Two school board members have told the Landmark that Lyons School District 103 Maintenance Director Ryan Grace has requested a hearing before the school board. Grace was suspended with pay in late August, and the district apparently is trying to fire him.
There was an item on the agenda of the school board’s Sept. 11 meeting, regarding the superintendent’s recommendation to accept a separation agreement between the district and an unnamed administrator, who is believed to be Grace.
But, no action was taken on the item, and the matter was not even discussed in public except to say that it wouldn’t be considered at the meeting.
Neither Superintendent Carol Baker nor school board President Marge Hubacek wanted to say much about the matter, though Hubacek confirmed that a hearing would be held.
Grace, like other administrators in District 102, has a provision in his contract that gives him the right to a hearing before the school board before he can be terminated for cause.
Grace reportedly was placed on paid administrative leave after refusing to answer questions from the district’s attorney, apparently about a late-night remodeling project earlier this year at the district’s administration building.
The work led to an investigation that resulted in the district agreeing to pay at least $5,000 in fines levied by the Illinois Department of Public Health for violations regarding training and record keeping related to asbestos.
In June, the board voted 4 to 2 to give Grace, who was hired in 2016, a new one-year contract, paying him $82,400.
Grace, who is a political ally of Lyons Village President Christopher Getty, has been a controversial figure in the district since he was hired. He actively campaigned for two incumbents and another candidate backed by Getty. Those candidates were defeated in the April school board election, and a new board majority – one opposed to Getty’s influence in the school district — swept to power.
Hubacek and Sharon Anderson voted reluctantly to rehire Grace this summer saying that the deadline not to renew him had pasted.
Grace was involved in a verbal altercation with a parent and student in the district at an April board meeting, an incident that he ultimately apologized for in a written statement read at a school board meeting by Baker. Some board members also have questioned certain contracts approved by Grace for maintenance work at the district.
Grace has not actually appeared at a school board meeting since May. His hearing before the school board, which will be held in closed session, is expected to be held on Oct. 17.
“I don’t know if action will be taken at the day of the hearing or at a board meeting,” Hubacek said.