Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Comment of the Day: Is an Exiting Administrator "Gaming the System?"

As we approach publication of our final blog post tomorrow, we are publishing one last Comment of the Day that we just received from a D181 Staff Member.  The comment addresses Dr. Schneider's absence from D181. We couldn't agree more with the questions and concerns this brave D181 employee raises.

As always, SOUND OFF (but please do so by 12 Noon on 6/8/16).


D181 Staff Member said...
9:55: I am just now catching up on reading the blog. I am a D181 staff member, and like many other teachers in the District, am sad that the blog is going to end. So I am compelled to send you this information in response to your comment on Dr. Schneider. Here is the text from an email the D181 staff members received from Dr. White on May 23, 2016. It provides some information answers and raises more questions. I am a staff member who will not remain silent. After reading Dr. White's email, I was left feeling very empty and disappointed in an administrator who may be gaming the system. I will comment further after the text of the email:

"Dear Colleagues,

I know that many of you have inquired about Dr. Kurt Schneider's status. As you may know, he has been absent for several weeks. I am pleased to share that Dr. Schneider contacted us today and he is doing well and will return to D181 for a few days starting June 2nd. His last few days in D181 will be spent on transition work with Dr. Christina Sepiol. He is also planning to visit schools and meet with key stakeholders during this time.

On a related note, Dr. Sepiol began her work today in D181. I am confident you will enjoy working with her. She will become a great asset to D181.

Thank you.


What you should all know is that Dr. Schneider hasn't just been absent for several weeks. Several suggests 3 weeks and everyone on staff knows he never returned to D181 after Spring Break -- that was NINE weeks ago. Staff was led to believe that Dr. Schneider was out sick, so no one was going to suggest otherwise. I am glad for him personally if he has recovered from whatever ailed him that he can return to work, but I am not naive enough to be fooled by the verbiage in Dr. White's letter. Dr. White says Dr. Schneider is going to return for a FEW days starting June 2. What does FEW mean? Two, three, four or five days? It certainly doesn't mean more than that under any definition. My understanding is that Dr. Schneider resigned some time ago with an effective date of June 30, not June 5, 6 or 7. So is he being allowed to leave earlier than that now that Dr. Sepiol is here and on staff full time? If so, is he being paid through June 30? I certainly hope not and further hope he hasn't been allowed to game the system by using accrued vacation days. Past administrators who have left have worked right up to their final day. As a teacher, I know when administrators leave, if they have unused vacation days, they are cut a check. They are not allowed to spend their last few weeks on vacation. For me, that would be so wrong and I hope it is not something that Dr. White or any BOE member is endorsing. It sends a wrong message to all other D181 employees. Like I said in the beginning of this comment, I am left feeling very empty and disappointed in what I am seeing play out. This district is not a game, even if some administrators are treating it like one.


    Anonymous said...

    Bloggers: Thanks for posting this. I can't say that I'm surprised by White's email. It is all part of the Code of Silence mentality. Better to fudge the truth than tell the truth. Someone should file a FOIA request after June 30 to determine whether Schneider gets paid through June 30 or took "paid vacation days" off. I know people who have battled cancer and life threatening illnesses and don't take 9 weeks off. What a loser! Does anyone know who is conducting the federal investigation of the LincolnWay district? Someone needs to send the a request to come on over to D181 and determine if everything happening behind closed doors in the Central office is legit. I doubt very much that it is.

    Anonymous said...

    Why don't you send the request? You are someone too. Here is to whom you sent it: REPORTMISCONDUCT@ISBE.NET
    They will offer you confidentiality, especially if you are a teacher.

    IllInoIs state Board of EducatIon
    Legal Division
    100 West Randolph Street, Suite 14-300 Chicago, Illinois 60601-3268
    InstructIons: Please describe below, in as much detail as possible, the nature of the complaint and the educator’s misconduct. You may save, print this form and mail, along with any additional documentation you wish to provide to the address at the top. You may also e-mail same documents to reportmisconduct@isbe.net.

    Also, CC it to our board of education and Dr. Darlene Ruscitti of the Regional Office of Eduction

    Anonymous said...

    In an earlier post, someone referenced the Lincoln-Way School district fiasco. Here are some excerpts from the Chicago Tribune. The similarities are too close for comfort:

    Kadner: Lincoln-Way Parents Seek Justice From a Lawsuit

    "Year after year the school board approved budgets expecting surpluses, the lawsuit contends, and each year the district lost millions of dollars. I doubt think there's any dispute over this point, as some board members have claimed their revenue projections were overly optimistic. But documents assembled by the parents organization claim that the total operating fund budget for fiscal years 2007 through 2015 was projected to be a $509,000 surplus, while actual operating funds for the same period of time resulted in a $31.8 million deficit."

    This is also frighteningly familiar:

    "Sands acknowledges she didn't pay much attention to what has been going on in the school district, claiming she trusted elected officials to do that.

    Citizens in this country have one job and that's to watch everything their elected officials do. I realize we all have other things to tend to, more important tasks. But our entire form of government depends on it being open and honest, and too often it is not and we all accept that. It's the way things get done.

    I told Sands that if she were to run for the school board and win an election, in a matter of weeks she would be participating in secret meetings, refusing to disclose what went on behind closed doors and telling the people who elected her it wasn't their business. I've seen it happen hundreds of times. Rabble-rousers — good, decent people — run for office, get elected and, within the blink of an eye, become part of the process they condemned."

    Lincoln-Way has a highly educated school board. It has a residential base that is affluent and knowledgeable. And its schools are pretty darn good.

    Yet, the school board failed to do its job. And while parents may have been misled about finances, they really didn't ask the tough questions when they needed to be raised. They simply didn't have the time.

    So now they're suing Lincoln-Way, which will pay lawyers with tax money to defend itself, and all of us will pay a Cook County judge to sit in judgment.

    All because no one had the time to do the right thing when it might have really mattered.


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