It has been a couple of years since I heard from Lee Talley.
Lee is a retired teacher and he wrote a few blog posts that I posted here.
One of them two years ago concerned the closing of Lincoln-Way North High school.
There was a death in my neighborhood last Thursday night.
No shots rang out. No sirens wailed. No yellow police tape cordoned off the scene of the crime. Even worse, the 800+ witnesses could do nothing to stop it.
Last Thursday night, the Lincoln High School District 210 School Board voted 5-2 to close Lincoln Way North High School. Time of death — 8:58 p.m.
And now the year-long wake begins. I feel sorry for the kids and parents, especially the Class of 2017 who will have to spend their Senior year in a new environment. It’ll be like starting all over again.
Built in 2007, Lincoln Way North opened in 2008, followed by Lincoln Way West in 2009. Each school has the capacity for 2,500 students. Both schools are state-of-the-art buildings, with all the bells and whistles that could be thought of at the time.
Now one has been pronounced dead and the other is most certainly on a “death-watch” as enrollment continues to decline.
I always feel bad when a school closes. But Lee shared how this happened because of financial shenanigans involving the superintendent, Lawrence Wylie.
In 2005, a $225 million referendum to build the two new high schools was passed by the district’s taxpayers after the District 210 School Board and then-Superintendent Lawrence Wyllie vigorously pushed an alarmist agenda that “the education of students is going to suffer if we don’t plan for the future now.”
Of course, Wyllie is retired and living in Florida, collecting his $300,000 pension, not returning phone calls or answering questions, while new Supt. Dr. R. Scott Tingley is left holding the bag. And doesn’t this seem to be a familiar scenario these days with all these long-time power players?
Politicians have made a mess of education. Bowing to political whims, special interests, and private money. They keep inserting themselves and their wacky ideas into schools where they have no business going. I keep threatening to write a piece entitled, “No Politician Left Behind.”
Lee got it right, of course. And although I haven’t heard from Lee Talley in a while, I got an email from him today.
His email included this:
Anyway, this just came out today. The Feds indicted former Lincoln Way High School District 210 Lawrence Wyllie on fraud charges today….
Supposedly more indictments are to follow…including former board members…
He sent me a link to today’s Chicago Tribune.
Lawrence Wyllie, the former Lincoln-Way superintendent who led the south suburban district into academic prominence and then set it on a course of fiscal ruin, has been charged with fraud.
Federal prosecutors allege Wyllie, 79, hid the “true financial health” of Lincoln-Way High School District 210 by misusing millions in bond money and fraudulently spent school district funds on personal projects, including Superdog, a dog-training school he ordered built.
Thanks to Lee Talley, you read it here first.