RB and we're very happy with it. I resent people saying it's not a good school.

To: Angry parent  

Posted: March 22nd, 2013 11:22 AM

Your concern reminds me of when I first moved into the district in 1985. Shortly thereafter they presented a referendum with warnings that if it didn't pass, severe cuts would have to be made, including fourth year Russian. Although the referendum eventually passed on the 2nd or 3rd try, it wasn't in time to help the FOUR students who wanted Russian IV. The cold war ended without their help. Perhaps your son can read Don Quixote in Spanish on his own and go on to accomplish great things.

To CURB the tax increase  

Posted: March 22nd, 2013 10:22 AM

Jerry we missed you and your informative YouTube posting. Question though, did SWIM register with the Board of Elections? Oh yes after the election. Where did the SWIM money come from? Was it the sale of guns to the Contras?

Get used to it.  

Posted: March 22nd, 2013 8:50 AM

30 kids in a class are HUGE? If our magnificent teachers can't handle/teach a class of 30, then, well, maybe RB isn't the place for them. I hope the education majors in college now are learning how to teach classes of 30 and more---like in the olden days of the 60s and 70s. The new normal. My kid is has a teacher who puts her lectures on the internet; the "learning" takes place at home and "homework" is done at school. Does it matter how many are in that classroom? Creative solutions. Forward!

Lisa Aulerich-Marciniak  

Posted: March 22nd, 2013 8:40 AM

Just so we're all clear on this, I am not The Other Side, nor am I otherside, and I don't know who is. Chris' list of those he likes to point fingers at is so long it could be just about anyone.

Lisa Aulerich-Marciniak  

Posted: March 22nd, 2013 8:36 AM

I was a CURB volunteer. The Robling/Buttimer camp who hide behind anonymity on here would like you to believe that is horrible and sinister. There are no mysteries. The attorney who volunteered to file our paperwork, and who is a district resident, has his office at that address in Chicago. Money to start up came out of our own pockets. I wrote CURB a check. Many did, hoping the school would not have to go through the cuts faced if the referendum didn't pass. No mystery there.

CURB the tax increase  

Posted: March 22nd, 2013 8:01 AM

Who is "otherside"? Just look behind CURB, the group that brought the last and largest referendum. You can't see it all because they skip things like their opening balance of $3000. Opening balance for a start up? They even hide behind a Chicago address. Who's ward? So who financed the campaign? Did it come from Kosey's foundation which also fails to disclose officers and where our money goes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCGlNp0aX5k

To Other Side  

Posted: March 22nd, 2013 5:58 AM

Who the heck are you and are you running fro the D208 Board?!

The Other Side  

Posted: March 22nd, 2013 5:47 AM

Noticed Chris Robling brought my name up again over at riversideinfo.org. Since I still read this sickening junk, do you realize everything I said would happen actually happened? Our class sizes are huge. Or drop out rate is up. Our activities are now only accessible to the wealthy. Our board is dominated by Chris' right-wing politics. Our home values have fallen while other communities have stabilized or risen. Our best teachers are leaving. If only I'd just been hand-wringing.


Posted: March 22nd, 2013 5:36 AM

I think the cut is Spanish Lit, not AP Spanish language too, but have you ever noticed the political code words - education mafia, bootstraps, belt tightening, new normal, stop your hand wringing, the sky isn't falling, edu-insiders, etc. etc. This is what we get now that we've allowed our theoretically independent board (which by nature should be non-partisan) to be recruited all by one right-wing political PR guy. You get a school that's being dominated by politics, not education.

To Angry parent--from another angry parent  

Posted: March 21st, 2013 10:23 PM

Who the hell are you trying to fool? Your kid will not be overlooked from some colleges because he isn't not taking AP spanish. News flash. MOST high schools in the country do not offer AP Spanish. You need to attend some anger management classes if this is setting you off. You may also want to call a few college admissions counselors for true admissions requirements. By the way, get used to this new normal--we can't always get what we want. Who can afford it? Forward.

user_friendly from Riverside  

Posted: March 21st, 2013 10:00 PM

RE: Angry parent from Riverside I've received confirmation that the class that is discontinued next year is AP Spanish Literature, rather than AP Spanish Language. If your child is in Honors Spanish IV this year, they will still be able to advance. Spanish Literature has had historically low enrollment rates. I know several people who came home from school today who are enrolled in a Spanish IV class with the department chair of foreign language, who never mentioned Spanish Language being cut.

Angry parent from Riverside  

Posted: March 21st, 2013 7:11 PM

My son came home today and told me that they won't be running AP Spanish. He now will be overlooked by many of the colleges he wanted to attend because this board deemed that class less important than sports. Vote for anyone but than these incumbents!

Agree with Bull  

Posted: March 21st, 2013 9:57 AM

" Preserving educational quality at RB is not their(SWiM) goal" - They cut blindly - x% across the board on all classes - They did not consider impact, bang for the buck, ability to resuscitate, etc. - This directly resulted in staff reductions of valuable resources. - But we kept water polo and a gaggle of football coaches.

