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Is Being a Lobbyist In Springfield a Bad Thing?

Chris Jenner, secretary for the Cary School Dist. 26 Board of Education, is the sole vote against giving local tax dollars to a lobbying group in Springfield that he says will be used to persuade state lawmakers to boost state taxes.

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.

McCloud April 24, 2012 at 12:14 PM
In case the writer of this article missed it, Quinn already raised state income taxes, from 3% TO 5%, while my property taxes went up $1,000. By the way, as is usual, none of the increase is going towards the deficit in Springfield. Out of control pensions, benefits, web site expenses, irresponsible budgets like in D26, continue to run unchecked.
Chris Jenner April 24, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Corrections. The invoice was for membership in the Illinois Association of School Business Officials (also a lobbyist organization), not IASB. And the "stranglehold" isn't on lawmakers (who have already made too many laws and should take a break). It's on the "market" for public school employee "professional organizations". 97% of Illinois school districts are IASB members. They've made it nearly impossible for any competition to exist. When you have a monopoly, what is the incentive for high quality, efficiency, and effectiveness?
Bruno Behrend April 24, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Isn't this illegal? If I'm not mistaken, the use of public money to lobby for the increase in government spending is against the law in Illinois. While not 100% direct in $$ for lobbying, the fact is that funding these administrative associations (some of the greediest institutions in the state) directly leads to your taxes going up. Jenner is right. When will people understand that there is a difference between funding a child's education, and funding a greedy bureaucracy? The cost of education is dropping, and tablets and PCs can bring the content of the world to any eyeball. It is the cost of the unneeded army of public employees that is unsustainable.
ruth kendall April 29, 2012 at 01:45 AM
Mr. Jenner and Mr. Behrend, I agree! When will the "sheeple" wake up?

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