Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved.

August 7, 2022

Jasper County Schools Muzzling Board Members – Video Tape Them Privately Reviewing Invoices – Demanding Confidentiality Statements –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On September 13, 2021

Jasper County, IL. (ECWd) –

Every once in awhile, we receive a tip that screams: Look at us, we are doing something bad, we need to hide what we are doing – even from the elected officials in charge of us.

Such appears to be the case with Jasper County School District #1.

In a letter written from Andy Johnson, School District Superintendent, to the elected school board members, he makes several unusual demands of them.

  • Do not share this email
  • They can only review the bills and invoices on September 20th, the day of the meeting, if the district can find time to “allow” them to review the bills and invoices
  • Each board member can only take 2 hours to make their review
  • Each board member must sign a confidentiality statement about the bills
  • No board member will be allowed to bring any notes or recording devices of any kind, including cell phones, with them into the room
  • Each board member will be video recorded during this wonderful “opportunity”
  • They must schedule this time no later than Friday morning, Sep 17th

Of course the Superintendent blames it on the school’s attorney.

This sort of over-the-top disregard for the elected school board members, by one of their employees, is mind-boggling.

We cannot believe any elected official would put up with these types of restrictions placed upon them by one of their own employees.

Who does this Superintendent think he is?

He cannot place extra-statutory restrictions and demands on elected officials in order for them to simply review the bills and invoices they are required to vote on paying.

He cannot infringe upon the First Amendment Rights of these elected officials to tell the public whatever they wish to tell them.

Any such signed confidentiality statement is void on its face; unenforceable.

Any of these school board members who willingly go along with this type of activity need to resign in disgrace – but only after terminating the employment of the superintendent and obtaining new school district legal counsel.

Read the letter (HERE).

SHARE THIS

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on print

RELATED

7 Comments
  • Darrel W. Bruck Jr.
    Posted at 10:27h, 13 September

    It is illegal. The bills are public information. Darrel W. Bruck president and co-founder of OUTRAG. A Kankakee County based general non-profit citizen watchdog group of local government.

  • PK
    Posted at 11:34h, 13 September

    Ouch! That hurts, Mr. Superintendent! And we can cry, not because its our birthday, but because of the credit you’ve extended the school board’s attorney.

  • jannie
    Posted at 11:59h, 13 September

    This does seem strange – some gov boards I know will have the “finance” committee meeting ahead Maybe hr or 2 & an those elected board members who are assigned to that committee attend & I suppose any other member of the elected board can come if interested. The Business Manager presents what was spent during that past month (basically the finance report) If a board member has a question they ask it.. The reports are public record at least I thought so.

  • Jerry L. (Jed) Earnest
    Posted at 12:48h, 13 September

    I was asked thru private messenger who the Districts Legal Counsel is? The School District is represented on a month to month basis with the law firm Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn, LLP of Arlington Heights.

  • Joe Citizen
    Posted at 13:58h, 13 September

    You’re right. This SCREAMS impropriety! This email – if legitimate and actually authored by the Supt. – is foolish to the nth degree! Who would write such an email containing those types of directives?! What public official in his/her right mind would author such a directive let alone expect that it would not be rightfully leaked. Such an authoritarian email NEVER goes without being leaked. Congrats to the leaker.

    Also, why – according to “Jerry L. (Jed) Earnest” – is an outfit originating in Arlington Heights, IL representing the Jasper County School District? Why would the school District use a law firm from way up north? I guess there might not be a local firm capable, there might be a conflict of interest due to relatives, acquaintances, business associates, or otherwise -but it still seems odd.

  • Jack Tarleton
    Posted at 15:15h, 13 September

    Suggested agenda items for next school board meeting:
    1. Accept resignation from school superintendent.
    2. Issue request for bids for new legal counsel.

    You summarized it well, Messrs Kraft & Allen: Who does this guy think he is?

  • Jack Tarleton
    Posted at 11:41h, 14 September

    @ Joe Citizen: Hodges et al. is a ’boutique’ firm specializing in school law and municipal law. In many respects, especially in the internet age, where you are is not as important as what you know.

$