Lisa Aulerich-Marciniak  

Posted: March 21st, 2013 9:49 AM

They did not have a balanced buget. They approved a deficit budget, got lucky with things like tax appeals, and ended up with an unexpected surplus. I'm not sure how you define important classes that were "saved". By "saved" do you simply mean "not cut?" Or was there some action taken which somehow allowed them to continue when they wouldn't have otherwise? My son missed out on what I would consider important classes due to cuts.

Lisa Aulerich-Marciniak  

Posted: March 21st, 2013 9:43 AM

I am disappointed in the actual decline in transparency with this board. Their use of boardbook has made it more difficult to find things unless you know the date of the meeting at which things were approved. Board Committee meetings, which are open to the public and require notice and minutes have been replaced by superintendent committee meetings which other board members are not even allowed to attend and which have no minutes. Where's the transparency there?

Lisa Aulerich-Marciniak  

Posted: March 21st, 2013 9:34 AM

I did not attack Matt's "writing style." I said I was embarrassed that the president of the school board could not communicate clearly. I think that's an important function of the job. And yes, my opinions about what should have been done post referendum are wildly different from what was done. This is why we have elections. This is why I will not vote for the incumbents. I don't feel they've done a good job, and I'm willing to use my own name to say that.

Attack Bull  

Posted: March 21st, 2013 9:02 AM

BoE past member/families, Marciniak and Kosey know the Edu-Insider attack strategy. They attack Matt on his writing style and because he did not cut sports. They won't acknowledge that he saved important courses and RB had a balanced budget. They still seem angry about new transparency policies, consistent with both law and RB's current practices. Look at her lack of disclosure. Kosey was secretive; this board is consistently transparent. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meY4TKFgam0

No Bull!  

Posted: March 21st, 2013 7:53 AM

'Bull' said: "I don't think those two have education goals." I disagree. Sinde and Welch are leading D208 to a sound fiscal footing during very trying economic times. That is not an easy task.Think about it...what educational goals will be achieved if D208 is mired in a financial mess? I have a tremendous amount of respect for them because of the tough decisions they have made and will continue to make. Let's keep D208 going in the right and sound direction. Vote for Sinde, Welch, and Jepson.


Posted: March 21st, 2013 5:40 AM

Sinde/Welch chose what to do with the situation they were in and their choices have made the school worse, not better. They had multiple options (early renegotiations, reduced referendum, cutting athletics even the tiniest smidge, etc.) to preserve educational quality at RB. They didn't want to. Preserving educational quality at RB is not their goal.Watch the goals discussion at the board meeting - Sinde/Welch say NOTHING while the others discuss. I don't think those two have education goals

Taxed to the Max  

Posted: March 21st, 2013 5:01 AM

The incumbents were left short on cash but saved important function. The challengers, replacements for those who spent our dough, misrepresented, electioneered, bought us a law suit and still failed to pass the referendum are here. These edu-insiders, as typical with Kosey related lack-of ?"transparency-in-reporting, supply few facts. Where did the $3000 CURB funding originate? It's the same MO as her reporting for the RB Ed Foundation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCGlNp0

1 to 1  

Posted: March 20th, 2013 10:47 PM

Both Sinde and Welch also say they will focus on a 1 to 1 program in their interviews with this paper. Those interviews were published this afternoon.


Posted: March 20th, 2013 9:40 PM

Felix, did you know RB used to do one of the absolute best jobs statistically in the Chicagoland area reaching out to at-risk students (the changing demos you mentioned). Sinde/Welch's change in priority means those at-risk kids now don't have the same academic supports, have bigger classes, can't afford to be in clubs and sports. What used to be a strength - helping at-risk and minority students excel - has been totally undercut by how Sinde/Welch approach education (i.e. bottom line only).


Posted: March 20th, 2013 9:09 PM

I'm guessing that everyone is assuming Sinde (and the Sinde/Welch board) mean 1-to1 laptops (or iPads or whatever) because a) they've added a technology goal that didn't exist before and b) Sinde talks specifically about 1-to-1 as a goal in the interview he did with the student newspaper. How you can be setting goals for giving every kid a laptop when you can't even get a safe number of students in a science is beyond me, though. Why would Sinde/Welch rather have machines than teachers?


Posted: March 20th, 2013 7:57 PM

For those complaining about laptops, where in the article does it directly say that RB will be initiating laptops in the school? Technology initiative could mean other things too, like using sites such as Youtube or prezi to teach lessons. Or using SMART boards to teach math. Just because Hauser has a "technology initiative", does not mean that RB will follow suit.


