What was in the box? Unit 5 credit card charges!

By:  Diane Benjamin

See a pic of the massive stack of papers I received in response to a FOIA request here:  https://blnnews.com/2019/07/05/guess-what-this-is/

My original FOIA was for 18 months of all credit card/ PC card statements and receipts.  I narrowed the request to 12 months and only administrators to reduce the volume.  It’s still a huge amount of information to process.  Revealing what I found will take more than one story.


  • The majority of charges do have matching receipts.  If you remember, District 87 could not produce receipts for some Amazon charges.
  • Sales tax is on some of the receipts, not near as many as District 87.  Some of the Sales tax was refunded.
  • Some receipts are not legible.
  • The majority of food receipts do not state a purpose or who was fed.  Some say things like “staff meeting”,

Deciding where to start wasn’t easy, I opted for here:

You’ve probably heard about School Boards around the State attending the Illinois Association of School Boards convention in Chicago and spending THOUSANDS of dollars doing it.  I don’t remember any reporting on what Unit 5 spent to attend.  I’m not going to post the receipts because this story would be mostly pictures!

All of these charges appeared on one credit card statement – Kimberly Stewart

  • Hyatt Regency – 3 nights 1 Board member $852.90
  • Hyatt Regency – 3 nights, 12 people including Mark Daniel and Martin Hickman and valet parking $10,361.7
  • Hyatt Regency food $23.25
  • Taxi $12.50
  • Restaurant $22.90
  • Taxi $15.60
  • Restaurant $24.00
  • Restaurant $21.60
  • Transit $11.00

Additional charges on Mark Daniel’s credit card statement:

  • Carriage Cab  $11.40
  • Restaurant $16.00
  • Restaurant $38.41
  • Hyatt Regency food $67.92

Charges on Joseph Adelman’s credit card statement:

  • Taxi $13.00
  • Bakery $20.03
  • Taxi $12.25
  • Taxi $13.50
  • Bakery $14.86
  • Taxi $14.00

Curt Richardson was in Chicago during the same time frame, he stayed at a different hotel:

  • Swissotel – 2 nights plus parking $670.64

Grand Total:


The cost of the conference is not included.

I found one credit card charge for Taunia Leffler to attend.  She is a school board member.  The total cost, that appears to be just for her, was $813.70.

Keep in mind, 13 people definitely attended – possibly 14.   It appears registration for the others is not on a credit card statement I received.

If it cost the same for all the others to attend, add at least $10,000 to that number.


14 thoughts on “What was in the box? Unit 5 credit card charges!

    1. It’s ALWAYS “for the children”, “for our/your health”, or “for your/our safety” or for “improving quality of life” That’s the rhetoric they ALWAYS use when they want something shoved down our throats or they want MORE money. It’s gotten VERY old. I just hope more people are finally seeing the light. The waste is out of control.

  1. Meanwhile UNIT 5 WANTS ANOTHER 1% tax for THEIR district. Tell these malcontents to STAY HOME and teach the children about HARD WORK, and not go “jet setting” and living “high on the hog” on OUR TAXPAYER MONEY!
    NO MORE SCHOOL TAXES! Besides, seems ole Jelly Belly says some of the NEW taxes go to the schools anyway. Just more PORK!

  2. Can’t wait to find out who else was there, feeding at the trough of tax payer dollars. They’re all pigs, in my humble opinion, and they should reimburse the tax payers for this completely unnecessary extravagance. It just goes to show they have ZERO respect for us or our money

  3. I’ve worked in education, albeit higher education, for 20 years. I’ve been to many professional conferences, and have come to the conclusion that they’re all pretty much worthless. There’s nothing at them that you can’t learn from reading. The only good part is the networking with others from across the country. But, is that part really worth it? I would say not so much. I’ve chosen to no longer attend them (so, I’m saving you all money!). I can’t say that this is the same for every profession in education, but I would say it is for the vast majority.

    1. I too, in my past have went to them, even then I was appalled at how much was spent on them. It’s kind of sickening and yes, they are basically worthless I even came to think of them as mini free vacations because no information of any real merit was ever miraculously bestowed upon any of the attendees unless they were total novices, but you had to go to the stupid seminars to get the free feeds and the free hotel room – well free for YOU that is, nothing is ever REALLY free. ALL they really are is a social gathering for people whose social lives seem to depend on things like that, and the $$ they pay these usually quite full of themselves and inane “presenters” is also disgusting.

  4. Reading? What’s that?? Will my ALEXIA tell me what I missed??
    Research of books IS a LOST ART!

  5. I keep tabs on what is going on in Unit 5 only because I graduated from there. I read an article in the Ragograph recently that says the budget is in the red and 120 teachers are going to be axed. In reading this article I can pretty much determine its not the teachers that need to be cut its the admin’s credit cards that need to be cut.

  6. Talk about taking advantage and milking the system while using the students as an excuse!

Leave a Reply