STOP THE WASTE & BE ACCOUNTABLE: Part 6 of 13

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Graphic Courtesy of Hikingartist.com

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:

  1. Assistant to the superintendent
  2. Payroll Coordinator
  3. Benefits Coordinator/Receptionist (see above)
  4. Director of Technology
  5. Network Administrator
  6. Infrastructure Support
  7. Director of Curriculum
  8. Title I/ELL Coordinator
  9. Director of Special Education
  10. Director of Buildings and Grounds
  11. Principal of George Washington Middle School
  12. Assistant Principal, George Washington Middle School
  13. 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.

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Stop the Waste & Be Accountable – Part 5 of $461, 494

money-heap-how-much-is-enough

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:

  1. 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.
  2. No board members had an opportunity to review the many-paged extension contract before the board meeting.
  3. Hastings receives an 11.1% increase in pay, going from $900 per day to $1000 per day.
  4. Hastings’s contract is four years long – unheard of for school administrators.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Over the course of the four-year contract Hastings will receive $461,494 in compensation for 400 days of work.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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?

Stop the Waste & Be Accountable: Back to School Edition

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Graphic courtesy of http://www.hikingartist.com

It’s been awhile since we’ve checked in on the Lyons Elementary School District 103.  As you recall, Lyons’ Mayor Getty successfully funded a campaign to take over the school board.  Some items for reflection and further investigation:

Open Meetings Act Flaunted? – Is it true that interim superintendent Kyle Hastings meets with the four new board members in his office immediately before each board meeting.  The  new district attorney is in there too (at $175/ hour), so he should know if they are violating the Open Meeting Act, shouldn’t he?  Of course the “old” board members aren’t invited – probably because they know how to read an agenda and make up their own minds on important issues.  It appears that some of the “new” board members don’t even bother to look at the board meeting agenda.

Replacement Already Picked? (Part 1) – Some have noted the action item on the board agenda for a “temporary part-time superintendent secretary.”  I thought Marge was doing just fine.  The logic is to train someone (for a year?) to take Marge’s place when she retires.  Some long-time district employees have inquired about the position but were told that they would have to resign their current full-time position before they could apply for the part-time position – unreasonable at best.  So current employees are effectively shut out of the process.  Presumably, someone unfamiliar with the district has already been selected to replace Marge.  They will be paying two people to do one job – seems like the “new” board members got upset when the “old” board did the same thing last spring.

New District Office Position Needed? – The “new” board members voted in a new position – Staff Accountant.  The district didn’t seem to need one of these for the past 50 years or so.  How does this help keep a lid on spending?

Marge Is Packed Up. Ready to Go? – Marge has packed up all her personal belonging from her office.  Does this have anything to do with the previous items?  Will she be there to train the new person?

Replacement Already Picked? (Part 2) – Nobody is more important to a superintendent than her/his secretary.  So it seems odd that Marge’s replacement has already been selected.  Any superintendent worth their salt would insist on selecting their own secretary.  Could it be that the next superintendent has already been selected and approved the new secretary?  Or will Kyle continue on for a few more years as “interim” superintendent?

Expert at PlayStation and Wii? – The “new” board’s selection to replace Bryan Drozd as Tech Director has a high school degree.  Will he be able to master the sophisticated systems currently operating and successfully supervise 6 staff members?  The district has posted Jakub’s position as well, seeking an individual with a bachelors degree.

Taxation Without Representation

The natives are getting restless.   They’re putting on war-paint and gathering at the harbor. Soon they’ll sneak out to the ships and dump the tea overboard. Why? Taxation Without Representation!

The good people of Lyons, McCook, Stickney, Brookfield and Forest View elected Michael Bennett, Jorge Torres, Katie Broderick and Coleen Shipbaugh to the Lyons Elementary School District 103 board of education to represent their interests. They looked at their latest Cook County tax bill and saw that the school district takes the biggest bite of their taxes, so they wanted people on the school board to make good decisions on their behalf (STOP THE WASTE! BE ACCOUNTABLE!). That didn’t happen.

