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Schock denies responsibility for U-46 lawsuit

27 February 2011 RS 33 Comments

Elgin Mayor Ed Schock Elgin Mayor Ed Schock (Photo by The Elginite).

Elgin Mayor Ed Schock last week denied responsibility for the ongoing segregation lawsuit against U-46, which has cost the Elgin-based school district more than $9 million in legal fees so far. In one installment of a series of articles on the U-46 lawsuit, The Daily Herald quotes Mr. Schock, who is up for reelection this April, claiming that he did not anticipate a lawsuit:

Elgin Mayor Ed Schock, though, doesn’t see Elgin becoming another Rockford. “It’s a different time, different era,” he said. “The courts have pretty much abandoned busing and all those kinds of schemes communities struggled with. The solutions applied to Rockford don’t seem to be in vogue anymore.”

Schock, a retired principal at Elgin’s Coleman Elementary School, was among those who spoke out forcefully against the 2004 boundary changes. At the time, he hinted the city could pursue legal action to stop the changes, although he now says he never envisioned a lawsuit.

“I never anticipated a lawsuit or thought it would ever get to the point it’s at now,” Schock said. “I’m hoping that whatever comes of the lawsuit does the least amount of damage to the city and the school district.”

A similar lawsuit in Rockford cost taxpayers there $258 million, $30 million alone going to lawyers.

Mr. Schock’s current denials contradict numerous news reports from 2004. A Daily Herald story from January 2004 says:

City officials hinted that if U-46 does not reconsider its plans, Elgin could pursue other options, not excluding a lawsuit, to stop the school closing and boundary changes.

“We’re going to go at this from every possible front. It’s that important,” Schock said.

In a news report from July 2004, then-Councilman Tom Sandor described Mr. Schock as being deeply involved with the hiring of the Futterman lawyers:

Tension within the Elgin City Council has reached its highest point in years, with one member accusing the mayor of trying to be a supreme ruler and showing disrespect for the rest of the group.

Councilman Tom Sandor lashed out at Mayor Ed Schock after the council’s split decision to hire outside lawyers to investigate Elgin Area School District U-46 ’s controversial boundary proposal.

“I’m wondering if we’ve not gotten to be a Middle Eastern dictatorship where certain individuals have the deals done and then bring the details to us,” Sandor said, claiming Schock had arranged to hire the lawyers without involving the full city council. “I believe the way this was handled showed a lack of respect for the entire council and the belief of certain council members that their will is above others.”

Schock rejects Sandor’s claims, including those that he essentially commandeered staff members at Elgin City Hall to do his “political errands” regarding the fight against U-46 boundaries and once again failed to keep the full council informed about and involved in such an important matter.

“He has a tendency of using city staff as if it’s his own kingdom,” Sandor said of Schock . “He treats the city council as if he’s still the principal of Coleman Elementary School and we’re the kids.”

Several weeks ago, Courier News columnist Jeff Ward blamed Ed Schock for the lawsuit and called on the City of Elgin to pay half of the district’s legal bills.

It was on July 2, 2004, that Mr. Schock along with three councilmen, all of whom were defeated in subsequent elections, and a small group of parents informally agreed to hire Futterman & Howard, the law firm which had successfully brought the $258 million Rockford lawsuit. Mr. Schock and his allies on the Elgin City Council allocated $44,000 in city funds for this purpose according to news reports of the time. But then-Councilman John Walters changed his mind about supporting the lawsuit, and the issue was tabled.

The parents continued on with the suit and the lawyers from the same firm, now known as Futterman, Howard, Ashley and Weltman, face off in court on Monday against lawyers for U-46.

The timing of the U-46 lawsuit finally going to trial is unfortunate for Mr. Schock who is in his toughest political campaign since being elected mayor in 1999. He is now locked in a tight contest with Councilman Dave Kaptain, who is vigorously campaigning for Elgin’s top job. 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 the Gail Borden Public Library.

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33 Responses to “Schock denies responsibility for U-46 lawsuit”

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  1. Craig says:

    I really don’t understand how he didn’t anticipate this—From what I can tell, it was pretty obvious.

    I think he’d have a lot more credibility on this issue if he just admitted to a mistake.

  2. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    Voters of Elgin,

    I am schocked to read that Mayor Schock is spinning his non involvement like this. Let’s also remember that he and Councilman Figueroa picketed U46 in 2004 regarding the boundary issue.

    Also, the lawyer wife, Kerry Kelly married to Councilman Steffen was quoted in the below link in 2004 as saying -

    http://www.isbe.net/news/2004/newsclips/040716.htm#el

    “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.

