Central to hold electors meeting on board salaries

A reconsideration of an earlier action to eliminate salaries for Central High Schools Board members will go before district electors next week.

The district will host a special meeting at 7 p.m., Feb. 16, in the school’s all purpose room in response to a petition presented to the board last month asking for a reconsideration of the salary elimination.

The salaries were eliminated by one vote at the annual budget meeting in October.

Any legal voter who is a resident of the district will be able to vote on the salary reconsideration at the meeting.

Annual board salaries until the October action were:

  • President, $2,400.
  • Vice president, $2,400.
  • Treasurer, $2,400.
  • Clerk, $2,400.
  • Members, $2,180.


  1. Dr. Brad Smith says:

    This scheduled reconsideration of an earlier vote to eliminate the Central High School board’s annual salaries is appropriate. While I was one of the majority who voted for the board to show some compassion to our district’s beleaguered taxpayers by demonstrating “good faith” (as I believe Darrel Damon paraphrased it) and giving up their annual pay, this opportunity for a greater number of citizens to vote on this crucial issue is an excellent idea.

    Perhaps it might be the genesis of a review of the board’s financial management of the district’s affairs. For instance, how many people who saw 30 to 40% INCREASES in their property taxes for Central WOULD EVER TRUST THIS BOARD AGAIN ON ANOTHER REFERENDUM?

    I have nothing personal against any of the Central board members. My concerns are based on harsh ECONOMIC REALITY. Contrary to the “recovery hype” and “the recession is over… oh, but we are having a jobless recovery” propaganda; America’s so-called “Great Recession” continues.

    In fact, the stock market rally of last March to very recently has been a “bear market rally”. The economic events of the past year reflect more of what happened after the October 1929 stock market crash– when many “green shoots” seemingly blossomed. Even President Hoover said, “The worst is over.” Financial gurus such as Roger Babson echoed the “politically correct” line articulated by the government, and those who fell for the optimism opium of that time subsequently got slaughtered! Sound familiar?

    No folks, the REAL “Main Street” economy continues to deteriorate as DEFLATION continues to erode our economy into a deflationary depression.

    For example, the Schwan’s guy stopped by my office this morning. He tried to entice me by advising me that “…we’ve reduced our prices on over 120 items…” (with no decrease in portion size). That is DEFLATION. The other day I received a notice in the mail from “Porter’s of Racine”. Although I have never shopped there, somehow I am on their list. Anyway, after “152 years” they are now closing “forever”, due to the economy. More evidence of DEFLATION as people who still buy furniture seek cheaper options. Then I also received a promotion from the CHICAGO TRIBUNE soliciting a 26-week trial subscription to their Sunday edition– but wait! For just ONE CENT more I can also get their Wednesday and Friday editions thrown into the deal for their Sunday paper. Such a deal! Again folks, that’s DEFLATION!

    I could go on with many other examples. The people can’t continue to keep paying these ever-increasing tax levies.

    Having Central’s school board show some solidarity with the taxpayers, as Salem Grade School’s evidently has, is good policy. Beyond that, one wonders why a board that broadcast that the last referendum “won’t raise your taxes” deserves to be rewarded for such “stewardship”.

    Thank you.

  2. Darrel Damon says:

    There is a lot of rumor and precious little fact being spread about the initial action and the intent. Let me try to clear that up, since I was the one that made the initial motion at the annual meeting.

    The district budget has very little room to modify discretionary spending. Somewhere in the area of 90% or more of the budget is fixed by things such as staff contracts, state and federal mandates, cost of commodities such as office supplies and recurring bills such as transportation, heating and electricity.

    Unfortunately, board salaries fall into the discretionary category. Therefore, it becomes a legitimate target when looking for ways to reduce cost without impacting the educational programs in the district.

    One thing that salary elimination does NOT do is eliminate the ability of board members to recoup costs assocated with their duties as board members. They can still submit expense reports and be reimbursed. That was unaffected by their salary status. Therefore, they do NOT need their salary to offset expenses.

    Do board members deserve a salary? Probably. Do they have a right to that salary? Absolutely not. I do not feel one bit of shame in making the initial motion I did since I did nothing I haven’t done to myself. When I was a board member at Salem, I made the motion to reduce my own salary. The people at that annual meeting understood the meaning behind the motion and it carried. Later, salaries were reduced to zero, where they remain.

    When I made that motion at Salem and it carried, there was no cry of “a slap in the face” or disrespect toward board members. Nor was there a petition made to restore salaries, or editorials in the local newspapers. It makes one wonder what is different at Central.

