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Parking Lots and DHS Artificial Turf before Academic Building Needs?

April 24th, 2011
The Board Agenda Packet Discussion Item 8.H references an “attached agreement…drawn up by our attorneys, [delineating] the Boosters’ Club financial obligations to District 113″.

No such agreement was attached to the packet linked.  Is it available online for review prior to the meeting?  If so, where?

That a portion of the total $1.1M amount is to be funded by the Booster’s Club is certainly nice, but I have to ask myself what NEEDS could the District’s portion ($637,307) fund at DHS?  HVAC issues?  Library Flooding issue?  Roofing issues? Ceiling tile replacements?

Could the Booster’s Club fund the repairs to the Pool @ DHS instead?

As I’ve stated previously, and per the information I’ve provided to the Board during the Wolter’s Field turf discussions (available on my website at www.davidgreenberg.org), many more questions involving artificial turf need to be answered:

  • Handling water run off from the turf.  It’s been proven to be dangerous to aquatic life.  Given that the field is within a wetland area, this is of concern.  How will the run off be dealt with?  What will that cost?
  • Excessive heat – studies have proven that the turf is typically 30 degrees hotter than the surrounding air during the day.  This requires temperature monitoring and mitigation (typically via water being sprayed onto the surface for cooling).
  • “Green Issues”: Creation of heat islands.  Artificial turf doesn’t produce Oxygen, but the production of it does increase carbon dioxide.
  • MRSA Infections – MRSA doesn’t do well during bright sunlight or hot weather, but since the turf can’t be used during such times due to the dangers of excessive heat – that means it will be used after it’s cooled, in the dusk or night hours when it’s cooler.  MRSA does well in dark, cool periods.  What is the plan for preventing such infections and mitigating such dangers?  What will the cost of sanitizing the turf be?
  • Rubber crumb infill replacement costs – what is the cost to replace the rubber crumb infill after 5-7 years due to compaction issues?
  • Weeding/Pesticides – weeds can grow in the rubber crumb infill.  What’s the cost of weeding/pesticides to be used on the turf?  What are the dangers of using pesticides on such a surface?  How long must athletes remain off of the surface after the application of pesticides?
  • Annual maintenance costs compared with current grass turf?  Including labor costs.
  • Eventual disposal costs?  When the turf has to be removed at it’s end of life, what will that cost?
Regarding items 8.D. and 8.F. As long as the buildings have NEEDS which have a direct effect on academics (e.g.: HVAC, roofing), paving parking lots should be the lowest priority on the list – given the high cost of oil and how that factors into the cost of asphalt, communities are choosing to forgo asphalt paving and are finding compacted gravel to be less expensive and easier to maintain.

In particular, I see absolutely no reason for any additional paving to be done at Wolter’s Field.

If the most recent vote on the referendum said anything – it’s that the voters and taxpayers want the District to focus on it’s NEEDS instead of it’s wants.  Artificial turf is definitely a want and should not be funded at any level by the District – if the Booster’s Club considers it a “need”, then the Booster’s Club should fund the entire $1.1M cost, in-full, and up-front before construction begins.  Additionally, the Booster’s Club should also fund any and all increased costs of repair to the turf for its lifetime, and also fund the costs of removing the turf at its end of life.  The District taxpayers shouldn’t pay a cent for that want.

The Board should reject the recommendation to install artificial turf at DHS, and should reject any improvements or additions to parking lots at DHS, HPHS, or Wolter’s Field.  Instead, it should focus it’s efforts on funding some of the needs of the District out of the monies it was going to allocate to the aforementioned projects.

D113 Board Meeting – Discuss future steps

April 23rd, 2011store

The D113 Board Meeting to be held on 4/25/2011 @ 7:30PM at 1040 Park Avenue West, HP (the D113 Admin Bldg) will include the topic of future steps for the District now that the $133 million referendum has been rejected by the voters.

