Jacqueline Parisi, the business manager of Lyons-Brookfield Elementary School District 103, quietly was placed on paid administrative leave in late August while the school district’s law firm conducts some sort of internal probe, the Landmark has learned.
District 103 Superintendent Carol Baker declined to detail the scope of the law firm’s investigation or the circumstances surrounding Parisi’s sudden departure from the central office on Aug. 26.
“There are some things that are being looked into,” said Baker, who confirmed the involvement of the district’s law firm in the probe but wouldn’t elaborate.
“I can’t talk about personnel matters,” Baker said. “We’re hoping to resolve it in the next week or so.”
The District 103 school board has a regular business meeting scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 22.
Burt Odelson, the school district’s attorney, and Parisi did not return calls seeking comment.
Parisi was hired as interim business manager at $500 per day in July 2015, part of a comprehensive shakeup of the central office administration following the election of a new board majority backed by Lyons Village President Christopher Getty.
After spending a decade in the private sector as an information technology professional, Parisi shifted to public school finance in 2004. Since that time, she has led a nomadic career.
When she was hired by District 103 in 2015, it was her fifth school finance job since 2013.
But the school board was happy enough with Parisi’s work that it removed the interim tag and hired her as the full-time business manager at a salary of $118,000 per year in March.
Parisi worked closely with the school district’s auditing firm Baker Tilly to unravel myriad issues with the district’s finances.
The school board also appears to be ready to cut ties with Baker Tilly as its auditor. On Sept. 15 during a meeting of the three-person Architect, Engineer and Auditor Committee of the school board, the committee decided by a 2 to 1 vote to recommend G.W. & Associates of South Chicago Heights as the district’s new auditor.
Two other firms, including Baker Tilly, made presentations to the board on Sept. 15. Committee members Michael Bennett, the school board president, and board member Coleen Shipbaugh recommended G.W. & Associates. Board member Joanne Schaeffer recommended staying with Baker Tilly, which has been the district’s auditing firm for years.
The school board is expected to act on the committee’s recommendation at its Sept. 22 meeting.
G.W. & Associates has served as the auditor for the village of Lyons. The firm has also served as the auditing firm for the village of Orland Hills, where Kyle Hastings, District 103’s part-time assistant superintendent, is village president.