    In the same article in the link you can read this line -

    On July 2, the city council confirmed it informally agreed to hire Futterman and Howard. Gilliam and Councilman Tom Sandor objected, but Schock, Figueroa, Walters and Councilwoman Brenda Rodgers voted in favor.

    A tip of the hat to Sandor and Gilliam for having the common sense to stay out of U46 business. (my comment)

    Now it is time for me to see if I still saved the newspaper clipping that would have appeared in the paper (I think it was the Courier) sometime in the summer of 2004. In my letter I explained why Mayor Schock’s side of the argument did not make any common sense. Above my letter was his side.

    Sometime later Walters withdrew support so the informal majority Mayor Schock had went down to a 3-3 tie with only 6 on the council so they tabled the formal vote to consider hiring Futterman Law Firm at cost of $44,000.

    The mayor as quoted above in this post -

    “I never anticipated a lawsuit or thought it would ever get to the point it’s at now,” Schock said. “I’m hoping that whatever comes of the lawsuit does the least amount of damage to the city and the school district.”

    He certainly is right about the fact that he did not think it would ever get to this point it is at now. (8.6 million dollars of tax payer U46 dollars burned up or in the pockets of lawyers so to speak) That is the whole problem - HE DIDN’T THINK!

    As a formal principal he should have done his home work and saw how Futterman cost Rockford School District 250 million dollars years before.

    Through my eyes it is so important at this election time to keep reminding the voters of this because it holds politicians and local lawyers accountable for their reckless talk.

    I think in the future politicians will think twice before doing something like this because two years ago Walters, Figerua, and Rodgers, who were all part of the informal majority lost their election bids despite having a total of around 33 years on the council. I was a voracious blogger reminding the voters every chance I got before that election about this issue.

    I think Mayor Schock, as the last one of the informal majority is not going to win another four years.

    It will be interesting to see what happens with Councilman Steffen since he has lawyer wife Kerry Kelly with such a foolish quote back in 2004.

    This is nothing personal as I like all the people involved on a personal basis that I have met. (never met Kerry Kelly)

    This is just trying to be proactive and not see in the future the wasting of our precious tax payer dollars.

    Common Sense Clarence Hayward
    “The Taxpayer’s Watchdog”

  3. rm says:

    RS, excellent post.

    So you’ve been doing some real research and not auditioning to be Elgin’s “Kup” over at Villa Verone after all. :)

    My only quibble, is that the Futterman suit was a local team project and shouldn’t be put all on Ed.

    I seem to recall some other NENA elements in the Futterman cheering section, and one other commentator here has indicated that Amy Kerber - current U-46 board member and candidate - was among the instigators.

    Moreover, for those Elginites of a certain age and ability to reflect on Elgin’s broader history and decline, Ed’s negative impact on U-46 began long before the Futterman atrocity.

    Ed was a key leader in the Elgin Teachers Association’s illegal strikes against U-46 and Elgin’s kids 40 years ago. These strikes started the decline of Elgin’s schools and the flight of Elgin’s leadership classes to communities offering sound educational environments like Barrington, St. Charles and Geneva.

    Go back 50 years…, there really was no fundamental reason why Elgin could not have developed as a progressive American community and be like Naperville or St. Charles. But we had Ed. And if you kill the schools, you kill the community. It took a generation of greedy and stupid leadership to destroy a great 150 year old American town and leave the ghettofied wreckage to be consumed by the Chicago Machine and picked over by the Machine’s predatory local agents, Dalton and Noland.

    So there’s a reason Ed’s generation is called The Worst Generation.

    Oh, and remember that Mr. Kaptain is part of that generation, too. He won’t do anything either to stand up to Noland and Dalton or to create the sort of conditions that sustain a strong American community. Dead kids, dead neighborhoods, dead schools, dead retail? So what? He and his wife and their cult are only worried about Elgin’s carbon dioxide numbers in 2075.

    • Todd Martin says:

      RM, you can harp on Amy Kerber’s role in the financial disaster that was Connie Neale’s U46 Superintendent contract all day. I’ll sing right along with you. Here’s an excerpt from the Daily Herals where the U46 Board paid over $13000 to help her move to Missouri while still on the job as U46 Super:
      “They spent an extra $400 to reset and relocate her grandfather and cuckoo clocks. Some school board members have questioned the expenses, saying nobody called their attention to the line item.
      The $13,468 payment to Adco and Van Storage was a single entry among pages of itemized bills that the board voted on but did not review at the July 23 board meeting.

