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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 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 .

"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 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 ," 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 , 15100 S. 94th Ave.

Robert November 15, 2011 at 01:32 PM
"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." Thank you Mrs. Corridon. Tax payers should at least get quality police, fire, and teachers for their money. Police, fire, teachers impact the community and are where are tax dollars are suppose to be going. Leaders and those in position of power over these entities are abusing their positions and cheating taxpayers.
frank November 15, 2011 at 04:38 PM
Mrs. Corridon deserves a thank you from Orland Residents. I'm sure the current majority of school board members loved the meeting. Why? With only ONE comment from the audience (really couldn't hear it clearly) they must have felt that all the negative comments in the PATCH have blown away. Clearly, Orland residents are sheep who occasionally mew. Oh yes, we have a few who share the lion's roar. The common sense of the wise ole owl might be around the corner in the near future. Talk to your friends and get out the vote next time! Why?, because nothing is happening NOW!. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Andrea Williams November 16, 2011 at 01:09 AM
I wish there was a "Like" button or "Agree" button on here so we could show our support of fellow commenters -- I "Like" both of the above, well-stated comments. Frank, we won't let these issues blow away.
John Paul November 16, 2011 at 04:39 AM
This won't go away because the union is pursuing it. Eventually, the district will be ordered to reinstate Mrs. Walsh with back pay. Carmody, Cunningham, Zekich and Gentile have to be smart enough to know that this is coming, yet they have not been smart enough to rectify their blatant error. I even offered the board president, John Carmody some advice on how to fix this in a recent blog posting. Clearly, they don't care what anyone thinks. Gentile is out for revenge, Carmody is afraid he'll lose his majority and Cunningham and Zekich appear to be along for the ride. No amount of logic or public reaction is going to change thier minds, only a court order will do that.
Andrea Williams November 16, 2011 at 11:32 AM
I know you retired your D135 hat JP but duty may be calling...
frank November 16, 2011 at 11:20 PM
Sarah, I can tell you that the activity of this current board would not get away with what they are doing, if for instance, they were a District Council or local school council in Chicago. Board members would answer questions in open session, and I mean all questions. Without pressure, they continue to insult our intelligence. Committed people bear pressure. Their handout pamphlet states they are to serve the community and not their own petty agendas. For the most part, too many Orlanders don't have a clue as to what is going on and the impact that we will face in the near future. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Michael November 18, 2011 at 05:09 PM
Why aren't the specific contract issues available to all, including the tax payers and teachers? Why did BOTH the union and board agree to secret negotiations for this contract? Transparancy and full disclosure by elected and appointed representatives are the order of the day in both public and private organizations. In the board's 2011-12 Budget pamphlet two"Guiding Principles" are Community Dedication and Communication,so why are the contract issues not following these Guidelines ?
Ben Feldheim (Editor) November 18, 2011 at 08:02 PM
Michael, that's a good question. Calls to both sides of this issue went unreturned throughout this past week. We'll keep looking into it.
Jeff December 12, 2011 at 07:14 PM
I know many of you are searching for articles and any information you can find about what's going on. The board meets again tonight at Center School (9407 W 151st Street) at 7:30 PM. Concerned parents and citizens should attend and support our teachers and our students.

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