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updated: 12/12/2011 4:52 PM

Prairie Crossing on-leave principal focus of another meeting

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  • Brian Greene

      Brian Greene

 
 

Prairie Crossing Charter School board members will meet Tuesday to review the employment status of Principal Brian Greene, who's been on paid administrative leave for two weeks for reasons not made public.

Board members will hold the special session at 7 p.m. in the small, public choice school's Comstock building at 1591 Jones Point Road in Grayslake. Options for the officials include extending Greene's leave or voting for his dismissal.

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Greene maintains he did nothing illegal or unethical before he was placed on leave Nov. 29. He declined to identify the issue after making a statement about his status at a Prairie Crossing board meeting Dec. 6, when officials agreed to extend his paid leave for another week.

"Parents, I think, stand behind me because of my actions," Greene, 41, said in a recent interview. "And I told them when I started here, my actions will speak louder than my words. Not every parent agrees with every decision, but no principal has the 100 percent support of every parent, every single time."

In a letter to parents issued Nov. 29, Executive Director Nigel Whittington and the board said the reason for placing Greene on paid leave cannot be made public "due to the sensitive nature of personnel issues, labor laws and to protect Brian's privacy."

Prairie Crossing board President Steve Achtemeier told concerned parents last week that officials have been following legal advice in being vague about why Greene was placed on paid leave at the 392-student capacity school for children in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Last March, Greene received a new contract for the 2011-12 academic year paying him a base salary of $82,500. In addition, the document obtained by the Daily Herald through a Freedom of Information Act request shows he's eligible for up to $10,000 in bonuses, and the school contributes 9.4 percent of his salary to a pension fund.

Officials may terminate Greene's contract for cause, permanent disability, death, by mutual agreement or failure of the Illinois State Board of Education to renew Prairie Crossing's charter.

"Discharge for cause during the term of this contract shall be for any conduct, act or failure to act by the principal that is detrimental to the best interests of the school," the document states. "Reasons for discharge for cause shall be given in writing to the principal, who shall be entitled to a meeting with the school director to discuss such cause."

Greene said he arrived at the school Nov. 29 when Whittington gave him a letter placing him on the paid leave.

"I will never do anything that will jeopardize this school solely because of personal reasons," he said.

Greene came to Prairie Crossing from Bronzeville Lighthouse Charter School in Chicago for the 2008-09 academic year.

Bronzeville Lighthouse hired Greene after he quit as principal of Hawthorn Elementary North in Vernon Hills just before the 2007-08 school season began. Greene worked as Hawthorn North's principal in 2005-06 and 2006-07.

"I have decided to resign from my position as principal for personal reasons," Greene said in his letter to the Hawthorn Elementary District 73 board dated Aug. 8, 2007, which the Daily Herald obtained through another open-records request.

Spanish teacher Ray Martinez has been covering principal duties and providing administrative support for Whittington since Greene was placed on leave at Prairie Crossing.

Prairie Crossing is an environmentally focused school. Parents of children at Woodland Elementary District 50 and Fremont Elementary District 79 may send their children to Prairie Crossing, which determines enrollment by lottery.

Illinois' per-pupil financial aid follows Woodland and Fremont children who attend Prairie Crossing.

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