Thursday, August 10, 2006

Two retired school officials take over D-36 superintendent duties

The article below appeared in the Northwest Herald.

Mr. Dodds retired in 2004. In his first year of retirement his pension was at least $116,036.62. This amount is paid annually. After five years this amount will increase 3% per year. By his ninth year of retirement he will have collected over 1 million dollars in primarily taxpayer funded dollars. While collecting this retirement of $116,036.62 in retirement he is allowed to continue to work without a decrease in this pension. District 36 is paying him 400 dollars a day, it is also likely that his old District 15 is paying his medical insurance until he reaches medicare age. Likewise Ms. Fleshman is earning $75,992.25 in retirement while collecting 400 dollars a day from District 36. The TRS system as it is set up allows able-bodied people to retire at 55 with full pensions many well over 100,000 dollars a year and still allows them to work part-time. Illinois taxpayers could be saved millions of dollars annually if teachers retired at 65 like social security recipients. We would also save millions of dollars annually if teachers and administrators were not allowed to work and also collect a full pension.

Two retired school officials take over D-36 superintendent duties
Publication Northwest Herald

WONDER LAKE - Two retired administrators are leading Harrison Elementary School District 36, which paid former Superintendent Charles Barber $60,000 last month as part of a resignation agreement.

JoAnne Fleshman, Barber's predecessor, and William Dodds, who retired as McHenry District 15's superintendent in 2004, began sharing superintendent responsibilities July 5, with only one working each day, board President Linda Amettis said.

The district is paying them a $400 daily stipend, or a combined $96,000 for the academic year, Amettis said. State law allows a retired administrator to work up to 120 days a year; the district does not provide medical benefits.

That cost is less than the $113,667.79, including retirement contributions, that the district paid Barber last year. Barber, who completed the second year of a five-year contract, offered his letter of resignation and signed the deal May 23. He worked through June 30.

Under the agreement, the district provided a recommendation letter that characterizes Barber as a "people person" who improved the district's deficit budget, facility needs, and staff concerns.

"I think it just wasn't a good fit," school board Vice President Karen Parks said. "Hopefully, there's no hard feelings on either side."

Amettis added that Barber's personal life changed recently but declined to offer further details.

Attempts to reach Barber for comment this week were not successful. He said in his resignation letter that he was proud of the district's progress over the past two years, but "I feel the need to serve education in another role for the rest of my career."

A longtime district resident, Bob Anderson, said he was disappointed to see that the district had paid Barber such a large sum.

"I'm very disappointed that the board would give him $60,000 to get rid of him," said Anderson, who drove a district school bus for 35 years.

"But I'm not shocked," Anderson said. "I'm sure the taxpayers won't be happy to see that."

Meanwhile, Fleshman and her husband, John, a retired principal, are conducting the search for a permanent replacement. The board will review applications and conduct several interviews after the Fleshmans advertise the position and create a list of qualifications with public input.

The couple, who conducted a similar search for Grass Lake School District 36 in Antiochin 2004-05, are donating the time for the search. The district will reimburse their travel and phone expenses.

"We [will] facilitate by talking with different groups of people," JoAnne Fleshman said. "We're going to set up a meeting with the community and teachers where we talk about the different roles and characteristics."

By JILLIAN COMPTON

jcompton@nwherald.com

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