John “No Nose” DiFronzo. Park Ridge District 64. Running schools like a business.


Johnny “No Nose” DiFronzo.

When wealthy Park Ridge foot doctor Dr. Anthony Borrelli and right-wing psychologist Dr. Dathan Paterno were elected to the Park Ridge District 64 school board, they promised a tough line towards the the teachers union. They would run things like a business.

So, naturally the facilities director Scott Mackall hired a mob-connected company for air conditioning work at my old Field School.

When questioned about the mob-owned dumpster spotted behind Field School, Mackall went all, “I don’t know nothin.”

A company with alleged ties to Chicago organized crime has been brought on as a subcontractor for a Park Ridge elementary school construction project.

A green dumpster belonging to D&P Construction recently appeared outside Field School, 707 Wisner St., ahead of an air conditioning, heating and ventilation project slated to occur this summer.

Scott Mackall, Director of Facility Management for Park Ridge-Niles School District 64, said he was told D&P is providing only the dumpster for the project and was subcontracted by Palatine-based Bergen Construction Corporation, which is the company performing the bulk of the work.

“We’re writing [Bergen] the checks,” Mackall said.

The Better Government Association reported in 2012 that the FBI believes D&P Construction is run by two brothers with Chicago mob connections: Peter DiFronzo and John “No Nose” DiFronzo. During the 2007 “Family Secrets” mob trial in Chicago, the BGA said John DiFronzo was implicated in the murders of two mob brothers, but was not charged with a crime.

According to a 2008 report by the BGA and the Chicago Sun-Times, D&P “was the focus of a Gaming Board disciplinary case that stopped Emerald Casino Inc. from building a floating gambling barge in Rosemont in 2001.” The report also stated that the Gaming Board “linked D&P to individuals who have been identified as known members of organized crime.”

D&P Construction has been used on projects for a number of Chicago Public Schools, according to a 2011 investigation by the BGA and Fox 32.

Mackall said he was unaware of the allegations of mob ties and D&P Construction.

“I’ve never heard that at all,” he said.

GOP Matt defends Park Ridge board member, Dr. Dathan Paterno. But makes up his own facts.


Park Ridge District 64 board member Dr. Dathan Paterno.


I love how because he doesn’t share your far left tendencies, he is automatically a psycho unworthy of sitting on the board. If making some bold claims online makes you a psycho, then I’d wager to say you are all right there with him. But we all know that isn’t the case huh?

– GOP Matt

GOP Matt,

Park Ridge school board member Dr. Paterno has no respect for teachers or public education. Respect for teachers and a fundamental belief in the democratic institution of a free public education is hardly a left-wing view.

Dr. Paterno also doesn’t know much about education. He demonstrates this by his most recent Tweets about the Common Core Standards. He admitted he knows nothing about them, even though they are the subject of national debate.

I never called him a psycho. I have never suggested he isn’t worthy of sitting on the board. You made that up.

It is up to the voters of Park Ridge to decide whether Dr. Paterno is worthy to make decisions about their children’s education.

I write about public policy and education.

If he didn’t want his ignorant, right-wiing views known, he wouldn’t tweet them, now would he?

Since Dr. Paterno is public figure on a democratically elected school board, are you suggesting I have no right to comment about his political and policy views?

No matter.  I will anyway.

– Fred

Park Ridge schools don’t pay a living wage.

An article in NEA Today describes little-known national scandal. And a local one.

Had Marianne Murray taken an entry-level job at a fast food restaurant instead of with West Aurora School District 129 in Illinois, she might be earning a living wage by now.

“At McDonald’s, I might have gone into management,” says Murray, an office assistant to the principal at West Aurora High School. “By now, who knows where I’d be.”

Murray’s 33-year marriage ended last year, leaving her with only one paycheck to cover expenses for her and her dog, Ziti. Her two adult children live on their own. Still, after 20 years with the district she is struggling to make ends meet.

“After putting in that many years, I should be able to pay my way,” says Murray, who started as a substitute office worker in 1991 before becoming a permanent office professional in 1993. “If I could start over, I might look at opportunities in the corporate world.”

For paraprofessionals and other non-certified staff in my old district, Park Ridge District 64, the situation is not much different.

The paraprofessionals who work with teachers in classrooms are members of the IEA. Their affiliate is the Park Ridge Teacher Assistant’s Association (PRTAA).

While the teacher’s contract was settled soon after the start of the school year, the unionized paraprofessionals were forced to bargain for most of the year before the board agreed to a 2% raise. The newly elected school board president, Anthony Borrelli, ran for the school board several years ago on a platform that claimed district employees were overpaid. He was joined this year after the contracts were settled by the mad Tweeter, Dr. Dathan Paterno.

But all the members of the board played a role in jerking non-certified school employees around – both unionized and non-unionized – for nearly the entire school year.

Non-certified staff are paid an hourly wage. When the contract was finally agreed to by the board, paraprofessionals received a 2% raise, the exact percentage that members of the teachers’ union had bargained eight months earlier.

This past year a first-year unionized paraprofessional was paid $14.25 per hour.

A paraprofessional with 20 years in the district was paid $23.71 per hour.

