Lone Orland Resident Speaks Out On Lack of Teacher Contract, Walsh Demotion at D135 Meeting
The board also approved a tax levy with no increase over the last fiscal year.
Orland Park resident Jean Corridon had some thoughts to share on Melanie Walsh's employment and the lack of a new teacher contract at the Orland School District 135 Board of Education meeting Monday night.
While she didn't sign in to speak, the board opted to give her a few minutes after Superintendent Paul Howell's report during the meeting held at Center School.
"Excuse me," she said. "I don't know how this goes, but I have some comments to make."
First she spoke about the "lack of contract" for teachers in the district. With about a week until the winter holidays begin, D135 teachers are still without a new contract.
"How discouraging for them," Corridon said, reading from prepared remarks. "What better way to negatively impact the quality of the children's education than to provide them with discouraged and disheartened teachers."
She called for a resolution, requesting "in the name of fairness, to give [the teachers] a contract before year's end."
Corridon then moved on – in front of a quiet crowd that seemed fixated on her words – and spoke about Melanie Walsh who was forced out of a job as secretary back to her old paraprofessional position last month.
"In regard to this board's recent actions regarding the demotion of a valued employee, which is likely to involve the district in a lawsuit, which according to news reports can cost as much as $100,000," Corridon said. "Would this money not be better spent by applying it to teachers' salaries? Or to the buildings and classrooms? Of course it would."
At the conclusion of her two-minute remarks, Corridon received hearty applause that lasted almost a minute. Several attendees also shook her hand and said "thank you" after the meeting.
Corridon, a retired senior citizen who said she and her husband recently paid a $3,400 property tax bill, told Patch, "I don't want to see my taxpayer dollars wasted on this ridiculousness."
Bridget McGuiggan, district community relations coordinator, said officials cannot comment on Walsh's situation or respond to feedback due to confidentiality constraints.
However, "the board and the administration are definitely aware of some of the concerns," McGuiggan said.
Tax Levy Stays the Same as Last Year
Also during the meeting, the board approved a tax levy with no increase over the previous fiscal year. In fact, officials noted, the levy is actually $524,828 less than the last.
The district is anticipating a 1.78 percent increase of the levy request from Cook County to cover potential "loss and cost" from payment default, certificate of errors, property tax objections and property tax appeals, explained John Reiniche, assistant superintendent for business services.
Any increases a taxpayer observes on their tax bill will not be from the district but from the county, officials said.
Reiniche and the finance staff were lauded by board members for keeping costs down.
The board's next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Administration Center, 15100 S. 94th Ave.