The Board may decide to put the failed referendum back on the ballot, pare down the plan, or do nothing.  In my opinion, putting the rejected $133 million plan back on the ballot would be the height of hubris and would absolutely prove that the Board is not listening to the taxpayers.

We need, and deserve a better plan – one that makes fiscal sense.  That means we need one which costs MUCH LESS than the $133 million plan which was presented to, and rejected by, the taxpayers in the District.
All interested parties should attend the meeting and make their thoughts known during the Citizen’s Comment period of the meeting.
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Community Planning Forums now open…

April 10th, 2011
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I’ve said that I want to see a solution that takes into account ideas and thoughts from both sides of the aisle so we can meet the needs of the District. To that end, I’ve set up a public forum on my website – there’s just three topics there right now – Academics, Athletics, Maintenance. I have a couple of sub-groups, and places for DHS, or HPHS only items..
Or click on PLANNING FORUMS…
We can create any number of sub-topics we want, have attachments, etc. All are welcome, anyone can participate – so long as they’re not making personal attacks, I’m not planning on banning people or moderating the comments.
Examples:
  • One group could delve into the issues dealing with the pool @ HPHS another at the DHS pool
  • Lack of an indoor track at DHS
  • Safety improvements at the HPHS indoor track
  • Safety issues at the schools – let students or teachers post things that they consider unsafe
  • Maintenance issues – let students or teachers post things they consider to require maintenance. Even better if they post how it’s adversely affecting the educational process
  • Technology: I’d really like to know how they plan to use it. What’s it going to do to improve the education of the students? I’d love to hear from some teachers, students. We might get some really great ideas that could save us money in the long run.

Note: This isn’t even close to something official, it’s not sanctioned by District 113, but no one has announced anything and we need to get started.  All are welcome!

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Maybe they are….

April 7th, 2011

Maybe the District is starting to get it…  The recently scheduled “Special Meeting” that the District 113 Board of Education had scheduled for 7:30AM on Friday 4/8/2011 to discuss the installation of Artificial Turf at Deerfield High School has been cancelled.

The letter from Board President Schelensky has been taken down as well.

Stay tuned folks….

I don’t think they ‘get it’

April 6th, 2011store

On April 6, 2011, District 113 School Board President Bonnie Shelensky posted this public letter on the District 113 Website:

“April 6, 2011

Message from:  Bonnie Shlensky, Board of Education President

On behalf of the District 113 Board of Education, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the community for their interest in the Long Range Facility and Technology Plan. On April 5, 2011, the community voted and rejected the recommended ballot proposal that earmarks significant funds for necessary facility renovations to both Deerfield and Highland Park High Schools.

Board of Education members are displeased with this outcome because the Board unanimously believes that these renovations are necessary to ensure educational excellence.

Given the outcome of the vote, it is evident that more work is necessary. We know that the Long-Range Facility and Technology Plan encompasses projects that are essential; our high schools have significant needs that must be addressed. However, we will need to engage in more dialogue and study to determine our next steps. As we progress, we will keep the community informed. Information will continue to be available on the district website:  www.dist113.org. We will also create venues to ensure that the plans we develop continue to be representative of community priorities.

Despite the outcome, I would like to thank members of the Community Leadership Team for the time and energy devoted to developing their recommendation. In addition, I send our sincere gratitude to the CARE for 113 Schools Committee under the leadership of Rick Heineman and Harry Steindler. These community members spent countless volunteer hours touring the schools, attending meetings and educating community members about the schools and their needs. We appreciate the leadership and commitment of these community members.”

They’re “displeased” because they unanimously voted for it?  Just who do they think they are? Our parents?  Because they’re the Board of Education, they suddenly know best for the community?

I’m sorry Ms. Shelensky, but the community has sent you a clear message – FOCUS ON THE NEEDS NOT THE WANTS.

