Lame-duck District 59 board could give raise, contract extension to Fessler
Elk Grove Township Elementary District 59 Superintendent Art Fessler could get a raise and contract extension from the outgoing school board just before new members are seated.
The seven-member panel has met behind closed doors three times since March to discuss Fessler's evaluation, and has scheduled a final closed session meeting for Monday.
The following week, on Monday, April 29, the board is expected to meet again, when members could take action on a potential extension and wage increase for Fessler. After the old board adjourns, a second meeting would begin where three newly elected members would be sworn in.
Fessler, hired in 2013, has overseen the implementation of a controversial curriculum that led to a crowded April 2 school board race. He has a base salary of $292,908, and a contract that runs through June 2021.
Whether the lame-duck board or new board votes on a new deal for Fessler, the result might not be different. Only one of Fessler's toughest critics, Patti Petrielli, got elected. And Fessler's biggest critic on the existing panel, Tim Burns, is stepping down April 29 after not seeking reelection.
Also leaving that night are Barbara Somogyi, who didn't win reelection and is the longest-tenured member at 41 years, and one-term board member Sunil Bhave, who didn't run again.
Joining Petrielli will be two parents who ran together as a slate, Courtney Lang and Randy Reid. They also expressed concerns with Fessler's curriculum but have been supportive of other aspects of the district under Fessler.
During last three closed session meetings, board members discussed Fessler's job performance after reviewing his annual midyear reflection and self-evaluation, according to board President Janice Krinsky.
Krinsky said she and board Vice President Karen Osmanski are putting the finishing touches on a four-page write-up the board will give to Fessler that provides feedback on all components of his job, including academics, strategic planning, finance, human resources and facilities.
Other board members are set to review what Krinsky and Osmanski wrote Monday night to make sure it reflects the opinions of all seven, Krinsky said.
She said after two meetings, the board came to basic agreement on Fessler's compensation and a possible contract extension. She said she would publicly announce those details April 29.