D-64 Supt. Contract Extension Just Another Non-Transparent Charade?


A recent article in the Park Ridge Herald-Advocate (“District 64 postpones action on superintendent contract extension,” May 19, 2015) reports that a proposal to extend D-64 Supt. Laurie Heinz’s contract and compensation package was “deferred.”

Board president Tony Borrelli is quoted as saying that the D-64 Board “is not done deliberating” over the “factors to consider for administrators in general and the superintendent in specific.”

Hey, D-64 taxpayers! When you read something like that, reach for your wallets because there’s a good chance you’re being sold down the river by the elected representatives who are supposed to be protecting those wallets.

Why do we say that? Let’s review.

In February 2014 Heinz, who had NEVER been a superintendent before, was given a three-year contract to head D-64. You can read about all the secrecy surrounding that sweetheart deal in our 02.07.14 post.

According to the H-A article, Heinz this year received $201K in base salary, plus up to 9.4% of her pension contributions (in addition to D-64’s required pension contributions), medical, dental, life insurance coverage, travel reimbursement, 20 vacation days, and $1,320 toward her personal cell phone charges. And those terms apparently are guaranteed irrespective of how well she personally, or the entire District, performs.

Now the D-64 Board is planning on extending that deal after only one year of service.

What has she accomplished in that first year that has earned her the extension the D-64 Board appears intent on giving her? The H-A article doesn’t say, and we can’t find any record of it – even though Borrelli positively gushed about Heinz’s “evaluations” at Page 4 of the Minutes of the May 4, 2015 meeting:

Board President Borrelli announced that the current Board had conducted an evaluation of Dr. Heinz’s first year as superintendent, including mid-term and year-end evaluations. He noted that she unanimously has hit her evaluations and benchmarks out of the park. Board President Borrelli stated that he could not say enough about how much the current Board appreciates her efforts and the sterling evaluations this Board can provide. He further stated that the current Board’s recommendation to the new Board is that her contract be rolled over and considerations be given for raises in benefits and salaries. He noted that the new Board would now have that conversation and make this decision.

Apparently, even allegedly “out of the park” achievements have to be kept under wraps – at least until Heinz’s new deal is finalized in yet another closed session and then approved perfunctorily in open session before D-64’s taxpayers have the information necessary to figure out whether and how they’re being bamboozled.

That kind of conduct makes a mockery of the Board’s “Operating Principles” at Pages 44-46 of the May 18, 2015 Board Report, assuming those principles were anything more than a public relations Tramm sham when approved in August 2013:

Operating Principle 6: Board and Committee Meetings

We choose to conduct our meetings in an open and orderly fashion and in a manner consistent with our operating principles.

*               *               *

Operating Principle 8: Accountability

The Board recognizes that it is accountable to the community and other stakeholders.

  • We will communicate the State of the District on an annual basis.
  • We will conduct open, transparent and frequent communications with the community.
  • We will encourage public engagement.

And if you believe the D-64 Board actually subscribes to these principles, there’s some swamp land in Florida with your name on it.

To read or make comments, click on title.

8 comments so far

It is as if the board actually goes out of its way to tell the taxpayers that it does not have to play by any rules, even its own, and can do what it damn well pleases whenever it damn well pleases.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It sure does.

I saw the same article and wondered if, contrary to all the gushing, there weren’t a few board members asking everyone to calm down and recognize that we’re only one year into Dr. Heinz’s administration and maybe — just maybe — it’s premature to talk about upping her pay. Call me a nut. A crazy dreamer. But that’s what I was hoping.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You nut, you crazy dreamer! Who do you think you’re dealing with over at D-64…people who actually expect and demand real performance for the pay they dole out, and who are more concerned about the taxpayers’ well-being than they are about the financial well-being of their already upper-5% carpetbagger/mercenary administrators?

This isn’t just about pay, Mr. Schildwachter, this is also about adding one or more years to Supt. Heinz’s 3-year contract after only 1 year has expired.

Ok, I’m confused. If Heinz got a 3 year contract in 2014, and this is only one year later, what kind of contract was it? Why are increases being discussed already? Why bother with a contract if you’re going to up the ante every couple of months? Talk about a sweetheart deal!!

EDITOR’S NOTE: It. Was. A. 3. Year. Contract.

And increases apparently are being discussed already because Heinz “hit her evaluations and benchmarks out of the park” – even if D-64 has published nothing that would confirm what those “benchmarks” were and how far she hit them.

At D-64 (and D-207), “sweetheart deal”s – with no accountability – are the name of the game.

Seems it would be a simple matter to list the benchmarks she hit, assuming they are semi-quantifiable. And if they’re not, say her virtues are above and beyond the picyune and parsimonious. But it’s a bit insulting to hear biz terms with no backup. Like we can’t see we’re being massaged?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ninety percent of Park Ridge taxpayers are clueless about D-64 and D-207 because that’s the way those school districts want it, and that’s how well their highly-paid propaganda ministers (Tramm and Beery, respectively) finesse the local press by keeping most of the shiny objects out of sight.

Borrelli is living a full-blown Cubs metaphor. He’s treating Rookie Heinz like she’s Kris Bryant, and since she hit it out of the park Borrelli is Theo Epstein giving her a raise and a contract extension. Except that instead of Ricketts money he’s using our money.

EDITOR’S NOTE: And the Cub fans keep showing up and spending their money in the belief that THIS is the year.

My grandchildren go to D-64 schools, so I have reestablished some contact with the schools in attending various events for them. Compared to when my own children went there, except for the advancements in math and science and technology, I don’t get the feeling that the educational focus and rigor is what it used to be.

EDITOR’S NOTE: But the public relations/propaganda is probably a lot better than it used to be.

“I don’t get the feeling that the educational focus and rigor is what it used to be.”

Whoa, don’t go too far out on a limb there, Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous at 7:34 a.m. yesterday!

Hate to agree with Gramps but in my day in 64 and 207, the highest “B” was a 93%; now it’s an 89%. Simpler to compute with each decade in score translating into a letter grade increase, but I’m not sure that was the only reason it was changed.

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