By Bob Skolnik
Patrick Patt, the co-interim superintendent of Lyons School District 103, lashed out at the Village of Lyons last week for its failure to approve a routine information sharing intergovernmental agreement between the school district and the village.
Such agreements typically allow schools and police departments to share information on student safety, discipline, and criminal matters.
The other four communities that are part of District 103 -- Brookfield, Forest View, McCook, and Stickney -- have all signed identical agreements with Lyons School District 103 for the 2018-19 school year. Three of the district's six schools are in Lyons.
But thus far the Village of Lyons has refused to even consider the agreement at a village board meeting.
"I would like anybody, whether it is the village manager or the village mayor, to explain to me why something as simple as an intergovernmental agreement between a village and a school district, that four other villages had no problem with, is still not signed and not on the agenda," Patt said at the Sept. 10 meeting of the Lyons School District 103 Board of Education. "This intergovernmental agreement should have been a slam dunk."
The refusal of the Village of Lyons to approve the intergovernmental agreement with the school district could be rooted in politics.
In 2015 four candidates backed by Lyons Village President Christopher Getty were elected to the school board forming a majority. The new school board immediately dumped Patt and Griff Powell who had just been hired to serve as co-interim superintendents. But in 2017 three Getty backed candidates for the school board, including two incumbents, were defeated and control of the school board shifted to board members not aligned with Getty.
A few months ago, then superintendent Carol Baker, who had been hired by the Getty controlled school board, told the school board that her administrative assistant Char Latronica was told that the Village of Lyons would not approve any agreement with the current District 103 school board.
This week Latronica confirmed to the Landmark that she was told that but declined to identify the village official who told her that.
Patt was again hired by District 103 this summer to serve as co-interim superintendent, this time with former Komarek superintendent Robert Madonia, when Baker resigned to take an assistant superintendent position in Hinsdale High School District 86.
Patt said he personally delivered two copies of the proposed intergovernmental agreement to the Lyons Village Hall on Monday. Other copies of the proposed agreement had been sent to the village previously.
Lyons Village Manager Thomas Sheehan told the Landmark on Monday that the Village of Lyons would not sign the agreement because he believes it is illegal and would require the village to share confidential juvenile arrest information with school officials.
"We're well versed in what we can share legally," Sheehan said. "We'll continue to share whatever we can share legally, continue to work with the school district. We have no problem with that. The problem was the description or verbiage in the agreement."
Sheehan says that the Lyons Police Department continues to work closely with the school district.
"We're at the schools, we cooperate with the schools, we initiated safety checks at the schools, our officers visit the schools frequently," Sheehan said.
Patt acknowledged that relations are good with the Lyons Police Department on a rank and file basis.
Patt also lashed out at Getty backed school board member Jorge Torres last week after Torres cast the only no vote on a resolution in support of previously adopted curricular goals. The resolution stated that the district's philosophy would be guided by the motto "Every Student, Every Day, Whatever it Takes."
The resolution passed on a 5 to 1 vote with Torres voting no.
"A no vote on that to me is almost a joke Jorge," Patt said to Torres after the vote.
Since the Getty aligned bloc lost its majority on the school board Torres has typically voted against approving the consent agenda and has voted in the minority against other matters. He has been the most vocal of the Getty backed board members still on the board.
Patt also expressed concern about two other matters related to the Village of Lyons. In late August, soon after the village changed a water meter at Robinson School in Lyons, the district received a letter from the village warning about alleged problems with the water at Robinson School. The letter warned of grave health concerns but after further investigation by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency the concerns were determined to be nothing to worry about.
Patt also mentioned the continuing road work on Leland Avenue on the western edge of George Washington Middle School which has caused problems for parents and staff.
Pratt said that he is concerned that the village is trying to make the school district look bad.
"It's gotcha this and gotcha you that," Patt. Said. "There's a lot of time and energy being wasted in gotchas."
The feisty Patt also had a warning for Getty.
"Getty better not mess with me because I'm ready for a full-scale war if that's what he wants," Patt said.