Snollygoster (Def.): A politician who puts politics ahead of principle
On April 4th the good people of Lyons, McCook, Stickney, Forest View and Brookfield will be voting to elect school board members for Lyons Elementary School District 103. I endorse Sharon Anderson, Shannon Johnson and Marge Hubacek.
Why? Because for the past 2 years the board members that snollygoster Chris Getty put in place haven’t made decisions that are good for children. In fact, they made decisions that are good for Getty, which are ultimately bad for children.
When you hire Getty’s buddy at $1,000+ per day and hire a bunch of unneeded custodians you are taking money away from children. That’s what snollygosters do – they make decisions that are good for themselves and not for the good of the children.
If the people of Lyons want to continue voting Getty in as mayor, that’s their choice. But do the people of Stickney, Forest View, McCook and Brookfield want Getty and his henchmen to continue making poor decisions regarding their children? I hope not. I would urge them to vote for Anderson, Johnson, and Hubacek. Their commitment is to the children, not to the politicians.
PS – I had an old D103 friend contact me the other day and asked why I haven’t been writing any Education Under Attack articles. I told her I’ve been retired and away from District 103 for almost five years now. It’s not my fight anymore – it’s the community’s. I hope they take their responsibility for their children seriously and vote in school board members who will put children first.
I had to call the Lyons School District 103 Admin Building the other day. A very nice woman picked up and greeted me with “Village of Lyons. Oops, sorry (giggle). School District 103.”
It got me wondering how many people have left District 103 since Mayor Getty’s school board began just over a year ago (see HERE, HERE or HERE for more). The list:
Assistant to the superintendent
Benefits Coordinator/Receptionist (see above)
Director of Technology
Director of Curriculum
Title I/ELL Coordinator
Director of Special Education
Director of Buildings and Grounds
Principal of George Washington Middle School
Assistant Principal, George Washington Middle School
Principal of Costello School
Those 13 who left collectively had about 200 years of experience in education. Most of the replacements for the above staff are friends of Getty, former (and current) Village of Lyons employees, or recommended to Getty by his friends. They collectively have about 50 years of school experience.
It’s not clear if they understand if they are working for School District 103 or the Village of Lyons. Or perhaps it is clear.
Under “Action Items” on the February 25, 2016 Lyons Elementary School District 103 board agenda was listed, ” XIII E. Motion to Approve Contract Extension for Kyle Hastings as Assistant Superintendent.”
Let’s look at this in a little more detail:
This was not a “contract extension” as Hastings will no longer be the superintendent. The board ended his current contract and created a completely new position of Assistant Superintendent (which the district never had before) and hired Hastings.
No board members had an opportunity to review the many-paged extension contract before the board meeting.
Hastings receives an 11.1% increase in pay, going from $900 per day to $1000 per day.
Hastings’s contract is four years long – unheard of for school administrators.
Hastings will receive an automatic 3.25% increase in each of the next three years of his contract. That means in year-four of the contract his salary will be almost $121,000.
Assuming Hastings also receives board-paid health insurance at about $10,000 per year, his first year income will be $110,000 for 100 days of work. This is about $2.30 per MINUTE of work.
Over the course of the four-year contract Hastings will receive $461,494 in compensation for 400 days of work.
He says he is going to take over the work of Jason Gold. Mr. Gold’s title was “Coordinator of ELA and Math Initiatives, and Teacher/Principal Retention and Development.” Hastings isn’t certified to be the ELA coordinator or to evaluate teachers and principals. He has little or no knowledge of K-8 mathematics.
Hastings said he will also help out in “human resources.” The board has already hired two people to do the job of the one person (Judy Pohanka) who was doing human resources for many years. What this probably means is that Hastings’ job will be to check with Mr. Getty before each new staff member is hired.
Getting back to the numbers, Hastings making $110,000 for 100 days of work is equivalent to $253,000 per year for a superintendent working 230 days.
So why the huge contract? Four years? A total of $461,484? Does Hastings have dirty pictures of Getty? Does Getty owe Hastings for some big favor worth about a half-million dollars? Or is Getty “paying forward” for some big future favor? Does it have anything to do with Kyle Hasting’s son Michael Hastings, senator of the 19th Illinois Legislative District? Looking for more turf to control, Chris?
On the horizon: At the March 24, 2016 board meeting they set up a committee to review the district’s insurance contracts. Hey, doesn’t Chris Getty own an insurance company?
About 5 years ago Chris Getty, mayor of Lyons, IL, decided he would take over the Lyons Elementary School District 103. He ran a slate of candidates for the school board and one was elected. Four years later he got four of his candidates elected, so now he controls the school board. Does anybody care?
District 103 is a small district (one square mile) with less than 3,000 students sitting in the shadows of Chicago. So why does it matter? To me, it’s a test case: do people in the community care who runs their schools? I don’t think it’s right that a powerful person can just decide to take over a school district – not because he wants better schools, but because he wants more power.* Do the people care?
I’m curious to see…
Can anyone put together a war chest bigger than Mayor Getty’s for the next school board election? Or more importantly, will anyone try?
Once the residents of McCook, Stickney, Forest View, and Brookfield know that the mayor of Lyons is controlling their schools will they object?**
Will the parents of District 103 stand up for the teachers who are feeling disenfranchised and are looking to teach somewhere else?**
Will the taxpayers continue to allow an attorney, being paid $185/hr, to speak for the board president and run the day-to-day affairs of the school district?
Is the teachers’ union going to stand up and act on behalf of the students?
