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Ed Schock blamed for U-46 lawsuit

6 February 2011 RS 9 Comments

Abandoned desk, Elgin, IL Abandoned desk, Elgin, IL (Photo by The Elginite).

Courier News columnist Jeff Ward last week laid blame on Elgin Mayor Ed Schock for the ongoing lawsuit against U-46, which has now cost the Elgin-based school district more than $9 million in legal fees. The lawsuit arose in 2004 when Mr. Schock along with three other councilmen–all of whom were subsequently defeated in recent elections–voted informally to hire the firm of Futterman & Howard to sue the school district on the issue of neighborhood schools.

Mr. Ward writes:

I generally applaud Mayor Schock’s judgment, and we’re all prone to the occasional mental lapse, but this one’s a doozy. I know Neale wasn’t easy to get along with, but what did Elgin think would happen when you bring in a law firm that specializes in suing school districts? Once those first drops of blood hit the water, the sharks just couldn’t resist.

He ends the column by calling on the mayor and city to accept responsibility for their role and pay half of the school district’s legal bills.

1. To Mayor Schock and the city of Elgin: Considering your role in underwriting the picking of U46 taxpayer pockets to the tune of $9 million, you’re on the hook for half. You can take it out of the millions the Grand Victoria will likely provide the city this year. Should the district lose this case, I’ll expect you to pony up another $5 million to pay half of Futterman Howard’s billable hours.

After years of motions, discovery and the shuffling of paperwork, the case may now be finally going to trial, according to Mr. Ward. If so, the timing could not be worse for Mr. Schock who is now running for reelection as Elgin mayor. This is also his first competitive race since he was first elected. His opponent, David Kaptain, is a popular member of the city council who has been active for years in Elgin’s civic community.

It remains to be seen whether Mr. Kaptain will make the lawsuit an issue in the mayoral race.

Voters will go to polls on April 5th to pick Elgin’s new mayor and city council lineup, as well as board members for U-46, Elgin Community College and Gail Borden Public Library. Early voting continues through March 31st.

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If you have not already done so please take a moment to vote in our poll for mayor and city council. The poll is in the sidebar. –>

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9 Responses to “Ed Schock blamed for U-46 lawsuit”

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  1. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    I was a voracious blogger before the last election to remind the voters how the Mayor and his informal majority wanted to hire Futterman at an initial cost of 39,000 to explore suing OUR OWN SCHOOL DISTRICT.

    The mayor sent a letter to the editor of the paper explaining why he had to do this and my letter was below his as to why it was a STUPID idea.

    This informal majority should not have been fanning the flames of litigation talk. They should have taken the role of fire fighters and tried to douse the sparks of litigation before they took hold and roared into a flaming class action lawsuit by the parents who took up where the city left off and hired Futterman and consequently burned up 9 million and counting tax payer dollars up in smoke.

    Common Sense came too late as one of the informal majority withdrew support so the formal vote would have been a tie back then with only six on the council at that time and was tabled.

    Council people Walters, Figueroa, and Rodgers all lost their bid for election despite having a total of about 33 years on the council.

    Now Mayor Schock is left. I believe we have to hold our politicians accountable for the FOOLISH IDEA TO SUR OUR OWN SCHOOL DISTRICT AND THE DAMAGE THAT HAS BEEN DONE.

    Councilman Steffen is now up for reelection and he was NOT on the council back in 2004 when this all went down. However, his lawyer wife Kerry Kelly was supporting the lawsuit. (see her quote below)

    Now I have to wonder if he also should be voted out for not stifling his lawyer wife and her litagation talk as well. I wonder as a lawyer himself, why he could not see what was going to come of this?

    I like all of the people in this story personally (I never met Kerry Kelly, Councilman Steffan’s lawyer wife so I don’t know if I like her) but people who should know better need to be held accountable for what this law suit has done to U46, teachers, students, other staff, and school programs.

    The irony of the situation is it still makes perfect common sense to me to have school boundaries that allow more students to go their neighborhood school and not be bused farther away from their homes especially in bad winter weather that is not bad enough to close the school for the day. After school activities are much more convenient when they are at your neighborhood school as well.

    You can read in a July, 2004 Daily Herald article - Elgin Won’t Sue U46 - the whole story as I have shared it in this blog.


    Read the quote by Kerry Kelly (Councilman Steffan’s wife) in the article and you will see why I wish Councilman Steffan would have stifled her so to speak.

    Her quote below -

    “It’s great if the city is on board, but we’re still here if they’re not on board,” said Elgin resident and U-46 parent Kerry Kelly, who is not a potential litigant but supports the parents’ efforts.

    Common Sense research by googling Futterman law firm whould have shown these people that they were dealing with Master Chessman and the locals were merely pawns in their hands.

    Now they go laughing all the way to the bank singing probably singing “We’re in the money” at the tax payers and U46 expense.

    Mayor Schock needs to go because of this. I am on the fence about Councilman Steffan.

    Have you been Schocked enough lately?


    • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

      Sorry for the two typos. Embarrassing.

    • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

      So what can we do to try and end this marginal lawsuit? Columnist Jeff Ward in his article Tell Judge You Can’t Stand It Anymore at the end of the article writes this -

      3. To you, dear readers: I asked a former prosecutor what steps a defendant might take to finally end a debilitating and marginal lawsuit like this one. He said as long as the suit has surface merit, there’s nothing a defendant can do. However, he also said, “Public outcry can have an effect.”