They didn’t make the most important decision they were elected for – to select the superintendent.   It’s clear to me that they never even met Kyle Hastings before they tried to vote him in as superintendent (prior to when they were legally seated as board members).   I’ll bet they hadn’t even read his resume before the board meeting they did vote him in.

Mayor Getty had met Kyle Hastings.  He made the decision – for all the taxpayers in Lyons, McCook, Stickney, Brookfield and Forest View. He wasn’t elected as a school board member. Taxation Without Representation!

PS – Mr. Hastings will be interim superintendent for 130 odd days.  Who will select the superintendent who will be in charge of the district for years?

Can’t Take a Joke?

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Courtesy of http://www.hikingartist.com

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.

√ Takeover Board of Education

Outside Flyers

I went to last night’s school board reorganization meeting in Lyons.  As I approached the entrance to the building there were six people, several of them Village of Lyons employees, passing out copies of the agenda with a flyer attached.  The flyer was designed to make the current board of education look bad, with gross inaccuracies, lies and statements like “STOP THE WASTE & BE ACCOUNTABLE!”  Why did they felt the need to rub salt in the wound?  Give a parting shot to those who were leaving the board?  Getty’s henchmen were now the majority of the board and they don’t need to intimidate anyone to do whatever Getty wants them to do.  Kyle Leonard, Getty’s flunky assistant, was passing out the flyers and I pointed out one of the inaccuracies on it and he told me, “Don’t take that too literally.”  When I pointed out another inaccuracy he pointed to the door and said, “Go inside and take a seat!”  When I persisted, he started to get angry at me and again told me to go inside.

Once inside I was amazed at the number of people there – probably 300 (we may never know the exact number as Mayor Getty took the sign-in sheets so he could check off who was there).  Some were Village of Lyons employees, others had yellow t-shirts with “Mom” on them, staff members formed clusters toward the back.  The Village of Lyons’ photographer was there snapping pictures.  I sat down beside two guys with union logos on their shirts.  I asked them why they were there and one replied, “I was told to be here. I’m like a lemming and I go where I’m told.”  He wasn’t from the Lyons area.

Shortly before the start of the meeting four people in front of me got up from their chairs and the newly elected board members were escorted in and were seated in the front row.  The Village of Lyons attorney (soon to be the school district’s attorney) Bert Odelson sat next to the new board members.

First order of business – public participation.  Twenty-three people got up and addressed the old board and new board members.  Comments were split with more than half thanking the outgoing board for their service.  Several got up and recited some of the inaccuracies enumerated in the flyer distributed at the door.  Many gave advice to the incoming board members.  They asked the new board to keep children foremost in their minds.  They implored the new board to keep politics out of the district.

Right before the new board members were sworn in flunky Kyle came up and gave them Mayor Getty’s last-minute instructions.

The rest of the meeting was rather anticlimactic.   The new board members promptly voted each other in as president, vice president and secretary although this was only the second board meeting they’ve ever attended.  They put forth their board meeting schedule without consulting with the other three board members to see if they could make the meetings.

In a violation of Roberts Rules of Order they added an Action Item to the agenda to set a special meeting for Thursday.  The purpose of the meeting is to fire the interim superintendents (who’ve already quit in disgust), hire Kyle Hastings as interim superintendent, fire the district’s law firm, and hire Burt Odelson’s law firm.

I wandered around the room after the meeting ended.  There was Mayor Getty making the rounds and congratulating his four henchmen.  As I talked to parents and staff members I sensed their fear of the future. I was told some staff members were putting their houses up for sale so they could move away from the district.  Parents vowed to keep an eye on the new board  but they realized they were powerless to stop Getty from making whatever change he wanted.

I am saddened by the events in District 103.  I don’t think the new board members are bad people, nor do I think they will speak for the parents and children within the district.  They will speak for person – Mayor Chris Getty.

Getty and Odelson

Odelson and Getty congratulate each other after the board meeting.