      “It was my responsibility and I’m sorry I missed it,” board member Amy Kerber said Tuesday.

      On the other hand, you’re blind hatred for the global warming theory leads you to make really stupid attacks. Dave Kaptain spent his professional career as a scientist working to make the Fox River clean and safe. Water quality which we depend upon for our tap water. I invite you to compare river quality from when he started to today. Calling environmental service a “cult” is demeaning and a cheap shot.

      You’ve already said you’ve done nothing to help Elgin, yet you continue to bash anyone who has devoted their lives to help others.

    • RS says:

      RM, do you remember what the issues were? As the head of the Elgin teachers’ union in the early 1980s, what was Ed Schock striking for? Better pay, retirement benefits? I noticed from the public pension database that the mayor retired from his U-46 job at the age of 56 and receives an annual pension of $88,100. Together with his wife, who was also a teacher, their combined pension is nearly $140,000 a year. To put that into perspective, that’s almost three times the average household income of Elgin.

      The news database I’m working with doesn’t go back to the 80s. So any information you can share that would save us the pain of microfiche would be appreciated.

  4. 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

    http://www.isbe.net/news/2004/newsclips/040716.htm#el

    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

  5. Dannyblake says:

    RM–you’re right on track.

  6. Dave Reinert says:

    It seems to me that blame is not the issuue here. When reasonable people get involved in an area of law beyound their experties, on an important legal matter, the proper thing to do is get the matter into a court. Let all of the facts be heard by the decision marker(s). If either side is not satisfied with the decision, they have the right to appeal. This is how our legal system works. This is not an electiion issue. It is much bigger. It involves our children. Continue to pray the courts get it right for U-46 and the city of Elgin. Take this matter out of the election. No one I see running is expert enough to resolve this legal battle.

  7. Dannyblake says:

    Dave–in case you haven’t been following the lawsuit, blame is the precise issue and the sole reason behind the suit. The opposing sides are indeed blaming each other, and the only ones that will wind up ahead are the firms that were hired to represent the plaintiffs and the defendants in court. The losers are the taxpayers and the students who could have derived great benefit from the money otherwise spent on the suit.

    So we are all clear–this is a major election issue. If the voters are pleased with the fact that the lawsuit has been dumped in their laps, Schock and Kerber should be rewarded on Election Day since they were two of the responsible parties that brought Futterman and Howard here to begin with.

    If not… Well,I know where my votes are going to be placed.

  8. Dave Reinert says:

    You are taking the whole issue out of context. When reasonable people find it impossible to reach a solution on any issue as important as this matter you file a lawsuit. Many people are involved in this matter. You’re like a Sunday morning quarterback. You peole think you have all of the answers. Be honest, you do not want certain people elected to office so you exagerate and overstate the real issue. Why don’t you spend your time going after the Federal government for the Trillions and Trillions dollars they have imposed on the taxpayer. You have a right to vote for who you want. I don’t think anything will change with new faces on the council. Their all the same. Once they get into office their agenda remains the status quo. There have been many, many pleadings in this case and I expect that who ever is not successful an appeal will follow. I would have to read the entire transcript on the case before I would draw any coonclusion on who is right and who is wrong. An opinion written by an appeals Judge would be a good start. Stay tuned!

  9. Dave Reinert says:

    This is one of several articles from the Daily Herald. You can draw your own conclusions as to why this letigation is in the U.S. Federal court. Years of discovery has preceeded this trial. I think that you will agree. This is not an election issue. It is a complex legal case that could end in the Supreme Court.

