Grayslake District 46 board member questions membership in lobbying group

Updated 6/7/2012 6:47 PM
  • Michael Carbone

    Michael Carbone

Membership in an education lobbying organization is being questioned by a Grayslake Elementary District 46 board member.

Michael Carbone said Wednesday evening he's uncertain about the benefits of District 46 belonging to Education Research Development, commonly known as ED-RED, based on its support and opposition on certain issues.

Carbone criticized ED-RED's support of a state Senate proposal that would allow local governments, including school districts, to gain necessary money for contributions to employee pension funds created by a state code by skirting an annual tax cap and not needing voter approval to do it.

"We're paying a lobbyist group that I don't think the taxpayers would support," Carbone said. "So I'd like the discussion. It doesn't have to be today."

District 46 has paid an annual fee of about $1,600 for membership in ED-RED, which is based at Maine South High School in Park Ridge. ED-RED charges more to larger systems, such as Evanston Township High School District 202, which paid $4,287 for the 2011-12 academic year.

ED-RED's roster includes at least 13 high school districts and 75 elementary districts from Lake, Cook and DuPage counties. The lobbying group began with seven North suburban high school districts in 1971.

Although Carbone offered his critique of ED-RED, the board didn't participate in a full-fledged discussion. The evening's agenda had listed "Discussion regarding ED-RED" under the new business section.

Board member Susan Facklam asked Carbone to distribute the legislative proposals backed or opposed by ED-RED that he questions, so she and others can do their own research before a future discussion.

Carbone said he doesn't want an ED-RED representative to address the board.

"I think we can talk about it and make a decision," he said.

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