Ten months from now nominating petitions for District 103 school board positions will be submitted. Can anyone stop Mayor Getty? Does anybody care?
* Similarly, I don’t think it’s right that a corporation can be given a special status as a charter school – not because they want better schools, but because they want to make a profit.
** I’d be interested in hearing from you about your concerns. You can email me (from home with a non-District 103 email address) at firstname.lastname@example.org. All responses will be kept anonymous.
As predicted here at educationunderattack.info there’s a new chair at the school board table – a $175/hr chair. From now on an attorney from Odelson & Sterk will be seated next to the board president at board meetings. Interim superintendent Kyle Hastings seemed surprised that the board had somehow muddled through the past 40-50 years without an attorney advising them during board meetings. So if the meeting goes three hours the district pays $525 for the attorney to sit and watch District 103 kids sing, or to listen to a report on the drainage problems at Robinson, or hear a parent complain about state testing, or … you get the idea.
1) Mr. Hastings will not be making $800/day like those wasteful interim superintendents who preceded him.
2) Mr. Hastings will collect a check for every working-day from now till June 30th. Isn’t he a mayor somewhere, too?
That’s what the pink flyer Mayor Getty’s assistant handed me said. “THE OLD SCHOOL BOARD IS ONLY INTERESTED IN WASTING YOUR MONEY!!!” So what are the new Lyons District 103 school board members going to do to STOP THE WASTE?
First order of business at Thursday night’s special board meeting was to fire the law firm that served District 103 for 40 years and hire in Odelson & Sterk. Now I’ve been wondering why the new board members wanted to change the board meetings from Monday to Thursday. Here’s my guess: Burt Odelson can’t be there on Mondays. He’s often at North Riverside or Park Forest’s board meetings on Mondays. Let’s play this out a little bit and assume it is Burt’s intent to be at each of District 103’s board meetings (or send one of his other attorneys). The board meets twice a month (24) plus multiple times for goal setting or student disciplinary items (10) for a total of 30 meetings Odelson & Sterk could bill the district for. Two hours per meeting at $175/hr. So if I’m right, District 103 could be spending an additional $10,500 per year. The previous law firm rarely attended board meetings.
The second order of business was to fire the 2 interim superintendents (who had already quit) and hire Mr. Hastings as interim. If they are so interested in stopping waste why didn’t they bring Dr. Vladika back? She’s at home collecting a paycheck. If Mr. Hastings works 38 days till the end of June at $800 per day (we don’t really know what he will be making but that’s what the 2 interims were making) that would be a total of $30,400.
I guess the waste is OK if the money is being spent on your guys.
I hear some people in Getty’s camp were quite upset about the fake To Do list I posted yesterday. I used to read Mad Magazine and they had stuff like that all the time. Or how about that funny IRS Form 1040 they run in the Tribune every April 15th?
I’m not sure if they were upset because they thought I actually went into the dumpsters and found the document (in which case they thought it was real) or if they were upset because to was too close to reality (alright I doubt anyone would let them rename the middle school). Either way they are incensed that Mayor Getty would be depicted in a negative way. Which brings me back to the flyer I was handed as I went into Monday’s board meeting.
First of all, let’s be clear on where the flyer came from. Mayor Getty’s assistant Kyle Hastings handed me the flyer. The flyer was created to make the outgoing board look bad. Why? Four of them were leaving the board: one after 10 years of service, one (who was nominated by Mayor Getty) after 6 years of service. Did the “old school board” do anything to Mayor Getty? The “old school board” was going to be seated for 15 minutes after the flyer was handed to me. What was the point of telling all the attendees that the “old school board” was terrible?
Let’s look at the flyer itself:
DID YOU KNOW?
Since the April 7th Election:
• THE OLD SCHOOL BOARD HIRED 3 SUPERINTENDENTS.
-AT A COST OF OVER $400,000 ANNUALLY!
The old school board hired Dr. Vladika as superintendent on January 23, 2012. On March 30, 2015 the board accepted Dr. Vladika’s retirement. Her last day was April 20th. The old board moved quickly to fill the gap, hiring two people who had previously acted as interim superintendents in District 103 to do it again. Cost: Dr. Vladika $35,500 (estimated salary and benefits of $500/day for 71 days). Two interims worked 5 1/2 days @ $800 per day for $4,400. Total – $39,900 or less than one-tenth of what was on the flyer.
• THE OLD SCHOOL BOARD RUSHED THROUGH THE HIRING OF A PRINCIPAL WITHOUT LOOKING INTERNALLY.
-AT A COST OF OVER $100,000 ANNUALLY!
Obviously they don’t know how schools work. Administrators are given their contracts for the next school year in the spring so you have to hire them from their old district before they sign a contract with a new district. Wait too long and you don’t get the best candidates to apply. Yes they looked internally but found a better candidate externally (didn’t they want the best candidate?) Yes, they paid the best candidate $100,000 – do you think the person was going to work for free? Look at the salaries of other principals in the area and you’ll find $100,000 is a bargain.
THE OLD SCHOOL BOARD CREATED MORE THAN 12 NEW POSITIONS
You got them there – yes the board approved the addition of UP TO 12 local kids to work mowing the grounds and painting the classrooms over the summer. The board has approved similar hirings most summers.
THE OLD SCHOOL BOARD IS ONLY INTERESTED IN WASTING YOUR MONEY!!!
THE NEW SCHOOL BOARDS INTENT:
STOP THE WASTE AND BE ACCOUNTABLE!
Show us the “waste” they’re talking about (they better not create any waste along the way). And let’s see how accountable and transparent the new board members will be.