Longtime D96 teacher retiring after all

Kimberly Zeman Tomkins to receive contractually guaranteed stipend

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By Bob Skolnik

Contributing Reporter

Kimberly Zeman Tomkins is retiring this year after all.

The Riverside District 96 Board of Education voted unanimously to accept the resignation of the longest-serving teacher at L. J. Hauser Junior High School at about 1:40 a.m. on Wednesday.

Zeman Tomkins, a social studies teacher at Hauser who has worked in District 96 since 1976, had originally intended to retire after the 2014-15 school year. But in April she was placed on paid administrative leave after grabbing a student by the arm and verbally berating him.

She was to be given a written reprimand for "unprofessional behavior" and was allowed to return to the classroom after a couple of weeks. But health issues, which according to Zeman Tomkins were exacerbated by the stress of the incident and investigation, prevented her from returning to the classroom.

The school board voted unanimously to allow Zeman Tomkins to retire one year earlier than she had planned and approved a resignation agreement calling for Zeman Tomkins to receive a post-retirement service stipend of $19,200 as called for in the district's collective bargaining agreement with its teachers.

As part of the collective bargaining agreement, Zeman Tomkins will also receive district-provided health and dental insurance through August 31, 2014.

Zeman Tomkins signed a general release of claims and a covenant not to sue the district.

When Zeman Tomkins' resignation was first on the school board's agenda in May, she had not signed a waiver of claims and covenant not to sue and the school board declined to take action.

Zeman Tomkins could not be reached for comment and did not respond to a telephone message left at her home or to an email requesting comment.

Reader Comments

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Sharon Inserro from Oak Brook, Illinois  

Posted: June 20th, 2014 9:23 AM

I'm guessing YOU were not wrong since they asked you to sign away not to sue them. And since it seems you haven't had this problem before since NINETEEN SEVENTY SIX!!!!!! Kids are becoming more disrespectful year after year.The parents should try teaching them MANY things..Couldn't resist commenting. Happy retirement too you..

Kimberly Kuda Zeman Tomkins from North Riverside, Illinois  

Posted: June 19th, 2014 5:35 PM

If interested , read the book, "Guilty Until Proven Innocent: Teachers and Accusations of Abuse" by Attorney Greg Lawler a Colorado Education Association lawyer. Teachers all over this country are being charged with " Guilty Until Proven Innocent." Does not our country believe " that one is innocent until he/she is proven to be guilty?" The rights of teachers all over this country are being jeopardized. "Those in power " seem not to care about the teachers' side of the story nor do "those in power" appear to care about all the other innocent children and their families who are impacted by such knee-jerk reactions.

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