Let’s get back to holding newspapers accountable because if anyone needs a taste of their own higher standard medicine, it’s the Beacon-News’ Denise Crosby. Of course, Crosby is the “senior columnist” who’s doing her best to single-handedly send that newspaper into utter oblivion.
When she isn’t citing “evil” as the sole motivation for each and every local murder (that takes real insight!), she’s slamming the East Aurora School District for the same tired old reasons over and over again.
And it all started with former East High School football coach Kurt Becker who, having blown all his Bears money, tried to “leverage” a higher paying position from D131 by going to the press with all sorts perceived slights.
You see, Denise has a thing for ex-football players.
Yes! Like U-46 before them. East Aurora has some serious issues. But also like U-46, the board and administrators are making a real effort to address those issues amid a firestorm of folks who’ve convinced themselves they can do a better job.
Yes! East School Board president Annette Johnson can be abrasive and impatient, but so can I. After working with Crosby for eight long and excruciating years, given the choice, I’ll take Ms. Johnson every time.
So today, in what should’ve been a column celebrating a $660,000 Dunham Fund grant that means a laptop for every student at the new Magnet Academy, Crosby, once again, used the opportunity to pile on a school district that’s already face down on the turf.
Trust me, that kind of thing takes real journalistic courage.
The irony is, the answers to the questions Crosby insists upon “asking” week after week have already been answered in my previous Beacon-News columns. Apparently even Crosby doesn’t read that paper anymore.
But since I’m feeling particularly magnanimous and because I actually did the groundwork, let’s answer ’em again.
The utility late payment fees? Stupid yes, but hardly the stuff of legend. It’s time to let it go.
As I clearly wrote way back then, Assistant Superintendent Christie Aird was disciplined for the new transgender policy fiasco because she didn’t vet it with the district attorneys or board first. And no one has ever disputed my account of those proceedings.
And let’s get this one straight! Former Aurora East finance director Jerry Augustine wasn’t “allowed to retire” – he retired. Despite your best efforts, you can’t stop someone from retiring if they’re old enough to retire! The day the insurance company caught up with the teachers’ premium problem, sensing his impending doom, Augustine retired on the spot.
The reason underling Penny Havlax was fired is because she wasn’t at retirement age and, as benefits coordinator, not only did she fail to pay her own portion of those premiums for seven years, but she was similarly kind to other district personnel.
As far as Havlax’s future – that currently lies in the hands of the State’s Attorney.
And speaking of insurance, the reason the retired teachers’ premiums soared is, whether intentional or through incompetence, the aforementioned insurance mess had some retirees paying 1995 rates. When you consider what’s happened to health care costs over the last 16 years, D131 simply could no longer afford to take the hit.
Though I certainly understand those former employees’ pain, the district did try to ease the blow by moving the health insurance to the Teachers Retirement System.
Yes! The health insurance thing is a nightmare and it never should’ve happened, but how long does one mediocre columnist get to use it as a sledgehammer? And when I think of all the Kane County and Aurora malfeasance Crosby ignored and refused to cover, it drives me nuts.
Here’s a good example. Remember the Steve Orland thing? He’s the Aurora West band teacher who got caught sexually abusing female students. Some time later, the Beacon “broke” a story about a West janitor almost catching Orland in the act a year before he was officially apprehended and charged.
Funny thing is, through some impeccable sources, I brought the janitor’s story to managing editor John Russell and Crosby eight months before then, but they wouldn’t touch it. It wasn’t until CBS News started poking around and then Sun-Time Media West head honcho Andrew Hermmann (a real journalist) forced them to go with it, that it ran.
So I suppose the question is, why does Denise Crosby consistently let West Aurora slide while she hammers the East district day in and day out. What’s the difference between East and West Aurora?
Oh! That’s right!