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Local News

Another school referendum? OSD 308 Board urged to get word out early

If Oswego School District 308 wants to put another referendum on the ballot they need to spread the word in advance to avoid being overshadowed by next year's national election.

That was the suggestion of Oswego resident David Edelman had for the Board of Education Monday evening, July 15, during a meeting at Oswego East High School.

Edelman previously served on the Vote Yes to Invest committee that supported District 308's failed April 2 operating fund property tax hike referendum.

"I understand the financial situation continues to be an issue for our community and I appreciate everyone's efforts," he told the board.

"We (Vote Yes) have begun talking about hopefully the possibility of another referendum in the future. Obviously, with the major national election coming up in 2020 there will be focus elsewhere, so if there is any possibility of considering another referendum, we do need more time," Edelman said.

"We believe that interest is high out there still, and we hope that we can have an opportunity to recruit more volunteers and raise more funds to have a successful effort," he said.

Edelman also thanked the district's teachers who accepted a reduction in stipends in order to keep competitive athletics at the district's junior high schools for the upcoming school year.

"We don't give them (teachers) enough credit," he said.

"I don't know if anybody's come in here and thanked them, but I want to come here and thank them for supporting the kids, and at least we have one more year of junior high sports...we think it's important to not only continue for junior high sports, but for all programming that we have in this district.

"That's an asset to Oswego, Illinois; having all of these programs for a wide variety of kids," he said.

Edelman also expressed his disappointment and frustration with comments made by members of the public in social media and at recent board meetings concerning actions the district has taken to offset an ongoing budget crisis.

"Yet again we have people coming forward in our community, pushing this narrative against administrators. I don't understand it, it's something that has been around for a long time in this community," he said. "I think it's disrespectful to (Superintendent) Dr. (John) Sparlin and the staff here and, honestly, it's just not true a lot of the things that they say.

"Obviously it's a free country, and people are entitled to their opinions, but they're not entitled to their own facts."

He also made direct reference to an article posted to a social media page, that he said contained falsehoods about the district, calling it "completely disrespectful and disparaging to the superintendent, to our administration, to our teachers and to our community.

"It was very, very disturbing to me."

Edelman also referenced an op-ed written by a local political figure that called for cutting all administrative salaries by 25%, hiring contractors and consultants for all non-teaching jobs, and directing money away from public schools to private schools.

"These are people that don't support our school district, they don't support our community, and I'm disappointed that more people didn't stand up and say, 'Enough is enough'...this is totally unacceptable," he said.

The best thing that the OSD 308 community can do, he told the board, is, "Get behind our administration and vote unanimously to renew Dr. Sparlin's contract, and not only support this administration and support the teachers."

"It's totally cowardly to throw people under the bus, and not come in here with viable solutions," Edelman said. "I don't know what their problem is, but this doesn't help. This doesn't help at all. We should be proud of this school district, not tear it down, not tear the people down who are trying to run the largest employer in Kendall County."

The Oswego School District 308 Board of Education will next meet at 7:30 p.m., Monday Aug. 5, in the Community Room of Oswego East High School.

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