Posted: March 20th, 2013 11:57 AM

I have to agree, whoever came up with these is not a follower of the S.M.A.R.T. goal movement that we've all heard so much about. Specific? Yes; Measureable? Not all if you haven't figured out how to track kids after high school; Achievable? Definitely not all of them when you set the bar at 100% of students; Realistic? Same; and Timely? They are labeled 2012-2013 on the school website. Can we reach these goals in the next two months before school gets out? No.

More propaganda  

Posted: March 20th, 2013 11:50 AM

Since kids are only in high school for four years, how can you claim "same kids" in a four year span? Not only were there different kids,there were more of them. You guys seem to have a problem stating even the simplest of truths, let alone documenting complicated figures truthfully.

No Laptops  

Posted: March 20th, 2013 11:47 AM

As a parent of an 8th grader in the laptop-initiative at Hauser, I am certain that the dip in test scores is related to what kids are learning, not changing demos, etc. Compared to my older child--same teachers just 3 years earlier--this one has not learned how to write, how to think, how to construct an argument. These are the skills needed. For heaven's sake, these kids have been on computers since they were toddlers--unless they're for computer programming, laptops are a waste of our taxes.

Where our taxes went  

Posted: March 20th, 2013 11:12 AM

Pay raised- same school, same kids, same classes- generous contract, priceless..... http://issuu.com/rbissues/docs/d208_pay_2012_v_2008

Patrick from Brookfield  

Posted: March 20th, 2013 10:15 AM

Good luck with those goals. Class sizes over 30 -- rooms overcrowded to the point of life safety issues. As it is, the staff can't manage overcrowded classrooms and things look little better in 2013-14. They can't use the classroom technology because bandwidth in the building has been saturated by kids streaming media. No one is addressing the changing demographics of RB. More and more, kids from the Chicago schools are ending up at RB, ill-prepared for high school, much less college.

The answer approaches  

Posted: March 20th, 2013 9:34 AM

I guess we'll find out just what this laptop program has done when these kids get to the high school where they won't have one. Will they be able to hand write their notes? Can they use research materials that aren't online? Can they think through a paper they need to write that won't be presented as a power point or multi-media extravaganza? I hope so!

A parent  

Posted: March 20th, 2013 9:25 AM

Great answer. They are being taught how to use technology and not how to use their brains. Can they quickly add? subtract? multiply? divide? or must they use a calculator for that? Same with writing? Spelling? don't need to, not with spell check. Same with grammar. Course we all know that the computer will select a word that it thinks is correct, not necessarily what is correct. Plus, what happens when the computer crashes, or the grid goes down? Screwed,

Laptops are not the answer  

Posted: March 20th, 2013 9:19 AM

The laptop program in D96 is terrible. I have two children with laptops in D96.Education isn't about the ability to put together a power point presentation. The curriculum at D96 has gotten more shallow with the introduction of the laptops. We need to remember that students today are digital natives - they take technology for granted. They need to be taught comprehension skills across a variety of media. A laptop is not a substitute for critical thinking skills.

Voter District 208 + D 95   

Posted: March 20th, 2013 9:05 AM

RB raises average 28%? No more. Can't do that again.

RE: Laptops  

Posted: March 20th, 2013 8:47 AM

Your cause and effect argument is flawed. You have selected a single element of the overall education program and made it the cause of a minor fluctuation in test scores. Laptops are critical tools that students need to learn to use to be competitive in this world. If you want to argue about appropriateness of tax dollars, that is a different issue. To say that laptops are the cause of the test scores is quite narrow minded and incorrect.

No Laptops!  

Posted: March 20th, 2013 8:17 AM

The thing I find disturbing is the goal of a laptop for each student. One need only look at Riverside District 96 to know why. Hauser is now just an "8" on SchoolDigger--all timed perfectly to the laptops. The curriculum is shallow, even the person in charge of the program says that. The students are NOT LEARNING with their laptops. They are window dressing, not an educational tool. The program will require more high-paid administrators when what we need are TEACHERS!!!


Posted: March 20th, 2013 7:55 AM

I suppose the rapidly changing demographics in D208 should have no impact on graduation rates, right? It's because they are not pushing for more money that fewer kids are graduating? D208 is one of the highest spending districts around and you want MORE money? LOL Brilliant way to connect those cause and effect dots on graduation rates?.absolutely brilliant.

Sad to see  

Posted: March 20th, 2013 6:55 AM

the CURB ladies up early again spreading their hateful propaganda. Do they realize that the attitude creeps into the culture of win at any cost. Thank God the BoE brought in Pam Bylsma and Character Counts to show our kids what is most important. As its goals are reached bullying drops off.


Posted: March 20th, 2013 5:31 AM

While it may be a "lofty" goal to aim for 100% graduation and laptops for every kid (tech goal), Sinde/Welch's approach to funding has given us a DECREASING graduation rate and 30+ kids in every class (hardly the time for laptops). And Sinde/Welch's goal for "revenue enhancement" - referendum. Even they understand RB is going to need one. What about the green goal of environmental stewardship that RB used to have? Sinde/Welch don't talk about that anymore. Goals.

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