Two weeks after eliminating three district office positions and furloughing six custodians in what Superintendent Kristopher Rivera said was a cost-cutting move made necessary by anticipated revenue reductions, Lyons-Brookfield School District 103 has posted a job opening for an assistant superintendent.
On May 5, the district posted on its website a notice of an opening for an assistant superintendent with a broad range of responsibilities.
Until 2016, District 103 did not employ an assistant superintendent. But, that year the school board created the position as a landing spot for Kyle Hastings, who had served as interim superintendent for a year after a new school board majority elected with the support of Lyons Village President Christopher Getty took control.
When Carol Baker was hired to be the full-time superintendent in 2016, Hastings was given a four-year contract to be a part-time assistant superintendent.
According to school board member Marge Hubacek, who has been involved with the district in one form or another for 40 years, at one time there was someone who was called an assistant superintendent, who served as the district’s business manager.
As for the job created in 2016, Hubacek said, “They made that job up to give Kyle [Hastings] as a political favor.”
Hastings was paid a rate that started at $900 a day and rose to $1,100 a day. However, his days were drastically cut back in 2017 when Hubacek was board president.
On March 18 the school board voted unanimously to not renew Hastings’ contract, which expires on June 30. The district paid him $5,503.55 for the current fiscal year, although he apparently did no work after suing the district last year over the reduction his days worked. The suit was dismissed last year in a pre-trial ruling Cook County Judge Diane Shelly.
The responsibilities for the assistant superintendent position listed in the new job posting are wide-ranging and include directing the district’s assessment system, evaluating principals, coordinating professional development and overseeing the coordination of textbook adoption among others. The district already has a director of curriculum, Darek Naglak and recently hired a full-time business manager.
District 103 Director of Human Resources Brian Towne said the hiring of a full-time assistant superintendent is part of an overall restructuring that will lead to a reduction in spending.
“We are in the midst of a strategic restructuring of the business and operations functions in the district as it is absolutely critical during times of unprecedented crisis, such as we are all experiencing and facing with the effects of COVID-19,” Towne said in an email. “There is no doubt that school districts across the state of Illinois are going to see significant cuts to funding as early as this fall. …
“Within a restructuring, one may expect to see positions eliminated as well as the addition of new positions or job titles that reflect new or consolidated duties and responsibilities. The bottom line, however, will be an overall significant reduction in spending.”
Rivera referred questions about the assistant superintendent position to Towne.
Hubacek, who is part of the board minority, said creating a full-time assistant superintendent position was never discussed by the full school board.
“Kris has never gone to the whole board to say that they were going to do this,” Hubacek said.
On April 22 the school board voted 4 to 2 to eliminate the jobs of the district’s staff accountant and two clerical workers in what Rivera said was a cost-saving move.
“They’re picking and choosing what we have money for,” Hubacek said. “They’re not settling a contract with the aides, the custodians’ contract is up June 30, yet they have $100,000 plus for yet another administrator.”