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110227/news/702279922/

  10. Anonymous says:

    YOU KNOW WHAT? WHAT THE PEOPLE DO IT WILL NEVER MATTER. WHEN THE OLD SUPERTENDENT CAME HERE LEFT AND TOOK TONS OF MONEY SHE KNEW WHAT SHE WAS DOING WHO’S FAULT WAS THAT NOT OURS THE MAYOR AND THE CITY HALL NOW WE HAVE ILLEGAL PEOPLE LIVING IN OUR COUNTRY AND ALOT IN ELGIN WHO DO WHAT THE HELL THEY WANT. TAKE THE PEOPLE WHO WERE BORN IN THIS COUNTRY’S JOBS, HAVE NO INS , DRIVE AROUND IN 40,000 DOLLAR CARS AND TRUCKS. YES I BLAME THE MAYOR AND CITY HALL THEY LET THESE PEOPLE LIVE IN SINGLE FAMILY HOMES WITH TONS OF PEOPLE UNSAFE. GARAGE DOORS COVERED IN PLASTIC TO KEEP COLD OUT SO THEY CAN LIVE IN THE GARAGE. LET’S START TAKING CARE OF THE LEGAL PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY ALL COLORS AND CREEDS. BUT DO YOU KNOW WHY THEY WILL NOT IT IS CALLED MONEY IN THEIR POCKETS AND VOTES. I REMEMMBER WHEN ELGIN USE TO BE ALOT CLEANER AND SAFER NOT ANYMORE. I AM WILLING TO TRY AND HELP CHANGE BUT IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN BECAUSE ONLY THE ILLEGAL PEOPLE GET WHAT THEY WANT . I THINK WE SHOULD ALL GET TOGETHER AND FIGHT TO GET OUR JOBS AND AND OUR COUNTRY BACK. IT WOULD BE DIFFERENT IF THESE PEOPLE LEARNED THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE LIKE OUR ANCESTERS DID BUT GOD FOREBID LETS KEEP GIVING AND GIVING ONE DAY YOUR CHILDREN AND FUTURE FAMILY WILL BE WITH NOTHING. THIS LAWSUIT IS CRAP ABOUT HOW THE MEXICANS ARE NOT BEING TREATED RIGHT ARE YOU KIDDING ME WHY DO YOU THINK THIS COUNTRY IS IN TROUBLE . THEY ARE GIVEN EVERYTHING ON A SILVER PLATER. JOBS, LINK, SPECIAL TEACHERS TO TEACH ENGLISH THAT TAKE AWAY FROM OTHER ACTIVITIES. PUBLIC AID THAT I AM PAYING FOR WHY MY HUSBAND CANNOT GET A JOB A VETERAN WHO FAUGHT FOR THIS COUNTRY. ALL YOU POLITICIANS THINK OF YOURSELF. REMEMMBER PEOPLE THEY WORK FOR US WE DO NOT WORK FOR THEM. READ THE FIRST PARAGRAPH IN THE CONSTITUTION ALSO THE PREAMBLE THE POLITICIANS SHOULD ALSO READ IT.

    • Dave Reinert says:

      Your should read the Microsoft manual. It will advise you to avoid typing your blog in all caps. This is considered as yelling. Oh perhaps you go around yelling all of the time. Your message got lost in your yelling delivery. I have no idea wht you said as the message got lost in the yelling delivery. I suggest you type your message over using the proper netiquette.

  11. Mary,Mary says:

    I think that anonymous is saying is that the people of Elgin
    are getting tried of footing the bill for everyone and everything,
    I am a fourth generation elginite, and have seen this town
    change in many ways some good some not so good, it would be
    great that we could take care of the people in elgin that need
    it, but I don’t see that happening. There are to many people
    standing with their hands out and they know who they are, and
    we the people don’t stop it from happening.
    I would like to see alot of changes for the city of Elgin, for the
    better, I was told that one voice makes a differance, well I don’t
    think it makes a differance, and the sad part is, is that nobody
    will listen anyway. Try going to a council meeting & see what
    happens there.

    • Truth in Elgin says:

      This city only brings out about 6K in any election so one vote makes a difference. Ask Ruth Munson.

  12. Paquito says:

    Hi, everyone….First at all excuse me for any typing errors I will really try to do my best, since English is my second language..
    I really feel sorry for the person (anonymous) that wrote above about issues the she has no clue about at all. She is talking about Mexicans meaning every Mexican and she is totally wrong she is disrespecting a huge community and nobody should ever do that, in my opinion that only creates hate and I think we have enough of that already she has forgotten about the good people (latino, spanish, mexican, etc, etc.)
    she is putting everybody in the same bad spot and that is not fear for people like me who came here 18 years ago, learned the language (still trying) got a job never collected from the unemployment office, never ask the gov. for food stamps link card, I pay my own medical insurance from work, I drive decent but not $40,000 cars, have a small comfortable house for my wife and two U.S. citizen sons, yes I have had some hard times trying to make it with my salary, yes I have gotten mad thinking that life is not fear, but you know what; instead I enjoy life seeing what I have and not crying about what I can’t have…….

    Lady: if you see a garage with plastic on the door and you think there are people living inside, MAKE A REPORT it will do much better than getting irritated, do the same with any other issues that you know about, a mean makes sense don’t you think?

    sincerely
    A Mexican human being

    • kevinr says:

      Paquito, did you become a u.s. citizen???

