SD 227 board changes tactic against Leak
By CAsey Toner firstname.lastname@example.org September 20, 2013 11:02PM
Updated: October 23, 2013 6:25AM
The Rich Township High School District 227 Board has rescinded its prior vote declaring the contract of former Supt. Donna Simpson Leak to be invalid.
Leak has a lawsuit pending against the district, which she filed shortly after the school board fired her in June as a tenured teacher. The board also contended that Leak’s superintendent contract that ran through 2017 was invalid because it lacked performance goals.
Leak’s lawsuit claims civil conspiracy, breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress and seeks more than $800,000.
District 227 attorney John Relias said in exchange for the board validating Leak’s contract as superintendent, Leak agreed to give up her tenured teacher rights that allowed for a hearing before a hearing officer for the Illinois State Board of Education.
Instead, Leak is set to appear before the District 227 board for a closed hearing Oct. 15. Following the closed session, the board will vote in open session as to whether Leak breached her contract.
Relias said he believed the agreement will allow both sides to reduce future litigation by going straight to the board for a decision.
“This is a more expeditious way to proceed,” he said.
In Leak’s lawsuit against the district, she claims that board members Cheryl Coleman and David Morgan were biased against her and should not be allowed to weigh in on her employment status.
Leak’s attorney, Steven Glink, said he plans to ask Cook County Circuit Court Judge Peter Flynn to prevent Coleman and Morgan from voting on Leak’s contract issue before the Oct. 15 meeting
Despite the agreement with District 227, Glink predicted that Leak’s lawsuit will “go on for awhile” because he expects board members to still vote Oct. 15 against Leak.
“We’re going to go forward and fight to the end no matter what happens,” Glink said. “It’s a political game, and now new people have a board majority and they are using their power to remove someone they don’t like.”
Board president Cheryl Coleman did not respond to multiple messages, and board member Antoine Bass declined comment.