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D159 Board Reduces Transportation Director Job, Clarifies Budget

The D159 Board of Education approved changing transportation post from full- to part-time at its Sept. 5 meeting. clarified its replacement fund for the district's maintenance truck at its Sept. 5 meeting.

The Board of Education adjusted the status of the district's director of transportation position and clarified a change to the proposed 2013 budget at its Sept. 5 meeting at .

The board voted 4-2 to approve a motion to change the employment status of Ron Kaczorowski, the district's current director of transportation, from full- to part-time. Board members Katherine Moore and Scott Peters voted against the motion, while Jeff Regan abstained from the vote. Kaczorowski will be honorably dismissed from full-time employment after Oct. 5, and he will be reassigned to his part-time role on Oct. 8.

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When asked to explain the decision during public comment by bus driver Ed Rooney, who has a child in D159, Board President Patrick Markham explained that the change was a solution to a discrepancy between the salary and the duties and responsibilities of D159's transportation director. According to Markham, Kaczorowski is currently paid a similar amount to manage 10 bus routes as D210's transportation director, who oversees more than 100 routes.

"When we've got to be as prudent as possible with our tax dollars," Markham said. "I think we ought to pay according to what the job demands, and a new business manager can also take over some of the oversight."

Peters spoke out against the decision to reduce the position to part-time status, claiming that the district's lack of any substitute bus drivers besides Kaczorowski could cause problems.

"With the 10 drivers, the only sub we have being Ron, and with having a new business manager coming on, I honestly think this is poor timing in going to this part-time route," Peters said." I think we're doing ourselves a disservice, and I think once we do get in trouble with not having enough bus drivers, it's really going to come back and bite us."

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Another order of business at the meeting was adjusting the budgetary status of the money set aside to replace the district's maintenance truck, which Supt. Steve Stein said was on its last leg. That money will now be part of the Operations and Maintenance Grounds Replacement line-item, rather than the contingency fund.

The board also decided to transfer money from other parts of the budget to create the truck fund, rather than just creating a new $30,000 expenditure that would have increased the district's deficit by an additional $30,000. Instead, the district cut $10,000 from a medical and life insurance fund and saved $22,000 by decreasing the salary of the business manager position from $90,000 to $68,000 . These savings will be combined to create a truck fund of $32,000 in the operations and management budget.

 

