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updated: 5/14/2011 11:39 AM

Attorney general: Grayslake High personnel votes on coaches were too vague

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  • Catherine Finger

      Catherine Finger

  • Ann Dingman

      Ann Dingman

 
 

Illinois' top law-enforcement office has ruled Grayslake High School District 127 board members should have provided the names of wrestling coaches to the public when they voted on their resignations and discipline March 10.

Assistant Attorney General Amanda Lundeen issued the finding Friday in response to an Open Meetings Act request for review submitted by the Daily Herald following that meeting.

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Lundeen wrote the District 127 board has modified its practices and now states explicitly the action items being addressed in meeting motions.

While it was determined the board didn't fully satisfy its obligations under the law for the two personnel votes March 10, Lundeen wrote, the officials appear to have taken steps to address any insufficiencies.

District 127 Superintendent Catherine Finger said in a statement she was pleased to see in the finding the attorney general's office is satisfied with the changes made by the board.

"I am confident that attention will now return fully to what is wonderful about our district: our amazing students and the impact they make every day in our schools, in our community and in our world," Finger said.

Officials refused to tell about 25 spectators at the March 10 session that they accepted the resignations of Grayslake North High School wrestling coaches and teachers Tom Frye, Erik Jensen and John Glorioso.

Many in the crowd spoke during public comment time and voiced concern some wrestling coaches would be part of board action that night.

Finger told the meeting visitors they wouldn't receive any immediate details about the personnel action they witnessed. She also informed the spectators they didn't have to stay for what turned out to be a second personnel vote on discipline because they wouldn't be told anything.

However, the finding by Lundeen contradicts what Finger told the crowd.

Lundeen wrote the board did not provide adequate descriptions to the public about the personnel matters that were decided. The final actions were styled simply as motions "to approve the personnel recommendations as presented."

"When the final action involves either the board's acceptance of a resignation or resolution of a disciplinary matter affecting a specific employee or employees, a description of the action to be taken and the identification of the employee or employees appears to be required," Lundeen wrote.

It may not be necessary in every case for the board to name the specific employees who may be affected by a final action, she ruled. She also wrote the board should offer more than "a generic motion to approve recommendations on a general topic."

In a response filed with the attorney general, Cynthia Baasten, an attorney who handled the case for District 127, had written that the school board acted properly and provided enough information to the public about the personnel votes. She contended the crowd's comments about the wrestling coaches helped to make the public aware of the board's actions.

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