Does Barbara Erwin know what it means to act in good faith?
How is it possible for Erwin, in good faith, to tell the Kentucky Board of Education that she will start her job as commissioner's job on July 16th, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME, telling the St Charles Board of Education that she will be their superintendent until August 4th?
The Kane County Chronicle reports:
Just as with the past two years, Superintendent Barbara Erwin is in line to receive credit for 85 sick days July 1, based on her contract.
What’s different this year is that in mid-July, Erwin is slated to take over as Kentucky’s education commissioner. In addition, Erwin’s announced last day as superintendent is Aug. 4, more than a month after Donald Schlomann takes over as District 303’s leader.
Uncertainty over Erwin’s departure has become the latest issue to arise in recent weeks relating to a controversial contract extension in 2005. If Erwin is on the district payroll July 1, she will receive the 85-day credit from the district to her pension fund.“
She is due to start [in Kentucky] on the 16th of July, but her letter of resignation was dated later than that,” recently elected board member Robert Lindahl said Wednesday. “I would like to see some negotiation to find a just and fair resolution.”
In October 2006, Erwin announced that she would retire from the district. Recently, Erwin told a Kentucky newspaper that differences with the St. Charles school board prompted her decision.“
I will wait to hear from Dr. Erwin to hear exactly what her plans are, but so far, I have seen nothing or heard nothing that would indicate that she is leaving before Aug. 4,” board member Lori Linkimer said.
Asked Wednesday about ongoing issues surrounding her contract, Erwin confirmed her resignation takes effect on Aug. 4 and said, “I signed a contract in good faith with the board, that’s my comment.”
Erwin’s contract came under scrutiny after former board President Bobbie Raehl asked the board to look into how and when it was approved. Included in that contract was an amendment that credits Erwin’s pension fund with 85 sick days each July 1 until it expired.
Minutes from an April 11, 2005, board meeting do not indicate a vote to approve extending Erwin’s contract to 2010. The contract was signed the same day.The issue of a possible Open Meetings Act violation is being looked at by the Kane County state’s attorney’s office.
Meanwhile, while the board awaits its attorney’s opinion on the contract, members who served at the time continue to defend their actions.“I think that’s all under the category of things we need to discuss with our lawyer; ... but what we did was perfectly acceptable at the time,” Board President Kathy Hewell said.
Board member Karla Ray says the sooner the district can start anew with Schlomann as superintendent, the better.“
We represent the residents in St. Charles, and it would be ridiculous to give her those 85 sick days,” Ray said. “I think it would be best for the district to end on a positive note. We need to start with a new superintendent.”
Board members are expected to discuss the contract situation at their May 29 meeting.
In the mean time, some already appear to be looking at the approach to future contracts.“Going forward, you need to make sure the contracts we enter into don’t have provisions that leave the taxpayers at risk,” Lindahl said. “We must explore what options are available to the board with Dr. Erwin’s exit."
A citizen commenting on the Kane County Chronicle's story raised yet another issue:
"AreYouKiddingMe" wrote on May 24, 2007 7:17 PM:
" Why not, she was teaching at Aurora College and Northern last summer. Is it proper protocol for superintendents to receive consulting fees from ERDI? If she started her original contract on July 1 why would she extend it into August? Could it be that she then goes into another year and bumps up her pension and adds to the pot of gold she is getting from this school district? Look at the BIG picture - it's not about the students - it's all about money! "
Section 10 of Erwin's contract stipulates:
10. SUPERINTENDENT'S CREDENTIALS: EXCLUSIVE EMPLOYMENT:
Conditions of continued employment of the superintendent shall include:
"...a. her continued willingness to devote the required time, skill, labor and attention to her employment as Superintendent, and her avoidance (unless given prior approval by the Board) of outside consultative work, and activities unrelated to the duties of the Superintendency which would conflict with and/or interfere with her full-time responsibilities as superintendent."
So the questions are:
- Did Erwin work for ERDI, Aurora and/or Northern during her tenure as St Charles superintendent? ...and if so,
- Did the St Charles school district give her specific permission to do so?
- If the Board gave such permission, is there a record of it?
There IS evidence she taught last summer at Aurora University and get a load of her class times!
The Aurora University Class Schedules, 2006 Summer, (Education) shows that Erwin taught EDU 661, a 3 credit hour class on Educational Leadership, every day for a full week, from 06/19/06 to 06/23/06 - from 08:00AM 04:00PM
The Educational Research and Development Institute (ERDI) is a Lockport, Illinois group that promises its corporate clients a private 3-hour panel discussion with five leading educators. ERDI recruits superintendents to serve on such panels and provide clients with frank, candid insight and feedback on an agenda set by the client.
Here's tomorrow's agenda:
COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT
303 BOARD OF EDUCATION
Regular Meeting Tuesday,
May 29, 2007 Administration Center
201 South 7th Street St. Charles, Illinois
6:00 P.M. CLOSED SESSION
I. CALL TO ORDER (6:00 P.M.)
II. ROLL CALL
III. ROLL CALL VOTE TO ADJOURN TO CLOSED SESSION FOR THE PURPOSE OF
- Employment of Employees
- Imminent Litigation
IV. CLOSED SESSION (6:00 – 7:00 P.M.)
- Employment of Employees
- Imminent Litigation