      Well, public?


      So I, Common Sense Clarence Hayward am reaching out to all of those who are tired of U46 being impacted by this class action lawsuit and it’s endless burning of tax payer’s money.

      Please call the judge and leave a message - you get his courtroom deputy’s voicemail - and encourage as many others to do the same. Please also encourage everyone to be respectful as Judge Gettleman is a reasonable man.

      I dialed Judge Gettleman’s Courtroom Deputy at 312) 435-5544 and left a respectful request to end this suit against U46.

      Read Jeff Ward’s entire article called Tell Judge You Can’t Stand It Anymore at -



  2. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    I hope in Councilman Steffen’s interview and picture at the library for the Elginite he will be asked if he had the same views as his lawyer wife Kerry Kelly back in 2004 when she was quoted as saying in the Daily Herald -

    “It’s great if the city is on board, but we’re still here if they’re not on board,” said Elgin resident and U-46 parent Kerry Kelly, who is not a potential litigant but supports the parents’ efforts.


  3. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    In the LWV here is an excerpt from Councilman Steffen’s response to the survey -

    3. What will be your greatest challenge if elected?
    a. to continue to deliver high-quality City services and programs in the face of decreasing revenues; b. to reduce the high unemployment and underemployment of Elgin citizens; c. to overcome the perceived and real shortcomings of our schools; d. to implement sustainable practices publicly and privately.


    Regarding overcoming real shortcomings of our schools. At one time U46 had a 40 million dollar deficit and in 2004 when his lawyer wife in my opinion was so reckless with her litigation talk against U46 I believe not much of that deficit had been whittled away. I think there still is a big deficit.

    I just wish he could have convinced his lawyer wife that Futterman is using her and others like pawns in a chess game and Futterman is the chess master. The district would not be better off with a lawsuit as only the lawyers win and they go laughing all the way to the bank.

    I wish back in 2004 Mr. Steffen could have taken a fire fighter type role and douse the flames of litigation before Futterman orchestrated using the locals as arsonists so to speak burning up 9 million of our tax dollars and the flames are still roaring out of control.

    Now Councilman Steffen in his LWV survey excerpt above says he wants to promote private and public sustainability. A worthy goal and so in the case of the new boundaries, public sustainability would be realizing new U46 boundaries in 2004 were going to allow less carbon spewing busing by sending more kids to their neighborhood schools. It was going to allow less carbon spewing car trips for parents as after school activities would be at more neighborhood schools for more students.

    I really want to hear if he was opposed to his wife on the Suing U46 issue or if he was on the same page as his wife Kerry Kelly back in 2004 regarding this issue?

    Regarding his survey response by letter.

    A. In U46 declining revenues from the suit resulted in teachers, staff, and program cuts.

    B. Some staff and teacher were let go because of lack of funds. U46 sure could have used the 9 million the lawsuit has cost SO FAR.

    C. With this U46 lawsuit over our head there certainly are real and perceived shortcoming to our schools in U46 and to any fully informed real estate buyer.

    D. The new boundaries were much better for sustainability and yet he could not convince his own wife.

    Many, many U46 taxpayers are also Elgin taxpayers. It does not make sense to sue your own taxpayers.

    Too bad he wasn’t working harder on his survey goals back in 2004.


  4. Dannyblake says:

    It only gets better. One of the pro-lawsuit activists (Kerber) is now on the School Board and is up for re-election. Someone should ask her how she now feels about her heroic efforts to bring Futterman and Howard into this mess.

  5. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    Voters of Elgin,

    Ever since 2004, with the city, the parents, and their relationship with the Futterman Law Firm driving up the cost of a lawsuit into the millions of dollars with no end in sight; it has been my goal to see the principal players voted out of office that I contend should not have been talking litigation. I wanted them out of office to send a message to future possible litigation advocates on future issues to think twice before they say something else foolish that would cause some future issues to burn out of control with our tax payer dollars through litigation.

    At the candidates forum 3-2-11 it looked to me like Mayor Schock is aging quite a bit, perhaps because of this issue, perhaps not. It also must be hard for the lawyer wife of Councilman Steffen named Kerry Kelly, to always be reminded of the foolish quote she used to support the parents back in 2004 especially since she is a trained lawyer.

    One last time I will share a Daily Herald news story from 2004 so that people not familiar with this will realize what I am referring to. The article is titled – Elgin Wont Sue U46


    So last night I was reflecting on all this. I was also reflecting on how possibly we lost an ex councilman years ago perhaps partly because of the way he left office over another foolish issue he was involved in.

    I was going to be persistent in my writing on this issue clear up to Election Day but I have decided I am not going to write anymore on it. It will be up to the voters to educate themselves on who they want in office after April 5 without my input as to why they should not vote for some who had foolish litigation talk or had a trained lawyer wife with foolish litigation talk.

    I just wish someone or some group could end this class action lawsuit as easily as I am going to stop my blogging or writing on this issue.

    How about it Futterman?

    Common Sense Clarence Hayward

    • Fudgilito says:


    • Give Me A Break says:

      Clarence Hayward: please SHUT UP. You have been writing the same tripe ad nauseum. The only influence you have in any election is directing your mother, wife and daughter’s votes. You don’t have the balls to actually run for office since you back out each and every time. Your written posts are poorly constructed. Buddy, time to take a break for the good of the Elgin community.