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R.W.Voter September 07, 2012 at 12:57 PM
The meeting was very productive, but I was disappointed that I didn't see any of the parents for the anti-bullying group. Mr. Markham is behind them, but I think that the school personnel think that all can be settled with "Rachals challenge" . It has always been that the teacher and school personnel are the peole responsible for our children's safety when they are in school. That includes the classroom, lunch and recess and on the bus going and coming. Bullying is and has been a serious problem for years, and the problem is the bully is always the same person, from kindergarten to college. We have to recognize that it is almost impossible to correct that trait, it is born in them. Thank you
It's me... September 07, 2012 at 02:10 PM
I would have liked to have been there, but I volunteer on Wednesday nights for another organization. I want to show my support for the anti-bullying group. Seeing my son was a victim himself. I agree with what your saying. Rachals challenge is probably a great thing, but there needs to be consequences for those that bully. And right now, I feel there aren't and they pussyfoot around the issue. I hope this school year with the group in place, we see changes for the better.
C. Martinez September 07, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Hey "It's me..." - I'm not sure if you've check out this FB page or not but if you haven't, please check it out. Mrs. Herrmann is proactively bringing positive change to District 159. https://www.facebook.com/WeWantABullyProgramAtMokenaSchoolDistrict159
C. Martinez September 07, 2012 at 05:31 PM
This article is very disturbing to me. I can only conclude that there have been undermining mishandling of funds. How long has this been going on? I am glad that these things are coming to light but am very disappointed and frustrated if, in fact, there was mishandling of funds. I want to thank the school board for taking a stand, questioning and evaluating the Transportation Director position. I urge the school board to continue to take a stand and do the right thing. Parents, Community Members of Mokena, Teachers and anyone else, next school board meeting is Wednesday September 19th 7:00PM MES Band Room. Please come! Call/email the school board, talk to other parents and community members. We need to participate and do the right thing. We need to continue to push for accountability and responsibility.
cannon fodder September 07, 2012 at 06:49 PM
You guys wondering the reason for the high turnover in Business Managers in D159 might find this information helpful: Besides this being the 4th business manager, since 2009 these schools have also gone through 8 principals, 7 assistant principals, two curriculum directors, and 3 student services directors. I will not even attempt to count the number of teachers who have left. To say that this kind of turnover is unheard of in the education field would be an incredible understatement. This is not a business manager specific issue that can be blamed on something being wrong with the finances. This is an issue with the entire district. I know that these problems were commonly blamed on the last superintendent. But she has been out of that job for over a year now, the problem is not abating. In fact it is accelerating. Wake up, Mokena.
R.W.Voter September 07, 2012 at 06:57 PM
I must add one thing, if I was on the board, I would have voted to remove the Transportation Director from the position, in other words, terminate him. But you have two members of the board who voted to keep him in his position. One of the voting members has a spouse working for the district. I personally feel that he seeking the support of the district employees rather than the taxpayers. Please tell us it isn't so, Mr. Peters
cannon fodder September 07, 2012 at 07:34 PM
RW, as for the transportation director, what I think they need to do is take another look at outsourcing the busing to LW 210 like frankfort and new lenox schools do as soon as the leases are up on the 159 buses. There was something odd last year with the way the board determined it would be cheaper to keep their own buses, it didn't quite add up. And not to throw a wrench in your gaslighting or anything, but Spalla is the board member that has a wife working for the district. Peters's wife quit ages ago. Of course Mrs. Spalla works as a lunchlady, but I'm sure in your eyes that has to be at least as big a conflict as Mrs. Peters's former job as a recess monitor. Sheesh.
Heidi Herrmann September 07, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Hey Guys! I'm sorry that I was unable to make the Wednesday night Board Meeting... This week it was more important for me to attend the Community presentation of Rachel's Challenge yesterday. Let me be clear that -I am in NO WAY giving up the fight to have a program working in tandem with Rachel's Challenge! I am in the process of organizing a date and time -to bring in additional resources to present their strategies to Parents > Administration > Teachers > and The School Board... I have had quotes in my inbox -ready to present at the right time... Therapist -Karin Stortz and COREMatters Project -Christy L. Pace... I also have a few more that I am going to follow up with -and hope that we can utilize these people's EXPERTISE in forming these young people's minds... Let's do the IMPOSSIBLE... "How many of us have enough trust, strength, and faith to believe that we could do the impossible?" Rachel Joy Scott
Heidi Herrmann September 07, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Run for the Board!!! There will be 4 open positions in April!!!!!!
R.W.Voter September 08, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Cannon, if it will save money, I go for it. We have to reduce the operating budget or face higher taxes. I appreciate the information relative to the working spouses of the Board, I will look to verify it, but I do not think that the spouse or children or siblings of the Board members should be employed by the District. It isn't proper and is a clear conflict of interest. Even the City Council of the City of Chicago would agree, and that is as crooked as I can imagine. Favoritism is always possible and it interferes with the rights of others. In other words, they don't get the job out of the Sun Times job mart. Thats just the way I feel. But I like you idea on the busses, it is well worth considering. Thank you.
Ed Rooney September 08, 2012 at 10:19 AM
I did some research, Mr. Markham misspoke, when stating to me that the Lincolway's Director of Transportation & Mokena's Transport Director are paid the same in salary & benfits. The Director of Licolway is paid $121,916.88. Mokena's Director of Transportation is paid $55,225.00 with no benefits. Ed Rooney
patrick markham September 08, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Mr. Rooney, If i "misspoke" it again points to need for better financial data needed from Administration. (looking forward to that with new business manager). Here is SALARY: sorry, it is actually higher Transportation Director Total Salary Salary IMRF FICA Medicare Med/Life Total 2007 $43,628.00 $608.89 $2,729.55 $638.31 $608.89 $48,213.64 2008 $45,809.01 $4,674.80 $2,864.79 $670.04 $630.48 $54,649.12 2009 $49,015.63 $5,090.21 $3,063.43 $716.58 $498.00 $58,383.85 2010 $52,447.00 $5,756.14 $3,276.37 $766.24 $553.68 $62,799.43 2011 $53,162.20 $6,366.93 $3,318.67 $776.13 $582.72 $64,206.65 2012 $54,596.84 $6,889.96 $3,428.29 $801.84 $608.88 $66,325.81 Raise 37.57% $18,112.17
patrick markham September 08, 2012 at 02:34 PM
With Regards to 210 Salary. This decision, was discussed for about 9 months. The salary comparison was brought up and we were informed. Dist 843 may be closer to our figures, past director and 843 runs more routes than 210 , Bottom line, if you compare the work , the job, 159 Does 10% of other district in regards to Route Management. Also, 20% of our "busses" broke down in first week of school, after having all summer to get them in tip top shape. I don’t want to bash the Trans Dir. let’s not armchair quarter back a decision of 2/3 majority of the board. My explanation to you was my best attempt to say what I could publicly about this decision without denigrating the Director. If i got , districts 843, 210 mixed up or whatever was discussed over the nine month decision when speaking without notes, as a courtesy to you, don’t bang me up if i got districts 843, 210 mixed up or whatever was discussed over the nine month decision. It was not simply a monetary decision. I don’t want to go into all the considerations, reasons discussed for this decision and more than the majority of the board vote accordingly. Further, it was discussed to have the new business manager take on some of our trans dir duties. If I agreed with you we'd both be wrong
Cathy H. September 08, 2012 at 06:19 PM
I’m sorry but I don’t understand. Please clarify why tax deductions paid by employee out of their salary (IMRF, FICA, Medicare, Med/Life) are added to total. What am I missing? Also, is the 2007 IMRF amount correct? I am seeing that raise is 20%, not 37%. 43628/54596 right? 20% in 6 years still pretty good. online budget states 2013 salary at 54225.
omd September 10, 2012 at 02:41 AM
I Just don't understand what you think the bus drivers are going to do if something happens to one of them. God for bid one of them gets too sick to drive, who's going to be the one getting the children to and from school? Or say a bus breaks down mid-route? Who's going to be there to bring them another bus. I just don't think this issue was thought through too well. There's a lot more Mr. Ron does for the drivers than you know. And for the buses breaking down the first week of school, well all the drivers and the mechanic were there cleaning and checking their buses. All of them were fine. Stuff happens. come on.
REAGANRAISEDTAXES September 10, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Cathy, you're question is extremely valid, and you received a BS answer from Mr. Markham. Maybe the board is trying to save money so Mr. Markham can hire some more of his unemployed cronies.

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