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posted: 10/24/2013 5:00 AM

Downtown conferences valuable to school boards

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I read with interest the article about the cost of suburban school board members attending the annual conferences in Chicago, so I called my brother-in-law for input. He is a retired superintendent of schools in Illinois. He strongly supported the conferences because they update school board members of current changes and trends in education, including updates from the state board whose members are present to answer questions. He also said it is an opportunity to meet with other boards throughout the state.

The conference is also a blessing for new members. It's an education for those who determine the school policies for the educators. School board members are not paid for their services, including preparing for the monthly meetings and various meetings with the schools within the district. My brother-in-law said the conference expenses are a means of saying thank you to the board members for their generous service to voters. He added that they don't get many thank-yous.

I read in the Herald that my school district just passed its budget. I am told Mount Prospect Elementary District 57 covers the cost of the conference itself and little beyond that. I hope this is not true. I am used to tipping well for good service rendered, so I am embarrassed to think we employ the services of these good people in District 57 for a year with no clear thank-you. Let's budget for the members and spouses so they have a nice hotel room, dinner and share a few drinks with their fellow members. My brother-in-law said it creates a bonding for the members who don't always agree but relax after a good cocktail. Should I have skipped the cocktail suggestion? Perhaps not. I'd be pleased to buy each a drink.

Tom McGovern

Mount Prospect

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