Saying “we will need to engage in more dialogue and study to determine our next steps” rings hollow in light of the Special Meeting of the Board of Education which has been scheduled for 7:30AM on Friday, April 8, 2011 to discuss artificial turf at Deerfield High School.

Saying “As we progress, we will keep the community informed.” – that’s wonderful, and expected.  But I’m curious as to how the Board will work with the community to craft a better plan which focuses on needs instead of wants (like artificial turf).

Saying “We will also create venues to ensure that the plans we develop continue to be representative of community priorities.” is a good start, but rings equally as hollow when your first public venue after the referendum was defeated is to be held at 7:30AM on a Friday morning.

Come on, it’s time to put the past behind you – work in a more transparent manner with the Public – not just some members of special interest groups…. we’re watching…

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Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

March 29th, 2011
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The CARE group sent out an email today that falsely claims people are in favor of the referendum by 68% – 32%.

The poll they reference is on a web-magazine site entitled “Make It Better”, and it’s one of those “I agree, I disagree, I’m undecided” click-a-button things that any one can choose to vote on.

The results and statistics from that so-called poll should not and can not be trusted, because:

  • We don’t know how many people voted.  Was it 5, 10, 15?
  • We don’t know WHO voted.  Where are they located?  Inside or outside of D113?  Are they registered voters? Taxpayers?
  • Voting More Than Once: Although the website tries to keep someone from voting more than once, it does it by network address, so all someone who wants to vote multiple times would have to do, would be to use different computers at different locations.

Click here to see it…  then promptly ignore those empty statistics, go to your polling place, and:

VOTE NO on the D113 Referendum

Vote YES for David Scott Greenberg

Thank you!

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Twitter feed update

March 29th, 2011

I received notice from Twitter yesterday that they’d also suspended the @davegreenberghp feed which was created after the @hpdavegreenberg feed was suspended.

I didn’t authorize either of them, and had nothing to do with the content.

Another fake Twitter feed

March 28th, 2011store

Earlier today Twitter notified me that they’d suspended the @hpdavegreenberg feed because it was an impersonation.

Later this afternoon, postings about a new feed entitled @davegreenberghp appeared on the Patch website.

The @davegreenberghp feed is also an impersonation.  I do not know who created it, or who is tweeting.  I have no connection with that feed.

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How Deep Is Deep Enough?

March 28th, 2011
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Illinois Department of Public Health rules and administrative codes state that the pools at D113 schools (Deerfield and HPHS) need to be a minimum of 10′ deep.  Our pools meet that standard.

Others have claimed that we need to meet the standards of FINA (11.48′), IHSA (IL High School Association; 14′), or others.  FINA relates to pools utilized in World Championships and the Olympic Games, and by FINA’s own preamble, their rules are “…for the competitive use and training, not intended to govern issues related to the general public.”

I wasn’t able to locate any information related to the rationale that IHSA claims to justify a 14′ depth.

I did some research, and came across an article by Mr. Wayne Oras, a diving coach for 40+ years, and Diving Chairman of the IL Swimming Association for 28 years.

 See this link:

http://www.reocities.com/woras.geo/Deep.html

 The quote that Mr. Oras makes is particularly apropro to our circumstances: “All pools with diving areas do not have to match the depths of Olympic venues simply because all divers are not World Class Olympic Divers.”

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Rising Property Taxes and Taxpayer Backlash

March 26th, 2011
Click here to review an article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek entitled “Property Taxes Reach The Breaking Point”.
Page 2 of the article has a link to information about the level of property taxes in each county, broken out by State.
  • Median Property Taxes Paid on Homes in Lake County: $6,000
  • Median Home Value: $288,600
  • Taxes as Percent of Income: 6.52%
  • About 6.5 percent of household income in Lake County goes to property tax, one of the highest percentages nationwide.
  • Equalized assessed value in the county, home to Lake Forest and Highland Park, for fiscal 2011 decreased about 6.3 percent, to an estimated $28.3 billion, according to the county budget.
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