6 | November 27, 2019 | the mokena messenger School mokenamessengerdaily.com D159 superintendent to retire June 30 T.J. Kremer III, Editor Mokena School District 159 Superintendent Don White announced in a letter to the district’s Board of Education members his intention to retire effective June 30, 2020. The letter appears in the Bob Spychalski BROKER Expires From Nov. 19 • Customized Marketing Campaign • Free professional & drone photography • Strong online & social media exposure • My listing’s SOLD faster than market average • Local Resident 630.728.8490 spysold.com PRIDE REALTY BOB SPYCHALSKI 5 Star Rating Expires board packet for the district’s Wednesday, Nov. 20, regular meeting. “It is with very mixed emotions that I am writing to notify you that I plan to retire at the end of this school year,” White wrote. “This will be effective at the end of the work day on June 30, 2020. It has been my true honor to serve as a public school district [s]uperintendent for  years and as an educator for  years; with the last two years being a joyous capstone. In fact, these two years have reinforced my belief that a group of dedicated people working as a team can accomplish great things in service to children and the community.” White was elected by the board on Dec. 20, 2017, to replace the then outgoing Superintendent Omar Castillo. White had one year remaining on that contract. White explained that retiring with the one year remaining just made more sense, rather than waiting an additional year, because he is eligible now based on age and years of experience. White said he looks forward to spending time with his grandchildren and remain in education in some capacity, perhaps as a consult or similar role. White has spent the past 33 years in education, 17 of which were spent as superintendent at District 181, and the last two as superintendent of D159. A special board meeting was scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 25, at Mokena Elementary School, where board members began the process of finding a replacement for White. Mokena D159 Board of Education ‘I hate it’: Community and board speak out against arming teachers T.J. Kremer III, Editor With school shootings becoming increasingly more common across the country, a debate among educators has been near the forefront of many questions now facing our schools: Should teachers be armed with firearms to help protect students and everyone else within a school should an active shooter incident occur? Mokena School District 159 Board of Education members gave a resounding “no” to that question when it was presented at the Wednesday, Nov. 20, board meeting. Board members voted 0-7 to instruct its delegate, Board President Michael Everett, to support Resolution No. 1 at the Nov. 23 Illinois Association of School Boards’ 2019 Delegate Assembly meeting in Chicago. This means that Everett voted “no” on behalf of D159 The resolution would have allowed each school district to decide if it wanted to permit armed district employees, including teachers and other staff. Ultimately, delegates at the IASB convention voted down Resolution No. 1 by a vote of 249-198. The proposed resolution read, in part, that “the Illinois Association of School Boards shall support and advocate for legislation” that would “allow voluntary district employees ... the ability to carry a concealed firearm on district property.” It went on to outline that any armed district employee would be required to have “a valid Illinois FOID card, holds a certified Illinois Concealed Carry License, has completed all additional trainings and certifications set forth by the respective school board, one of which must include yearly certified Active Shooter Training.” “I give [Mercer County D404 representatives present to give a presentation on the proposed resolution] a lot of class for coming up here, but I hate it,” said board member Jim Andresen. “I think it’s an end run to ask us, as volunteers, if we want to stand behind you and have our group say, ‘Hey, Mr. Legislator, we think this is a great idea. We want our to lobby for it.’ If this was such a good idea, then the legislators would be picking it up and running with it. We can’t get it off the ground here.” 6 Round it up A brief recap of other items discussed at the Nov. 20 Mokena D159 Board of Education meeting. • The board voted 7-0 to approve a tentative tax levy for 2019 of 2.7967 percent. The board will take a final vote at its Dec. 18 meeting. • The board also voted 7-0 to approve the contract for the executive search team School Exec Connect LLC in the amount of $8,000 to assist in finding a replacement for outgoing Superintendent Don White. • In another 7-0 vote, the board awarded a bid for Mokena Junior High School chiller repairs to McCauley Mechanical in the amount of $20,500 for the project and $4,180 for the additional warranty on the compressor. Representatives from the Mokena Teachers Association, Moms Demand Action and members of the public also voiced their stance against the proposed resolution. Mokena Chief of Police, Steve Vaccaro, was asked by the board provide his opinion on the matter. “I am not in favor of a blanket authorization to allow any staff to have any firearms in school,” Vaccaro said. “Imagine a police officer, running into a building, hearing gunshots, going to terminate the threat and somebody is standing there with a gun and goes to point to where the shooter is and the police officer takes that individual out, kills that individual, a staff member,” Vaccaro said. “... That’s a real concern of mine: How will my officers be able to differentiate a bad guy from a good guy? That’s problematic for me.”
