Chris Jenner wasn’t at the meeting Monday night, but his presence was felt.
Jenner’s voice could be heard by way of a telephone-intercom hookup.
An outspoken fiscal conservative, Jenner was against paying annual dues of $820 to the Illinois Association of School Boards, which he said is a lobbying group in Springfield working to raise state taxes.
He likened the IASB influence to “a stranglehold” on state lawmakers.
“(The $820 in dues) doesn’t sound like a lot, but as a representative of the taxpayers of Cary we have to ask ourselves should we be giving the IASB money,” Jenner told his fellow board members. "We're using taxpayer money to raise taxes."
Board member Floyd Myers told Jenner that calling the IASB “lobbyists” didn’t mean the organization was bad or corrupt.
“You’re painting a picture with bad paint on a bad brush that says all lobbyists are bad,” Myers said. Myers added that lobbyists are needed in Springfield to help lawmakers understand what the issues are.
The board voted 6-1 in favor of paying the dues, but board member Jason Larry asked that the elected officials be apprised of what benefits the school district gets from the IASB.
Brian Coleman, superintendent of Dist. 26 schools, said that T. Ferrier, director of finance and operations, was the only member of his staff that directly benefited from the IASB. Ferrier gets job training and required certification updates.
In other business Monday night, the board approved a measure that would increase lunch fees by a dime. A hot lunch next school year will be $2.40, up from $2.30.