-By Warner Todd Huston
Some residents of Northeast suburban Grayslake have called Michael Carbone the "taxpayer's champion." But the Grayslake School Board does not ascribe to such accolades. In fact, members of the board have censured Mr. Carbone for allegedly attempting to access a password-protected school district computer without permission.
Carbone has described himself as "a watchdog for the parents and children" but it seems he is also concerned with the school district's finances. The incident that has drawn the ire of the other board members was when Carbone tried to find out if any Grayslake teachers had called in sick so that they could attend the union rallies up in nearby Madison, Wisconsin. Carbone told the Chicago Tribune that Superintendent Ellen Correll said 18 teachers were absent, a number Carbone says is low.
According to members of the school board, Carbone then tried to get a password for the district computer system to find out how many teachers were absent on February 22, one of the days of the Madison protests. The board claimed that a phone call seeking the password was traced to District 46 school board candidate Marchell Norris.
On March 17 the board decided to censure Michael Carbone for his alleged part in the incident. Board member Colleen Wade said that Carbone's actions were "completely unethical" and violated the privacy of teachers.
But not everyone agrees with the board members. Blogger and resident Paul Mitchell claims that the root of the matter is in the "nepotism" he sees perpetrated by District 46 Board President Mary Garcia.
Mitchell says that the board is upset with Carbone not because he asked about teachers playing hookey but because he has upset their big spending apple cart. Carbone has alerted the public to district-paid trips to resorts by district staffers, sweetheart consultant jobs to favored past board members, and the fact that Board President Garcia hired her own husband for a district janitor job.
Mitchell told the Tribune that Carbone "has been the only champion of taxpayers on this board for a very, very long time."
"The question of whether there was an unannounced union sick-out action on that day is a relevant question for this board to know," said Mitchell, of Hainesville. "It's a relevant thing for this board to act on, if it was existing."
Several slots on the board are open for election this year. Perhaps board member Carbone will be joined by new members just as interested in transparency as he is.
(Originally posted at Americans for Prosperity, Illinois.)