mokenamessengerdaily.com school the mokena messenger | November 27, 2019 | 7 the Mokena messenger’s Standout Student Sponsored by Marquette Bank Faith Utterback, Mokena Intermediate School fourthgrader What do you like to do when not in school or studying? I like to play outside with my friends. When is your dream job? I don’t have a dream job, but I might do something with animals. What are some of your most played songs on your iPod? I don’t have a favorite song, but I like [the band] Imagine Dragons. What is one thing people don’t know about you? I’m a pitcher in softball. Whom do you look up to and why? My parents because they always help me and other people. What’s your favorite class and why? ELA because we go to the library and I love reading. What’s one thing that stands out about your school? We get rocket rewards. What extracurricular(s) do you wish your school had? Softball. If you could change one thing about school what would it be? No homework. What’s your best memory from school? The [Mokena Elementary School] carnival in third grade. Standout Student is a weekly feature for The Mokena Messenger. Nominations come from Mokena-area schools. McGrath From Page 3 $30,000 in Booster funds were missing from August 2017 through April 2019. The investigation reportedly determined McGrath presented the Boosters with a Booster account spreadsheet that she created and submitted to the district, and that several submitted reports contained forged signatures of members of the athletic club board. McGrath was arrested at her home, according to police. She is being held at the Will County Adult Detention Facility on a $200,000 bond. As previously reported by The Messenger, former LWC Athletic Director Matt Lyke resigned Aug. 22 after holding the position for three years at LWC after eight at nowshuttered LW North. Lyke is now listed as the interim director of activities at Homewood-Flossmoor High School on HF’s website. D210 Superintendent Scott Tingley issued the following statement: “While following established procedures for the development of the annual budget, Lincoln-Way 210 administration identified discrepancies in certain revenue accounts in the Lincoln-Way Central Athletic Department. “As a result of the investigation, District administration has implemented several new internal controls that focus on cash handling procedures in order to help deter and detect fraud and theft going forward. “1. Increased Segregation of Duties in Cash Handling – deposits will be handled by two employees until counted and deposit receipts have been filled out. All deposit slips are pre-numbered so the District can track and control access to the forms. All cash deposits are placed in a tamper proof bag once dual counted and verified. Finally, a separate copy of the deposit slip is sent to the District business office for reconciliation purposes. “2. Event sales now use pre-numbered tickets and a ticket/cash reconciliation must be performed and turned into the District business office the same day as the event. “3. Outside groups, coaches, and activity sponsors are required to verify deposits and expenditures directly in the District accounting system to ensure accuracy. “The District has turned the financial loss into our insurance and the money will be replenished into the Boosters account.” Women Owned Business SERVING CHICAGOLAND SINCE 1926 • Air Conditioning • Heating • Plumbing #IL12960 800-421-3220 dykstrahomeservices.com “Piecing together your home comfort!” WAREHOUSE SALE! Available through 12/15/19 on Carrier Infinity Furnace and A/C full systems only: 6 YEARS 0.0% APR or 10 YEARS STRAIGHT FINANCING (9.99% APR) AVAILABLE 15 YEARS PARTS AND LABOR EXTENDED WARRANTY (10 YR Standard) FREE Wi-Fi THERMOSTAT $1250 in Carrier Rebates (up to $175 in additional rebates on accessories) $650 in ComEd Rebates $225 in Nicor Gas Rebates For qualified buyers. *See store for details.