BGA Sues School District For Violating Transparency Law

Suburban school system won’t turn over complete compensation information on superintendent, in violation of Illinois Freedom of Information Act, so Better Government Association goes to court.

Contact:
Matt Topic (773) 368-8812
Robert Herguth (312) 821-9030

CHICAGO—Taxpayers have a right to know the compensation levels of public officials.
 
After all, taxpayers are footing the bill.
 
But Calumet Public School District 132 doesn’t appear to understand this reality.
 
The Better Government Association filed a lawsuit this month in Cook County Circuit Court against District 132 after the school system refused to provide a full accounting of Supt. Elizabeth Reynolds’ compensation.
 
“Maybe District 132 leaders need their own civics lesson about following the law and being accountable to taxpayers,” said Andy Shaw, the BGA’s president and CEO. “The law is clear: The public is entitled to salary and benefit information on public employees. Period.”
 
“We tried repeatedly over a number of months to get this basic information,” Shaw added. “To meet such resistance raises serious questions.”
 
Shaw emphasized that the BGA isn’t picking on District 132; the BGA sought financial records from hundreds of school districts, and District 132 has been among a very few to balk.
 
Among other things, the BGA’s lawsuit asserts that after “repeated delays and incomplete responses necessitating communications from BGA, CAL 132 eventually produced some information, but to date has not produced (1) records sufficient to show ‘any and all benefits and perks bestowed on Dr. Reynolds including but not limited to payments to retirement accounts, payments for personal cell phones, laptops, tablets and vehicles, payments for unused vacation, sick time and other days off, payments for continued education and any other bonuses’ or (2) records sufficient to show ‘any and all reimbursements, including but not limited to continued education paid to Dr. Reynolds from Aug. 1, 2012 to today.’”
 
Here’s a link to all of the BGA’s legal actions.