Monday, March 13, 2006

SD 228 won't pay for supt.'s degree

The following article appeared in the Daily Southtown. Many of you may be surprised that school districts pay for advanced degrees. In deed many do. The best way to find out if your school district pays for advanced degrees is to go to your school board office and fill out a FOIA for the teachers' and administrators' contracts. Keep in mind once you pay for these education courses you often pay an increase in salaries for the individuals that take this perk.

SD 228 won't pay for supt.'s degree
By Glen Leyden
Daily Southtown

Bremen High School District 228 will not pay about $100,000 for its superintendent to get a second doctoral degree - a decision the board majority says is a cost-saving move but that contend is politically motivated.

Supt. Richard Mitchell has been admitted to Benedictine University's Organizational Development doctorate program. Hundreds of senior-level managers from various fields applied and 25 were accepted, Mitchell said.

The school board voted Tuesday not to pay the cost of the three-year program. Board members Verla Clevenger and Ruth Becker supported the payment.

Mitchell said he will enroll despite the board's decision.

"Dr. Mitchell already has a Ph.D. and this one costs $100,000 and it's not even in administration or education," board president Evelyn Gleason said. "Considering the financial state of our district right now, it's not a good idea."

But Clevenger said this is the first time the District 228 board has turned down a full-time administrator's request for tuition payment.

"If everyone else gets it, why doesn't Dr. Mitchell get it? It's because they don't want him here. He's not one of their good old boys," she said.

District 228 administrators' contracts include a stipulation on reimbursement for higher education, but Mitchell said his does not specify cost or types of degrees.

"I just want them to honor my contract and do what is right for the district," he said, adding that he's reviewing the board's decision with his attorney.

"We're going to find ourselves in a lawsuit," Clevenger said.

Gleason said the board's attorney told her that the board had the right to turn down Mitchell's request.

Mitchell said he applied to the program because it will put him in contact with top managers and executives from a variety of fields and backgrounds. District 228 needs to try new ideas to help pull two of its schools off the state's list of academically failing schools.

"This district needs some out-of-the-box thinking, some innovative ideas," he said. "I have two schools on the watch list, and they're not moving."

The traditional Ph.D. in education that most administrators pursue is not providing those new ideas, he said.

"It is an expensive program but will it help us?" board member Ruth Becker said. "Yes, organizational management is all about finding new and innovative ideas rather than trying the same old ideas every time."

District 228 includes Bremen, Oak Forest, Hillcrest and Tinley Park high schools.

No comments: