Taxpayer to D113A: Give Credit for Turnaround Where It's Due

A taxpayer is relieved to see the district's financial standing has improved. But he asks the board to recognize others who helped turn it around.

The following is a letter to the editor submitted to Lemont Patch

It was good to read that District 113A is no longer on the IL State Board of Education (ISBE). watch list for an “F” grade. However, the release is illusory at giving true credit for the turnaround.

ISBE President Dr. Christopher Koch, ISBE CFO Robert Wolfe, and 113A Board President Cindy Kelly all cite and credit school board, superintendents, business managers and staff for the turnaround which is misplaced. 

True credit for rescue and turnaround is due those who first called attention to the disaster and sought help from state representatives.  A short list includes numerous vocal taxpayers, Janet Hughes, Karen Siston, and Al Malley and Mike Aurelio, both who sought state representative assistance while incumbents claimed everything was fine.

The press release does not thank Lemont taxpayers who sacrificed home values, rising property taxes and threats of educational chaos.  Nor does it thank those who demanded clarity, ran for office, spoke at meetings, and endured vitriol for their efforts, upstanding citizens like Dalton, Siston, Malley, Aurelio, Hughes, Bushnell, Clausen, Mollo, Petrarca, Kovacik, Jandora, Gatso, Ladas, Olenick, Bradley, Emery, Reigle and many others who called for transparency, understandable truth and change. 

No one should forget what, how, and who brought District 113A to the “F” grade. Those who historically presided over the financial mess never admitted mistakes, sought help, said they were sorry or tried to make amends. Rather, they attacked critics or were silent in their deception or incompetence.  Some left with pay, pensions, and ineptness intact with Lemont taxpayer’s cash for their either paid or unpaid futile services. 

But truth eventually comes to light.  Voters installed new reforming board members who did what they should have done, cleaned house, installed oversight, and restored effective financials.

District 113A needs all the good press it can get, so thank you administration and staff.  But also thank you courageous citizens, taxpayers, parents and board members for your efforts to get District 113A off the “F” list. Nice work for truly un-paid un-pensioned public service.  The new challenge is to return understandable truth and transparency to all Lemont taxing bodies.


Rick Ligthart
Lemont District 113A Taxpayer


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