Questions about the level of spending with a privately operated statewide education trade organization have surfaced at Grayslake Elementary District 46.
At issue during a recent meeting was an agenda item to pay $7,020 to the Illinois Association of School Boards to craft an administrative procedures manual.
While all seven board members voted for the deal, Kip Evans raised concerns about how much the trade group is receiving from District 46 taxpayers.
Evans questioned whether a business other than the school board organization could have been sought to help produce an administrative procedures manual at less expense for District 46.
"What I'm getting at is, we seem to be spending a lot of money with the (association)," Evans said.
"And I'm just getting a little concerned about the outflow, ($7,020).
Evans added he had concerns about whether the district sought other companies to produce the manual. He said the school board association will receive "a heck of a lot of money" from District 46.
Superintendent Ellen Correll responded that the school board group was the lone outside option to assemble the administrative manual. She said the other choice would have been to use district employees for the job.
Board member Susan Facklam said District 46 needs an updated document on policies and procedures. She said it won't cost anything to add timely updates to the new manual.
Evans' concerns about spending with the private association came about five months after District 46 was among the school systems that sent representatives to the group's annual statewide convention in Chicago. Registration was $390 per person, but other expenses included hotel rooms, food and transportation for the participants last November.
Proponents have pointed to professional opportunities at the Illinois Association of School Boards' conference, while critics contend it's a taxpayer-funded junket. Association officials said the per-person price to the most recent gathering was $15 more than the previous year.
District 46's spending with the lobbying organization Education Research Development became an issue in 2012.
At the time, former board member Michael Carbone said taxpayers would not support giving a roughly $1,600 fee to the group because it typically pushes for legislation not in their best financial interest.