Lyons SD 103 breaks tradition
Board gives 2-year contracts to three principals
By Steve Metsch
Board President Marge Hubacek said it’s the first time, to her knowledge, the district has approved two-year contracts for principals.The two-year deals run through the 2020-21 school year.
They are for Costello School Principal Mark Ankiewicz, who will be paid $99,910; Edison School Principal Dr. Jan Bernard, $144,532; and George Washington Middle School Principal Donald Jones, $110,000.
Ankiewicz and Jones are completing their first year as principal.
Each salary is for the first year, with the second to be determined, Hubacek said.
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“We don’t want to lose our good principals,” Hubacek said. “It’s based on recommendations from the (interim) superintendents.”
Jorge Torres and Joanne Schaeffer, at last week’s meeting of the Lyons School District 103 board, where rare two-year contracts were given to three principals. Torres voted against each one. Photo by Steve Metsch.
Also approved for just one year was Home School Principal Kristen Smith for $95,790. A group of supporters applauded that pact.
Two-year deals were also approved for Rubi Ortiz and Gary Wheaton, assistant principals at Washington Middle School, $82,400 each; business manager Dr. Sherry Reynolds, salary to be determined; and curriculum director Darek Naglak, $115,000.
Just a week ago, board members said it was unusual for principals to be offered two-year deals.
“If they take a two-year contract after they’re tenured, they lose their tenure. Sometimes they don’t want to do that,” Hubacek said.
She does not think Monday’s action sets a precedent for the still-to-be-hired principals for Lincoln and Robinson schools.
“I would not anticipate that. Usually, a first-year principal gets a one-year contract,” Hubacek said.
Dr. Robert Madonia, one of two acting superintendents in the district, said the two-year deals for principals are based on the jobs they’ve done.
“We don’t offer contracts to any principals that don’t have good performance,” Madonia said.
Joanne Schaeffer, part of the board majority, voted for every contract except student services director Gregory Bublitz, one-year at $117,420; and maintenance director Mark Galba, one-year, $90,640.
In rare moment, she and Jorge Torres, of the board minority, both voted “no” on those deals. Torres voted against 11 of 13 contracts.
“I didn’t vote the same way (as Torres). I voted my heart, my gut, my intellect, whatever. I have some reservations,” Schaeffer said.
Torres’ “yes” votes were for Reynolds and increasing the hourly rate paid translators from $18 to $25. Hubacek said that’s more in line with what’s paid at nearby districts.
“That $18 has been around for years. Some schools pay twice that. We’ll do this in increments, I think, but we wanted to be fair,” Hubacek said.
The board voted to not renew the contract of Caitlin Moore, a non-tenured teacher at Washington Middle School. A reason was not disclosed.
After hiring Mindy McMahon last week for $550 a day to be interim principal at Lincoln School, the board on Monday night decided to bridge a salary gap.
The board by a 5-1 vote agreed to pay Andrea Maslan, who had been interim principal from Feb. 14 to March 18, an extra $50 for each of the 25 days she worked. That total is $1,250. Maslan had been paid $500 per day.
The Lincoln and Robinson jobs have been posted, Madonia said: “We’d hope to have someone in place by late spring. All the contracts start July 1.”
Incoming Supt. Kristopher Rivera will be heavily involved in the process and make recommendations to the board regarding which person to hire, Madonia said.
During public comments, Christine Colucci, a second-grade teacher at Lincoln School, said that after attending several school board meetings, she is “concerned about the present state of mind of all participants invested in the future of District 103 students.”
She said that at the start of each school year, she talks with her students “about teamwork and how everyone needs to be working together toward a common goal.”
“I also speak the same message to parents. Tonight, I’d like to remind everyone here that we are all on the same team with one common goal.
“That goal is raising and educating respectful and successful students. I’ve heard this goal spoken in words but I don’t always see it in actions,” Colucci told the board.
Madonia said a special meeting for parents will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. April 25 at Washington School. The meeting will be about how to help children manage stress, anxiety, grief and loss.
“We’d like to proactively address that. We’ll have our social workers involved,” Madonia said. “If a child loses their grandparent, it’s very difficult for them if they don’t know how to cope with that.”
Fliers will be sent home with students to remind parents about the meeting.
Transition work with new Supt. Rivera “has gone extremely well,” Madonia said. Rivera is visiting each school to meet with parents. Rivera visited Edison School on Monday.
The school board’s next meeting is on April 8 at Washington School.
— Desplaines Valley News