    • Dave Reinert says:

      Paquito, There is a certain group in this city that wants to get the Hispanic population ousted. The best the Hispanic people can do is go to the polls on election day and vote for the current Mayor. Mayor Schock, Mike Warren, John Steffen and Anna Moeller will continue to give the Hispanic people living in Elgin a fair lifestyle. You need to make sure you vote, That is the way you are heard. By voting in the election for the right people.

      • Truth in Elgin says:

        DR- As will Kaptain, Powell, Curtin, Moeller….Warren/Steffen vote however the mayor tells them too

  13. MC says:

    Ed Schock is an arrogant bastard who should not be mayor.He has never worked in the real world,only sucking up public money.He does not care what the lawsuit costs taxpayers as long as his pension is paid.Schock and his sidekicks on the city council gave developers millions to develop land and now they are all gone.Elgin roads are the worst in the area and the city cries poor.Maybe if you got the millions back you could take care of what you already have

  14. Dave Reinert says:

    We don’t need that kind of talk on this tboard. There are woman and children who read these blogs. If you want to talk potty mouth go to your favorite bar.

  15. QueenBee says:

    Mr. Reinert-2 years ago Hispanics had the chance to go to the polls in Elgin and support their incumbent Juan Figueroa and challengers Emi Morales and Linda Quezada. They also had 3-4 other candidates who were very soft on illegal aliens. They all lost and lost big. Figueroa was once the top vote-getter in an election and he finished 5th behind two incumbents (Dunne and Prigge) who never ran for office or even served on a board or commission!

    Elgin voters were fed up with Hispanic causes in 2009 and are even more so now. As one posted in the Daily Herald, there have been two arrests of suspected Hispanic child molesters in the past few months. Then you have the speed racer on River Bluff and Douglas with no insurance and no license plus being drunk who crashed into his neighbor’s house in NENA.

    The Hispanic causes have been eliminated since 2009. Hispanics don’t vote in Elgin. Some say they can’t.

  16. paquito says:

    Hello again! Thank you Dave Reinert you are a good person, with a lot of common sense.

    MC: Do you really know Ed Shock to talk about him the way you do? I doubt it. I think that as a person he is one of the best, he is a hard working man that continues to work on issues about the city when he gets home. I know it for a fact!

    QueenBee: Don’t get me wrong I realize that there are “some bad” and I do agree anybody that is molesting children, driving under the influence etc, should be “punished” but there is very few of them (all colors and races) let me ask you all again; what about the rest of the good Hispanic, Latino, Mexican, immigrant community? do we deserve a chance? or, are we to be treated differently because of the very few “bad ones”
    (no answers from haters please) let’s not continue to create what is killing the good inside of people,(hate) and again please give the good people a chance, there are many of them! get to really know them as human beings there are a lot of good things about many, many of us.
    thank you, and hope not to bother anybody with my comments.

    sincerely a Mexican human being

  17. QueenBee says:

    I will take the Hispanic concerns seriously when I see them taking a stand against illegal aliens, many of whom are their fellow countrymen. I have no interest in getting to know any criminal and if you or anyone else has snuck into the U.S., you are a criminal in hiding. Something else: Having children that are, by default, citizens does not entitle their parents to continue hiding out and not suffer prosecution and deportation. What makes the mayor’s race sad is that neither mayor Schock nor Mr. Kaptain have solid positions against illegals.

  18. Fellow Human Being says:

    I thank God for people like Paquito, who face each injustice with an olive branch of peace and whole lot of common, human, sense! And perhaps it is saying something that Schock and Kaptain don’t have solid positions “against” illegals. They both are for the hardworking people who live in this community. We should all be working toward the improvement of our city, together as neighbors, instead of allienating each other based on race. Shame on those who work toward the latter!

    • Dave Reinert says:

      You do mean guys like David White I assume.

      • rm says:

        No, it’s more likely he meant the Illinois Democratic Party.

        Though, to the extent that it indeed is “white,” it’s likely those white elites who partnered with Mexico and under the smokescreen of “immigration” used its poverty as a means of importing cheap labor, cheap drugs, and another tool against the American middle class and, especially, Black Americans.

        Elgin has been the demonstration city for this partnership.

        It’s not just that Elgin has too many poor people. It’s that it has too many people who benefit from that situation.

  19. Combos says:

    Fellow-

    What race are you talking about that’s being alienated? Illegals come in no specific race unless YOU and Paquito would like to turn the criminal issue of being somewhere illegally into a race issue. How convenient it is for illegal aliens to turn their intentional breaking of the law into something UN-intentional like what race they were born unto.