Michael Bennett, Jorge Torres, Coleen Shipbaugh and Catherine Broderick voted in favor of the contract while Sharon Anderson, Mark Camasta and Joanne Schaeffer voted against. 

Bennett, Torres, Shipbaugh and Broderick are serving their first terms on the board following their election in April with the backing of Lyons Village President Christopher Getty while Anderson, Camasta and Schaeffer have served previously. Schaeffer was re-elected in April.

Prior to the vote, which followed a 30-minute executive session, an attempt by Camasta to reduce Hastings’ pay to $800 per day was defeated by the same 4-3 vote. The effective date is May 8, the day after Hastings was hired at a special board meeting. 

He will work 130 days, 30 days until June 30, the end of the school year, and the remainder during the 2015-16 school year. That means the district will pay Hastings $117,000 between the two different school years.

Hastings replaces Patrick Patt and Griff Powell, who were hired as co-interim superintendents prior to the election and were paid $800 per day. One of the principal reasons given for terminating their contracts was that the district was paying them in addition to Mary Jo Vladika, who retired as superintendent in March, but whose contract runs until June 30.

A copy of the school district’s contract was not immediately available. The Landmark made a formal Freedom of Information request for a copy of the contract in early May. 

At the sometimes contentious meeting May 28, the board also approved a resolution authorizing the law firm of Odelson and Sterk to intervene on the district’s behalf on proceedings before the Illinois Property Tax Appeals Board. 

That vote, also 4 to 3, came despite concerns raised by Schaeffer regarding Odelson and Sterk’s qualifications and a previous agreement with the law firm of Franczek Radelet.

Leslie Quade Kennedy of Odelson and Sterk noted that two of her colleagues were well-qualified to handle PTAB cases, and Hastings dismissed Schaeffer’s concerns about Franczek Radelet by stating the new resolution would “supersede” any prior agreements.

Odelson and Sterk was hired May 7 as the district’s law firm, replacing the firm of Robbins Schwartz. 

The meeting opened with Hastings describing his efforts to get to know the district by visiting schools and meeting teachers, students and parents, which he termed “very rewarding.” 

However, board members then set the tone for the rest of the meeting by spending 10 minutes on the first action item on the agenda, approving a representative to the Illinois Association of School Boards, including whether such action is by appointment by the board president or by a vote of the full board. Broderick volunteered to serve, an offer that was accepted by one of the few unanimous votes of the evening.

The standing room-only audience from the May 7 meeting was down to fewer than 20 people on May 28 with the majority appearing to support Anderson, Camasta and Schaeffer. 

Typifying the testy spirit of the May 28 meeting, Bennett called for adjournment just as Schaeffer started commenting on the actions of the newcomers in light of their campaign literature from the April election. The motion was approved 4 to 3.