The Lyons-Brookfield School District 103 Board of Education on Sept. 22 voted 6 to 1 to direct Superintendent Carol Baker to issue a “notice of charges for dismissal” against the school district’s business manager Jacqueline Parisi.
Parisi has been on paid administrative leave since Aug. 26 and the school district’s law firm, Odelson & Sterk has been conducting an investigation, details of which were revealed to the school board behind closed doors during the executive session portion of the board’s Sept. 22 meeting.
Longtime board member Joanne Schaeffer was the lone vote against issuing the notice of charges. School district officials have not released any details about what led to Parisi being put on leave or what the charges against her are.
Asked if the district would be pursuing criminal charges, Baker said she didn’t think so.
“I do not see us seeking criminal charges,” Baker said. “My feeling is the board is looking for a way to terminate the contract.”
Baker said she’ll be working with the school district’s attorney to write up the formal notice that will be presented to Parisi. It’s unclear just how long the termination process will take.
“It’s hard to predict how long this will go, because we don’t know what Jacqui’s reaction will be to this,” Baker said. “She could decide to resign and it would be over. A lot depends on her reaction.”
Parisi did not return a phone call from the Landmark seeking comment. Baker said that the school district’s attorney has spoken with Parisi.
In the meantime, the school board has hired someone part time to serve as a business consultant. With an Oct. 1 deadline looming for the district to post its 206-17 operating budget with the Illinois State Board of Education, the board on Sept. 22 hired Steve Langert, a retired school business manager.
Langert spent more than a decade as assistant superintendent for business services in Consolidated High School District 230 in the southwest suburbs. Baker got to know Langert while she served as a member of the District 230 Board of Education from 2009 to 2013.
After retiring in 2015, Langert was hired to help sort out the finances and hire a new business manager in Lincoln-Way School District 210.
Langert will spend a couple of days a week at the District 103 office “for as long as we need him,” Baker said. He will be paid $100 per hour for up to 599 hours of work, according to the contract approved by the District 103 school board.
“While this investigation with Jacqui is moving ahead, we want to make sure we don’t fall into non-compliance with the state,” Baker said of the decision to hire Langert. “I need someone who can take care of these things.”