Should the Superintendent Recommend?

Which local school board publicly says they don’t want its superintendent to make an important recommendation?

You would be right if you guessed the Huntley District 158 school board.

At last Thursday’s Building Committee meeting board member Larry Snow proposed Superintendent John Burkey make a specific recommendation for what schools should be expanded or built and when, as part of a Facilities Plan.

Sounds logical enough.

District 158’s board majority members frequently assert, “They (the administrators) are the professionals.”

Who wouldn’t the board want to receive a written recommendation about such an issue from their administrators?

Executive pay for executive work, right?

Veteran board member Kim Skaja leaped to oppose Snow’s proposal.

She adamantly insisted she wanted no such recommendation to be made by the superintendent.

CPA board members Kevin Gentry and Tony Quagliano also opposed the idea of Superintendent Burkey presenting a specific recommended solution.

Not that long ago, Skaja got really ticked off at Snow for his presenting a solution for improving the math curriculum.

Here’s the entire email that Skaja wrote to Snow and the board, essentially telling him that it’s not his job as a board member to present solutions. It’s the Superintendent’s job.

“We hired Dr. Burkey to present solutions. He is the professional with a proven record. It is up to the board to set policy and expectations.

“We were not hired to be the high school principal or the superintendent. We were elected to be board members.

“Nothing prevents any of us from applying for a different position in the district.


As, of course, her former colleague Glen Stewart did.

Apply, that is.

And, he got the job.

He was hired at $101,000 to be Chief Operations Officer.

Residents shouldn’t fret.

District 158 administrators will put their “professional” hats on for Thursday night’s board meeting.

That’s when they want the board majority to make permanent the compensation and benefit increases in a new administrator benefit policy that board majority buddy Stewart and others are apparently getting this year.

I’ve filed a Freedom of Information request for Stewart’s contracts. Want to bet I don’t get them before this week’s meeting?

Getting more than a 7% compensation increase this year would be a sweet deal, especially during a recession, wouldn’t it be?

Do you think after the pay raise is approved the administration will get around to proposing one specific recommended change to the Facilities Plan?

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On the top left is Huntley School Board member Larry Snow. School Superintendent John Burkey is on the top right.

The man offering his hand to then-School Board President Mike Skala is then-school board member Glen Stewart after his colleagues hired Stewart for a $101,000 job as Chief Operating Officer for the school district.

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