Hinsdale’s Richard Skoda.
– By The Hinsdale Observer. The Hinsdale Observer has been involved in issues involving Hinsdale schools for many years.
In suburban Hinsdale School District 86, Richard Skoda’s “Friends for Hinsdale 86” slate is running to keep their Tea Party school board majority intact. Tonight’s board meeting has been moved to Hinsdale Central’s cafeteria to accommodate the large number of people expected, many of whom until recently may have be unaware who Skoda’s “friends” are:
Walsh is a former congressman, member of the Tea Party Caucus, and is best known for his explosive temper and pension for being a dead-beat dad. He currently hosts a Right-Wing talk show on AM radio that was pulled off the air for using racial slurs. Walsh has given Skoda’s slate his enthusiastic endorsement, featured them on his radio show, and promoted a $30 to enter fund raiser for them that coincidentally fell on the same date as the open to the public community-wide forum for all school board candidates in the area.
Bland donated $10,000 to Skoda’s bid for re-election for school board. A vocal Tea Party supporter, Bland has seven kids, none of which he’s sent to D86 schools. Based on this experience, he says the teachers union is ruining the Hinsdale schools while simultaneously claiming to “love teachers” – even though the union in District 86 is made up of all teachers. He loves teachers so much, he believes the district should cut their salary and benefits by 50%. He was recently caught cyber bullying a student, calling Hinsdale South’s senior student body president “uppity” and “the tart Marissa” and other Tea Party dog-whistle terms repeatedly. After defiantly stating “No apology coming. Not now. Not ever.” intense blow-back to Skoda’s slate led him to “decide” an apology for his “poor choice of words” was in order.
Corcoran donated $5,000 to Skoda’s slate for school board. He is the driving force behind the board majority’s Tea Party agenda, and spent $11,000+ of his own money in the previous school board election. He justified significant salary and benefit cuts during teacher contract negotiations by noting teachers should work in Hinsdale for “the prestige.” After over a year of negotiations, he noted in an email that it didn’t matter how many community members wanted him to settle negotiations, he wasn’t going to compromise with the teachers. During a facilities meeting discussing a remodel of lunch lines used by low-income students at Hinsdale South, he asked “Are the students of any one ethnicity or minority?” Then principal Brian Waterman aptly replied “I don’t think that is relevant…” Corcoran is still on the board. Waterman, along with almost every other top administrator in the district, has since resigned.
Skoda has been on the D86 board on and off for 16 years. Previously he supported former board member Dianne Barrett who repeatedly sued the very school board she was a member of. An intelligent man, Skoda likes to say things that are technically correct, but he knows to be intentionally misleading such as quoting figures that are grossly inflated averages to make his point. Fact checking his statements has become a full time job made harder by his board’s “transparent” practice of denying even simple FOIA requests. He has presided over one of the most dysfunctional boards in the history of the district, spending more than $500,000 on legal fees this year alone, refusing to bargain in good faith with the districts now three employee unions, and pushing for for a zero-percent tax levy despite the advice against doing so of his own hand-picked highly paid “CFO.” He called the successful vote for the zero levy a “historic victory”. Skoda’s victory has led to a $1.7 million dollar budget deficit deficit and proposed cuts to student programs.
Manley is a current member of the D86 majority and supports Skoda’s slate. She told recently unionized maintenance workers that requiring them to reapply for their jobs after 25+ years of dedicated service to the district was a way for them to better themselves. She led the charge to bring disciplinary action against teachers who “liked” a Facebook post critical of her board majority. She also believes it was her duty to bully a Hinsdale South student and senior class president to tears for expressing her first amendment rights by distributing campaign literature for candidates Manley doesn’t support. But Manley is certain there is a Board policy against this, even though the Superintendent and Board counsel have stated publicly she is not correct. In fact, she felt it so necessary to enforce this policy herself, she bullied this student publicly two days in a row to the point the police had to be involved.
Casini is a current member of the D86 majority and supports Skoda’s slate. Upon election, Casini ascended to president of the board thanks to the Skoda majority. He stepped down after three months noting he “misjudged” the amount of time required to do the job. He’s walked out of meetings during public comment after voting to delay public comments for hours. Along with Kay Gallo, he replaced Skoda and Corcoan as negotiators and voted to approve the teachers’ contract, breaking with Skoda’s majority to do so.
Greg Gershuny and Fred Cappetta:
Both Gershuny and Cappetta are running with Skoda. Neither has attended a board meeting. Neither will agree to be interviewed individually. Both attended the Walsh pay to enter fundraiser rather than the community candidate forum open to the public. Cappetta has a background in mortuary science and is an Oak Brook lawyer. He thinks that resume is enough to convince voters of his qualifications to join the Hinsdale board. Gurshuny is a commodities trader who says more civility is need at board meetings ironically as he campaigns with the biggest source of incivility on the board for years – Richard Skoda.