Chris Whelton, the business manager at Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208, is leaving to take an assistant superintendent position at Elmhurst Community Unit District 205.

Last week the District 205 school board voted unanimously to hire Whelton to be District 205’s assistant superintendent for finance and operations. Whelton agreed to a two-year contract. He will be paid $140,000 at his new job next year. His current salary at RBHS is $133,216. He will leave the school on June 30.

“It’s an upgrade for me,” Whelton said. “It’s a step up. It’s an assistant superintendent for finance and operations. It’s a larger district, a community unit district.”

It’s also a shorter commute for Whelton, who lives in DuPage County.

District 205 includes York High School and 12 other schools, including three middle schools, and has about 8,000 students.

Whelton has worked at RBHS for four years. He came to the district in 2007 after working for nine years at Maine Township High School District 207.

“I’m going to miss a lot of the people around here, and I’m going to miss RB,” Whelton said.

Whelton instituted a number of cost-saving initiatives at RBHS, including changing the way the district pays its health insurance broker to a flat rate from a percentage-of-premiums method.

He also bid out numerous services and changed contractors for others, including the school’s lunch room food and bus transportation providers. He also handled purchasing for RBHS.

Whelton created a business services department web page on the RB website that includes an abundance of detailed information about the district’s finances, including a list of all bills paid, past audits, the district’s current contract with the teachers union and much more information.

“We appreciate the work that he’s done here the past four years,” said District 208 Interim Superintendent David Bonnette.

But Whelton’s long-term future at RBHS was uncertain given the school’s pressing need to cut its budget

Last year, Bonnette recommended to the school board that they hire a full-time superintendent and downgrade the business manager to a part-time position. Incoming Superintendent Kevin Skinkis holds a school business officer certificate.

Although the Whelton’s contract was going to be renewed for the upcoming fiscal year, there were no future guarantees, especially with the district needing to make large budget cuts in the wake of the failed April 5 tax referendum.

Whelton’s contract expires on June 30, but he was going to be automatically renewed for next year, Bonnette said.

“He was renewed,” Bonnette said. “Probably would have been on a one-year contract for next year. In a long-term sense, given our financial condition, there was some question, in his mind, about long-term job security.”

Others may be leaving

At a special school board meeting that took place mostly in closed session on May 3, the school board offered a few teachers who had been notified that their jobs would be eliminated part-time positions next year, based on course scheduling needs.

But, Whelton is not the only one leaving RBHS for greener pastures.

Counselor Brett Littlehale, whose position was being downgraded to part time, was hired Monday as a counselor at Downers Grove North High School.

Varsity baseball coach and wellness teacher Dallas Till was offered a 0.6 full-time equivalent (FTE) position. It is not clear if Till will accept the position, but it is believed that he will if he does not find a full-time position elsewhere. Till came to RBHS from Elmwood Park High School two years ago.

Science teacher Mark Schaedel’s position was made a 0.4 FTE position, but it is believed the Schaedel will be following former RBHS science department chair Troy Gobble to Stevenson High School.

Liz Fredlund, a RBHS math teacher and academic support person who will be let go for budget reasons, has reportedly also found another job at another school.

None of these teachers responded to a request for comment from the Landmark.

Kevin Turk, a social studies teacher and academic support person who also received a layoff notice, was restored to a 0.4 FTE position.