Gurnee man says police escort won't keep him from Dist. 121 meeting
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Being escorted by Gurnee police from last month's Warren Township High School board meeting won't deter Ray Biondi from voicing his concerns about financial issues at Tuesday's board session.
"The Constitution has the freedom of speech," said Biondi, whose wife, Liz, is a Warren District 121 board member. "If they want to do that (call police) again, that's up to them."
Members of the Gurnee-based District 121 board gather for an open session at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Almond Road campus for juniors and seniors, 34090 Almond Road in Gurnee. Biondi, an eight-year Gurnee resident who previously lived in Highland Park, said he intends to be there to raise questions again about how the school handles financial oversight.
Liz Biondi, who was present when her husband was ejected by board President John Anderson after the men locked horns Aug. 20, said she was "appalled" by that night's events. She contends Anderson and four other board members don't like critical public commentary.
"I would support anyone to come out," Liz Biondi said. "If they came out to speak against me, I would support them."
Anderson said police will attend Tuesday's meeting as a precaution. He said Ray Biondi was the first visitor in his eight years on the school board to be removed for disrupting the proceedings.
"Time frames will be adhered to (with) three minutes maximum per person, and board comment on the issues will be addressed at a later date after we have time to review the facts," Anderson said. "Dialogue between speakers regarding their statements will not be allowed. If they want to discuss their opinions, they can do that somewhere else without disrupting the school board meeting."
On Aug. 20, Ray Biondi voiced concerns about the high school remaining on academic watch status and Assistant Superintendent of Business Services and Operations Carol Rogers having what he said is too much financial authority without proper board oversight. He alluded to previous financial scandals at Metra and District 121 while making his point.
Gurnee resident Mark Stoyas followed Biondi to the microphone and said he doesn't want to see Warren or its employees "ripped apart" in public as they were after a 2004 scandal.
In that case, former Warren Principal Philip Roffman pleaded guilty to illegally spending $400 on theater tickets for family and friends. An independent investigator also found Roffman submitted false documents to use activity fund accounts for telephone sex, an online swingers club membership and silk neckties.
When Biondi tried to interject while Stoyas had the floor, Anderson attempted to stop him from speaking.
"Point of order, Mr. President. Point of order, Mr. President," Biondi said to Anderson.
"I'm going to have to throw you out of here," Anderson replied.
Biondi contended he had a right to respond to Stoyas under Robert's Rules of Order. Anderson then pointed toward an exit and informed Biondi that police would be called to remove him from the meeting.
As he departed with officers, Biondi asked that the situation be recorded in the meeting minutes, which drew a response from Anderson.
"It's on the tape, dude, so you're fine," Anderson said.
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