Soft landing for fired IL school superintendents

Rick Moran
A Chicago Tribune investigation has revealed that even incompetent school superintendents are let down easy when they are fired courtesy of tax payers.

The Golden Parachute:

Stanley Fields resigned after just a year as superintendent of a suburban Cook County school district where he was put on leave, faced with firing and ultimately required to apologize to the community. Still, he walked away with a $100,000 severance payment.

He also had prematurely left his prior job, at a Lake County high school district, cashing out $30,426 in unused vacation. The school board waived a $60,000 breach-of-contract payment from Fields, now superintendent in another Chicago-area school district.

Fields' experience illustrates a statewide phenomenon that is costing the public millions in buyout deals worked out in secret by school boards, a Tribune investigation found.

The newspaper's review of more than 100 superintendent contracts, financial records and severance agreements over a decade revealed that boards have handed out six-figure separation checks; district-paid health care; cash or retirement credit for hundreds of sick days; and, in one case, a Mercedes - all to be rid of superintendents.

The severance packages are fueled by high superintendent and board turnover, fear of lawsuits, and board policies and state laws that boost buyouts - such as sick days that can accrue to limits uncommon in the private sector, experts said. In many cases, the money funding a buyout could pay one or more annual teacher salaries.

I don't know what's more amazing; the spinelessness of officials who are terrified of being sued or the idiocy of other officials who keep hiring these incompetent boobs.

No wonder Illinois schools are so bad.



A Chicago Tribune investigation has revealed that even incompetent school superintendents are let down easy when they are fired courtesy of tax payers.

The Golden Parachute:

Stanley Fields resigned after just a year as superintendent of a suburban Cook County school district where he was put on leave, faced with firing and ultimately required to apologize to the community. Still, he walked away with a $100,000 severance payment.

He also had prematurely left his prior job, at a Lake County high school district, cashing out $30,426 in unused vacation. The school board waived a $60,000 breach-of-contract payment from Fields, now superintendent in another Chicago-area school district.

Fields' experience illustrates a statewide phenomenon that is costing the public millions in buyout deals worked out in secret by school boards, a Tribune investigation found.

The newspaper's review of more than 100 superintendent contracts, financial records and severance agreements over a decade revealed that boards have handed out six-figure separation checks; district-paid health care; cash or retirement credit for hundreds of sick days; and, in one case, a Mercedes - all to be rid of superintendents.

The severance packages are fueled by high superintendent and board turnover, fear of lawsuits, and board policies and state laws that boost buyouts - such as sick days that can accrue to limits uncommon in the private sector, experts said. In many cases, the money funding a buyout could pay one or more annual teacher salaries.

I don't know what's more amazing; the spinelessness of officials who are terrified of being sued or the idiocy of other officials who keep hiring these incompetent boobs.

No wonder Illinois schools are so bad.