District 88's board of education voted 4-2 to place Dr. Willie Mack on administrative leave pending a hearing to terminate his employment. The majority included Ron Anderson, Maria Castrejon, Tommie Miller and Marilyn Thurman. Antonette "Toni" Dorris and John Wicks voted against the motion. Board president Althea Busby excused herself after the closed session and relinquished the gavel to Castrjon.
Parents were outraged to the point of disrupting the proceedings. Professional educators were crying.
Former District 89 superintendent Drew Starsiak will replace Mack at the same rate of pay. Maywood Herald (John Huston)
covered the firing of Starsiak.
The meeting started at 5:34 PM without board member Miller present. The board promptly went into closed session. After returning from close session all board members were present. Busby announced that she would have to "take leave" and appointed Castrejon the acting chair. Castrejon invited board attorney Emanuel Christopher Welch to sit next to her so she would conduct the meeting properly.
Welch is the president of the District 209 (Proviso Township High Schools) board of education. Busby works at District 209. Until recently she was the administrative assistant to Dr. Kelvin Gilchrist, who was recently fired
. See Forest Park Review (Seth Stern)
for more details.
The audience was invited to comment before the board considered motions.
Danielle Smith said, "If there is a problem with our superintendent our community deserves to know it in an open forum."
Sharon Hill added, "We're crucifying him before we know what he can do."
Ms. Wilborn added, "If you didn't come to the parent involvement committee... you weren't trying to hear the parents."
Yesterday there was a parent involvement committee attended by board members Busby, Castrejon, Dorris and Wicks. The parents complained about having to buy paper because the limits placed on photocopying by the school administrators. Also, a student named Chaniqua told about severe bullying problems she was experiencing.
Thurman became defensive and characterized the meeting as a meeting to bash the board. She also claimed she didn't get either the notice sent home with her daughter or the one put into her board package. Of course the board packages were tampered with, most likely by Sam Gardner,
who was acting at the behest of the person or persons that sought to fire Mack. Thurman insisted she had a conflict too.
Anderson was somewhat haughty when he talked about his own academic commitments and the number of semester hours he takes toward getting his MBA. One definitely got the impression that Anderson's first priority is bettering himself and that his school board duties need to be fit around his personal priorities.
Miller cited a "prior engagement".
One of the audience members, Ms. Hobbs explained to the board how she missed her own college graduation to participate in her child's education.
The exchange about the parential involvement committee led to the first getting nasty in open session. Dorris stood and said in a lound voice, "We did educate the parents about the garbage
going on [in District 88]."
After the verbal exchanges over the parent involvement committee, Wicks declared in a loud voice, "I believe this is an illegal meeting." He explained that the meeting was reconvened from the Monday board meeting that started but was postponed for lack of an agenda. "A reconvened meeting does not have a new agenda." Wicks offered a motion to table the meeting. Only he and Dorris voted for it.
Voting on the minutes of past meetings was contentious because Wicks has been trying to gain access to the tapes of the October 17 special meeting
. Anderson, the board secretary and childhood friend of Welch, has the tapes at home.
Anderson's excuse for not providing the tapes is that he had them available for Wicks on one Thursday. Anderson seemed to be implying that Wicks missed his opportunity to ever get access to the tapes.
Wicks wants the tapes because he has concerns about whether Welch acted ethically in a closed session of a meeting.
The votes were largely unanimous or 4-2 with Dorris and Wicks dissenting. The vote on payment of bills was 5-1 with Thurman dissenting, although she did not provide a reason.