The primary responsibility of paraprofessionals in District 64 is to work with students who have Special Needs and other learning disabilities.

I know the parents and many members of the Park Ridge community. They are good folks.

I don’t think they know that many of the the people who take care of the neediest of their children do not earn a living wage.

Superintendent Phil Bender will make over $200,000 this coming year.

The salaries of secretaries and nurses are not published on the district’s website because they are too low to make publishing them a legal requirement.

In Illinois, those who are interested can contact Dave.Rathke@ieanea. He is an organizer for the IEA Living Wage Task Force.

Park Ridge “tax watch dogs”? When it comes to administration bonus they go blind.


Wealthy Park Ridge foot doctor Anthony Borrelli ran for the local school board a few years ago as a representative of the taxpayers. Dr. Daythan Paterno ran a few months ago and joined Borrelli on the board. Paterno was also supported by local Republican tax watch dogs.

Borrelli is now board president.

Dr. Paterno’s self-described outrageous wing-nut Twitter comments that I posted here a month or so ago have caused some buyers’ remorse among Park Ridge voters.

To Paterno’s credit, his wing-nutty views are said unapologetically.

But the hypocrisy of both Borrelli and Paterno was revealed by their votes at the last Park Ridge District 64 board meeting.

Taxpayer watchdogs indeed.

Several Park Ridge schools are seeing class sizes go up.

At my old school, Carpenter, three fourth grades classes are being combined into two, although the numbers of students will remain virtually unchanged.

In contract bargaining with two unionized employee groups, compensation packages were reduced.

Oh. But when it comes to administration bonuses for just doing their job – barely adequately – the watch dogs suddenly go blind and lose their bark.

As a Park Ridge community member wrote me said:

 I find it funny that the board would approve this “merit pay” for the administration to essentially do their job. There is nothing as far as merit pay goes that is deserved. Anyone else is getting time cut, retirement benefits cut. 

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 7.49.42 AM

The merit pay bonuses to administrators listed above were approved at the last board meeting.

Allard and Martin received $2500 each for taking part in contract negotiations?

Grounds and operations chief Scott Mackall got two grand for completing physical plant projects?

District pr flack Bernadette Tramm got a thousand bucks for staying on timelines?

My favorite is the bonus given to Dr. Lori Hinton, on the job for less than a year as the new curriculum director. Her award was for implementing the Common Core.

I’m sorry.

Who implemented the Common Core?

The tax watch dogs are handing out thousand dollar checks to paper pushers for doing the job they were hired to do.

Rather unexceptionally at that.

Watch dogs?


Or is it meow.

More great thoughts from the warped mind of Dr. Dathan Paterno, Park Ridge school board member.


More Tweets from Dr. Dathan Paterno, clinical psychologist and newly elected member of the Park Ridge District 64 board of education.

Beck could discover that Obama was helping plan a terrorist attack to destroy America & the Left would STILL adore him.

Wouldn’t ANY man buying a pressure cooker be odd/rare? Even more so a young man…

Barack Hussein Obama is an evil force trying to destroy our country.

No serious scholar or scientist denies the existence of Jesus.

Nix DOMA & polygamy would be the next “right” on the slippery slope. How could govt DARE 2 limit love to just 1 partner?

Teachers who don’t understand that boys make EVERYTHING into guns/missiles/bombs/grenades…

Liberal tactic: force kids into public school by making the economy weak enough that both parents MUST work full-time.


Another loony right-winger on the Park Ridge school board. He posts some sick tweets.

Joining wealthy Park Ridge foot doctor Anthony Borrelli on the District 64 school board is Dr. Dathan Paterno, a clinical psychologist.

Borrelli ran on a platform of finding cheap teachers.

Paterno spends his time Tweeting.

His recent contributions:

Obama could get caught having sex with both his daughters and Dems would STILL make excuses for him.

Obama could be caught gassing millions of Jews and Dems would still support him 100%.

Big news from Beck won’t be big news to anyone already paying attention…just more specifics re: WHY.

More importantly, ALL Christians detest Westboro & say so publicly, repeatedly. “Moderate” Muslims: mostly silent.

“God bless Planned Parenthood”??? How horrible. Planned Parenthood are the terrorosts of the unborn.

Obama wants God to bless Planned Parenthood. I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure God isn’t into that killing baby stuff

Y’know, I think I’m much more clever on Twitter & Facebook than I am in real life…

Excited for my tenure on the school board to begin this Monday. Ready to do some good.

Who isn’t excited about this yahoo joining the board of ed?

Park Ridge board member Anthony Borrelli expects more gratitude from me.

Park Ridge foot doctor and District 64 board member was not happy with the post I wrote slamming the board for playing cheap with district paraprofessionals and non-union secretaries, health assistants and custodians.

To his credit, unlike other board members, Borrelli ran for the board with the promise that he would fight against salary increases. He won his seat in a low-turnout election, barely edging out an incumbent board member.

But unlike the other board members, Borrelli decided to take a few minutes of Park Ridge board of education time and criticize me for being insufficiently grateful for my “comfortable life” as a retired teacher.

Borrelli’s comments are at 47:00 of this video part two.

