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District 54 board member regrets vote on raises

MORRIS – District 54 board member Bonnie Cap read a message to the school board Monday night stating she regrets her vote last month to approve the administrative contracts.

“Some of the decisions we are faced with as board members are not easy. Sometimes those decisions that are truly best for the children of the district are financially complicated,” she said at the regular Morris Elementary School District 54 board meeting.

“Last month, the vote for the administrative contracts was a very difficult one. I voted yes in acceptance of these contracts, however, I believe I was not true to myself and my own beliefs, and I regret my June vote in acceptance of these contracts. I was against and I am still against the financial aspects of all the contracts,” she continued.

The board voted, 5-0 last month, with Dave Obrochta and Jerald White absent, to approve contracts for the positions of director of special populations, district principal, and White Oak Elementary associate principal.

Cap said she knows she can’t rescind her vote and even if she could it wouldn’t make a difference, but she wanted to make it clear to the board, district staff and the community that she was not in favor of the financial properties in any of the administrative contracts.

The board had no response to the comments read by Cap.

In June, the board voted to keep Melissa Lohse as the director of special populations with a salary of $74,618.61, with an additional stipend of $13,350 to compensate for the additional duties required of the position for the 2014-15 school year. She received a more than $8,000 raise to bring up her salary to coincide with others in this position in area, Superintendent Teri Shaw said.

District Principal Christopher Maier’s salary of $85,298.99, was approved with an additional stipend of $17,000 to compensate for additional duties required of him as the principal of two schools. He received a 3.25 percent raise.

Christopher Popidinski will continue as White Oak associate principal and also received a 3.25 percent raise. His salary is $67,731.63 with an extra duty stipend of $5,000 to compensate for the additional duties he takes on that would typically be the school’s principal’s responsibility if each school had its own principal.

The stipends were instituted last year when the district switched to one principal and two assistants to compensate them for the extra work load.

Shabbona Associate Principal Scott Stehlik was just hired in May and began work this month so his contract was voted on separately when he was hired.

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