    Let’s call a spade a spade, shall we? The fact is that there are board members who were angry at the motion and they made it clear that they were personally offended and that is why the issue is coming back. I am truly sorry that they took it that way, but the motion was not personal in nature. It was driven by economics. Since the issue is going to be revisited, let’s do it right. Let’s air ALL the issues, including board performance, when reconsidering the issue. I didn’t go there in October, but since the door is being opened, let’s walk through it together.

  3. John Capra says:

    I think it is unfair to ask the board to give up 100% of their small salary, if the budget needs to be trimmed in order to keep the tax levy low then do it across the board (meaning everyone take a small hit in their Central budget). Regardless of their “wont raise your taxes” referendum these people still put in alot of time, effort, and energy to make the school run, i’d be willing to bet if you took all the hours they invested in serving as board members and divided it by their salary it would amount to less than half of minimum wage. The small salary might help them offset some of the expenses they incur from being board members.

    These people are public servants, not volunteers!

  4. Dr. Brad Smith says:

    When this school board shows some true leadership in addressing the needs of our students without bankrupting the taxpayers, then I will make the motion to reinstate their salaries myself.

    I hope that there is a lot of citizen participation at tomorrow night’s meeting. There are many questions regarding this board’s stewardship that require honest answers.

    How about making a unanimous statement demanding that the federal government reorder its priorities for our own local communities?

    Congressman Ron Paul’s bill to audit the so-called “federal” reserve banking system (H.R. 1207) received a historic number of co-sponsors– including our own district’s Paul Ryan. The Senate version mustered 30 brave souls to oppose the banksters ruling our government– truly historic. Though fed chairman Bernanke was reconfirmed, it is clear that the people are starting to wake up.

    Even Steve Forbes put the blame for our Nation’s economic crisis onto Bernanke’s and Greenspan’s shoulders: Under a picture of these two criminals FORBE’S captioned the following: “ARCHITECTS OF DISASTER: ALAN GREENSPAN’S AND BEN BERNANKE’S EASY-MONEY POLICIES WERE THE KEY CAUSE OF THE CURRENT ECONOMIC CRISIS.” (P. 16, 1-18-10 FORBES.)

    This is not “scapegoating”, but the truth. They have bailed out their buddies on Wall Street, but have done as little as possible for Main Street America.

    National issues are truly local issues. That is one way this board could start earning back this community’s confidence.

    Please attend Tuesday night’s meeting– and don’t forget to vote in your respective primaries earlier in the day. (I’m sure the scheduling of this board vote to coincide with tomorrow’s elections was purely by accident.)

    Thank you.

  5. John Capra says:

    If we as citizens are going to take the approach to remove these board salaries until they “address the needs of our students without bankrupting the taxpayers” then we better do the same with the rest of our government and start from our Congress and President all the way down to our local elected officials. Placing blame for the state of our bankrupt schools is not only at the hands of our school board members, one must also look to Madison and how our schools are funded and how our state tax dollars are allocated. I agree with you Dr. Smith that we (as taxpayers) need to do something, and I give you credit for voicing your opinion, but this goes further than pinning everything on this board. I am not sure if you have served in the capacity of a school board member but alot of time and energy is expected of these board members.

  6. Dr. Brad Smith says:

    Thank you Mr. Capra for your thoughtful and respectful commentary. I think that if we visited a whole day that we would find that we agree more on things than not.

    You are right. I have never served on a school or other tax body board. I am not without empathy for what any elected or appointed official sacrifices.

    I agree too with your prior post that these folks are public servants, not volunteers.

    The latter category I have much personal experience with (Kenosha Symphony Orchestra Association board member from 2002 to 2009, current Kenosha County Historical Society board member and Vice-President, Secretary of the Union Cemetery Association, etc.); and I fully appreciate all of our community’s volunteers for whatever cause or organization that is dear to their hearts.

    However, per our own United States Constitution, all power derives from “We, The People”– from the bottom up. This Nation’s problems have clearly been created from the top down. Looking to Wall Street and Washington, D.C. to salvage Main Street America has been a collective exercise in futility– with exceptions noted in my past postings.

    No, we need our local school board, town, village and county board officials to SHOW LEADERSHIP and contibute the MORAL LEADERSHIP that a grass roots movement needs to fix America’s man-made problems.

    I do not consider “stewardship” that is financially and morally irresponsible justification for one’s continued compensation (unless he or she is the exception who actually fought for fiscal responsibility).

    Thank for reading this.

  7. John Capra says:

    Dr. Smith, thank you as well for the respectful commentary. I am currently serving my 27 year with the USAF and have served on our Salem Grade School board, I was completely motivated by wanting to serve our community so I could be in a position to make sound moral decisions based on a foundation of leadership developed in our nations militia. We need our community to have leaders who are role model for our kids to look to, not the sports/hollywood generated heros.

    If I can make it to the meeting tonight I will look forward to meeting you.

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