There’s blame enough to go around on District 91’s $36,000 Chicago Bears advertising debacle. As we reported last week, our diminutive Forest Park public elementary school district inexplicably paid the Bears $18,000 each of the past two years for a two-page ad spread in a slick magazine aimed at season ticket holders.
This week we report on the school board meeting that followed. Not surprisingly it was a bloodletting. Till now the blood being let belonged to the district’s associate superintendent and the communications director. The superintendent told the Review a week ago that he knew nothing about where more than half of the district’s modest PR budget had been spent.
At the board meeting, Supt. Lou Cavallo properly fell on his sword, taking all responsibility for anything that occurs in the district. It was all very Harry Truman-like.
New this week was the outrage from the elected school board. And outraged they should be. Their school district looks ridiculous.
In an early interview, the school board president said board members couldn’t have known how the money was spent because the annual $18,000 bill was broken down into three invoices of $6,000 and the line item on the bill register provided monthly to school board members for their review did not mention anything about the Chicago Bears.
Except that it did. When the Review FOIA’d the bill register, the line item specified Chicago Bears. That would be six invoices for $6,000 over six months that ought to have caught someone’s attention. That’s why school boards everywhere get the bill register every month. That’s where the taxpayers’ money is going, that’s why taxpayers elect school boards.
Our point is that this is a 360-degree screw-up. Good that new protocols are now in place to guard against such dumb expenditures. An expensive way to learn an obvious lesson.