A Chicago Tribune article published last weekend reflected on questionable spending by the Lake Forest school board on former superintendent Harry Griffith, especially concerning forgiveness of a $75,000 loan to purchase a house, large travel expenses and his school-paid-for car being given to him after he retired.
Lake Forest School Board Presidents — Julia Wold of District 67 and Sharon Golan of District 115 — have offered their responses to the article through a joint statement.
“The Tribune article lacked comparative data from other school districts regarding compensation, retirement benefits, travel expenses, etc," Golan said in a statement released Monday. "For the past two decades countless financial reports and independent audits addressing this information have been presented at public board meetings. We have and will continue to provide detailed and accurate financial information to our constituents through our board and committee meetings, website, and local press.”
The statement from the presidents also said that the Tribune article was, "missing a preponderance of facts." The statement pointed to two specific instances, including that the Board of Education's loan to school official Jennifer Hermes had not been fully paid. The statement said that the loan yielded a financial benefit to the district, and that payments were in the fourth of a five year repayment schedule.
The statement also noted that Lake Forest Bank and Trust supplied banking services to the school because it was the best of the nine bids received, and no other reason. Griffith was on the board of the bank while he was superintendent.
"The story comingled over 18 years of information from multiple school boards, a local bank, the Caucus, local citizens, etc., into one sensationalized report," Wold said in the statement.
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