Pat Fioretto. Just to be clear.



Pat Fioretto, a member of the Park Ridge school board, wrote and accused me of being less than accurate in my post yesterday about the current state of employee – management relations in District 64.

Just to be clear.

He suggested I had made judgments about the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement between the PREA and the board.

I didn’t.

He suggested I had made judgments about the current content of bargaining between the PRTAA and the board.

I didn’t.

He suggested I called the board scumbags.

I didn’t.

He said I called them Scrooges.

That’s true. 

What they are offering the non-union secretaries, health assistants and custodians qualifies as Scrooge-like.

He claims collective bargaining “works.”

While I am a die-hard defender of the right to collective bargaining, I make no claim that it always works. Not for the employees anyway.

It is better than the alternative.

What is the alternative?

Exactly what the current District 64 Board of Education is doing to the secretaries, health assistants and custodians.

Giving them a take-it-or-leave-it compensation package.

Tell me Pat. If you believe collective bargaining always works, why don’t you and your colleagues engage in collective bargaining with all your district employees?

The in box. Park Ridge board member Pat Fioretto takes exception to my post.

Good afternoon, Fred.

I always have enjoyed reading your posts. I thought , overall, you have been fair with your recitation of facts. Indeed, on most issues I agree with you. However, I think you missed some important facts on this one. You really should talk to the groups who have been impacted by the lowlife BOE. Or, perhaps you can review the video which should be posted on the District’s website shortly. I also would be willing to talk to you or anyone else who might care enough to learn the facts. Most of the individuals who stood in solidarity and spoke (eloquently) to the Board last night, chose to leave before the BOE addressed the matter. You know how to get in touch with me if you wish. I normally do not post comments on blogs, I prefer talking to people–like you and I have done in the past. However, since I am now being accused of being one of those “scumbags,” as referred to by one of your friends, I felt compelled to offer another version of the facts. The PRTAA and the BOE have not even had a mediation session with the FMCS Mediator. Our first session is set for Friday, March 8, 2013. Presumably, you do not know what has been exchanged during the bargaining sessions–nor is it any of your business, at this point. It would be inappropriate for the BOE (or the PRTAA) to discuss the specific terms of any negotiation sessions at this point. You yourself were a lead negotiator and must recognize the importance of these sessions. As to what happened when the BOE did address the two employee groups last night, rather than offer my version of the facts, please review the video for yourself.

Oh, and by the way, when the parties involved in the PREA negotiations finally arrived at a new CBA, the PREA membership overwhelmingly ratified the 4-year Agreement. They must have thought it was “fair.” The next time you speak with some of your old colleagues from the PREA negotiating team (most of whom I would assume would not refer to the Board negotiators as “scrooges”), please confirm with them that part of the reason the negotiations went so long this time, in part, had to do with conflicts in schedules. I said it before and I will say it again–collective bargaining works, it is not perfect, but it works. You forgot to inform the readers of your blog that when the BOE adopted the CBA in front of another standing-room only audience, the room erupted with applause and approval by the PREA membership. How quickly we seem to forget–collective bargaining has worked for the PREA and for the BOE.

As you know, I will soon be off the BOE in May of this year. My 4-year term will expire. I would like to think that I have contributed something positive to the District and community in which I live and have raised my family–despite the misinformation currently being circulated. If not, I am sure there will be a new set of “scrooges” waiting to take my place.

All the best,

Pat Fioretto

The spirit of Anthony Borrelli. Park Ridge board members screw their employees.


Parents and teachers pack the gym at Field School in Park Ridge, supporting the support staff.

When the school year started I ran a couple of posts about the Park Ridge foot doctor, Anthony Borrelli. Borrelli got elected to the District 64 school board in a low turn-out election. He barely eked out a win over an incumbent.

Borrelli ran on a platform of no pay raises for the people who care for and teach Park Ridge kids.

It now appears that the Scrooge-like spirit of Park Ridge foot doctor Anthony H. Borrelli has taken over the board made up of John Heyde,  Scott Zimmerman,  Eric UhligDan CollinsPat Fioretto and Sharon Lawson.

When the Park Ridge Education Association, which represents the teachers in District 64, finally settled on their contract with 2% increase over step, it was the longest negotiation since  the teachers went on strike in 2003.

Normally, the Park Ridge Teacher Assistant Association, also an IEA affiliate which represents the district’s paraprofessionals, then are offered a contract similar in percentages to the PREA.

Not this year. Even with a mediator, there has been no settlement and the paraprofessionals have been working without a contract since August.

Meanwhile the non-union employees – secretaries, health assistants and custodians have had no contract discussions since January.

Then with a one week notice they were given a take-it-or-leave-it offer that took back accumulated sick days and demanded a step freeze.

The gym in Park Ridge’s Field school was packed last night with red-shirt supporters of both the PRTTA and the non-union employees last night. Parent and teachers spoke during the usually pro-forma public comment section of the board meeting for more than 90 minutes.

Standing ovations greeted testimony by employees, parents and teachers.

To their credit, speakers focused on the contributions these employees make to Park Ridge’s high quality schools.

None made mention of the 40% budget surplus the district is running.

It kept running through my mind, however.