Courageous administrator surfaces memo
What was once rumor is now supported by evidence.
Citizens in St Charles were already aware that the St Charles Board of Education willfully violated the Open Meetings Law. Now they can see the bigger picture.
Erwin was apparently trying to force one of her subordinates to grant her - yet another - 85 sick days! That would have been enough for her to vest in the Illinois retirement system - along with Indiana, Texas and Arizona.
The fact that she didn't earn it doesn't seem to have bothered the always principled, Erwin.
The fact that board didn't approve days for 2004 doesn't seem to have bothered her either.
Is this memo evidence of an attempt to defraud the St Charles District 303 and the Illinois Teachers Retirement system?
This from the Kane County Chronicle.
ST. CHARLES – In February, Superintendent Barbara Erwin handed St. Charles schools human resources director Anthony Spahr a memo, stating that she should be awarded 85 additional sick days for every year of work since 2004, he said.
The memo, signed by board member James Gaffney as “past president,” appears to be an effort to retroactively apply a 2005 contract amendment to the deal that she signed to become District 303’s superintendent in 2004.
The amendment gave Erwin 85 sick days’ credit on each July 1 of her contract from 2005 to 2010. It was voted on in closed session April 11, 2005, but was not formally ratified until June 8, 2007.
The school board recently was sanctioned for violating the Open Meetings Act for approving the contract extension in private.
Gaffney’s memo is addressed “To whom it may concern,” is undated and reads: “This is to affirm that the Board of Education, agreed in 2004, as part of her employment contract to award her 340 sick days at 85 days a year.”
Gaffney could not be reached for comment Monday. He first was elected to the board in 2003, was elected president in 2005, and stepped down from that position in February 2006 after a public spat with another board member.
Former board President Bobbie Raehl said Gaffney wrote the memo of his own accord and cited the rest of the school board unfairly, adding that the school board did not discuss the matter until meetings in closed session March 21 and April 11, 2007.
“The board never directed him to do that, but [Erwin] never stopped this close affiliation with Jim Gaffney, he was her confidant,” Raehl said. “I made the board aware of this problem before I left office, before the April 17 election, in an executive session.”
Current board President Kathleen Hewell said she was just recently informed of the note’s existence and doesn’t consider it a very important document.
“I was made aware this weekend when someone read it to me, but I haven’t seen it,” Hewell said. “I don’t think it’s a significant memo; a memo from a past president carries no weight.”
The entire school board was informed of the request before the April election when the district’s attorney, Michael Duggan, provided the board with a legal opinion on the issue.
In general terms, Duggan told the Chronicle: “The amendment amends the contract according to its expressed terms. It’s as simple as what it says; we’re talking about an amendment with very specific terms.”
Hewell said the board would convene Friday and could approve a resolution finalizing the Erwin’s finances.
Among the many credits the board could approve on Friday’s agenda are Erwin’s 255 sick day credits for 2005, 2006 and 2007, in addition to the 14 she earned in 2004, Spahr said.
According to Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System’s spokeswoman Eva Goltermann, an administrator or teacher is eligible for the Illinois pension plan only after accumulating 340 or more days, which typically are earned over a lengthy tenure in Illinois public schools. However, Erwin could take her approximately 269 sick days to Kentucky, where she will serve as the state board’s Commissioner of Education, if they allow a transfer to its pension plan. Erwin also has credits from Texas and an annuity from Arizona.
Erwin, who could not be reached for comment, is scheduled to formally leave St. Charles on Friday and begin in Kentucky on Monday.
" So, Knipp signed the sweet deal, then Gaffney tried to make sure that Erwin got all 340 days even if she didn't earn them? ...It's FRAUD!"
I don't want my kids schools being run by people with absolutely NO MORALS."
"Wow, all we need to know now is what was Erwin going to give Gaffney?"
"...Erwin has shown her lack of ethics as well and I wouldn't put it past her to have tried to pull a fast one on the district by fraudulently handing that memo to Mr. Spahr thinking she can dodge the system she has tried to rip off. There should be laws regarding scamming retirement pension funds at the expense of taxpayers."