Update 11:15 a.m. -
Lincoln Hall principal Dr. Linda Klobucher will be filling in as interim superintendent and Dr. Jean Weiss will be the assistant superintendent. Stay tuned for more information as we will post it as it comes in.
The immediate future of Lincolnwood School District 74 isn’t clear, as the board failed to name an interim superintendent during a chaotic board meeting Thursday evening.
Potential candidates opted out of the top spot by walking out during Thursday’s board meeting.
Roughly 100 people loudly voiced their displeasure over the actions of the board in recent weeks - which included the re-election of the embattled President Amy Frankel and Darlene Fourkas as Vice President. Any possible superintendents who could have served for the remainder of the school year were turned off by what they saw, Fourkas said.
“We had planned to hire an (interim) superintendent. However, after being visitors in the room, they have declined,” Fourkas reported to the board and the rest of the audience just over an hour into the raucous proceedings.
Read more: See previous SD 74 coverage
After her re-election on a 4-3 vote, Frankel said the district is in violation of a state code by not having a superintendent in place right now.
“It is critical we seat a superintendent immediately for several reasons,” Frankel said, as her concerns centered on the fact that children were going to be in the district’s three schools without a superintendent.
A board attorney said District 74 is risking federal and state funding by not having a superintendent in place.
Eventually, the board met in executive session, but before entering, Frankel stated that the board would take no action Thursday night.
Board members are unsure how they are going to proceed.
The differences amid the board were clear when Frankel chose to be re-elected for a one-year term. She had the support of , Fourkas and Dr. Michael Davros. Trustee Scott Anderson opposed both Frankel for President and Fourkas for Vice President, but only received support from newly elected trustee Kevin Daly and veteran trustee Georjean Hlepas Nickell.
Meanwhile, the board asked its legal counsel if they should seek legal action against a website created by members in the community. The website, which criticizes board spending practices, was asked to be reviewed by the legal counsel for libel or slander.
Anderson said it’s “very disturbing” that the board would consider such an action.
It was not specified which board member requested the action. Frankel said the matter would be referred to a committee for investigation.
The troubles and the short fuses of audience members stem from the way the District 74 board oversaw the administration of who resigned after residents began to question his leadership, spending practices. Similar questions were raised about former board president Koder.
The atmosphere was so jaded that at one point a former school official walked out in disgust claiming the lack of collegiality was not the proper message to send to children.
When asked whether District 74 can still hire a quality superintendent, Anderson expressed some optimism in a brief interview after the meeting.
“Not in the least,” he said. “I can’t be specific about that because of personnel issues but I am confident.”
Frankel would not comment after the meeting.
Community resident Joel Perzov, who has been an active opponent of the board, said the actions taken tonight continue to concern him.
“It’s just more indication of a dysfunctional board,” Perzov said. They refuse to do the right thing so the school district can move on.”
But Fourkas - who received a ton of heckling and loud and bruising comments during the meeting - was disappointed in the evening’s events.
“This is a great community and a great school district and it is pretty much torn apart,” she said. “It is just a sad day.”