Thumbs-up: To the thousands of residents, businesses, law enforcement officials and more who honored fallen McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Keltner this week. Keltner, 35, of Crystal Lake, was shot and killed March 7 while serving an arrest warrant at a Rockford hotel. On Tuesday and Wednesday, thousands of people mourned Keltner at his visitation and funeral. The law enforcement procession that followed the funeral was estimated to have included more than 700 vehicles. Residents and businesses along the route, which stretched from Woodstock to Huntley, showed up in the cold and rain to hold signs and flags for the fallen deputy. We hope Keltner’s widow, Becki, and their two boys see the love and pride this community has for Deputy Keltner.
Thumbs down: To school districts that choose not to inform the public about the details of contracts before they are voted on. This week, school boards at both Prairie Grove School District 46 and Richmond-Burton High School District 157 voted on new contracts for their superintendents. Although districts are not legally required to divulge the details of those contracts before they are voted on, making those details public certainly is allowed and encouraged. Since the largest portions of a school district’s budget are spent on employees, it’s only logical that the public should know before a school board makes a final determination on the financial terms that taxpayers will be committed to paying in the future.
In the case of Prairie Grove, that included a five-year contract with its superintendent. Districts and public entities have to look no further than McHenry County College, which posted its contract extension for its president before it was voted on, as an example of informing the public before a final decision is made. Teachers’ contracts can and should be handled the same way, like McHenry High School District 156 did after a 2015 teacher strike. Full transparency on these contracts should be an expectation from all taxpayers and something that elected officials take much more seriously. Prairie Grove posted its superintendent contract to its website the day after it was approved. District 157’s superintendent has said he will provide the document after it also is approved by Nippersink School District 2 in a shared superintendent agreement.
Thumbs-up: To Crystal Lake Central Black, which is competing this weekend in the Special Olympics Illinois State Basketball Tournament in the Bloomington-Normal area. The team, coached by teacher Dan Badgley, has been a terrific success at Crystal Lake Central. Badgley hopes that Central’s success will spur the other School District 155 schools to start teams, and we wholeheartedly agree.