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Shipbaugh booted from Lyons SD 103 school board

Removed

for failing to attend meetings since June

By Steve Metsch

Coleen Shipbaugh, a member of the

Lyons School District 103 since 2015, was booted Monday night for failing to

attend meetings since June.

She was removed by the regional

school superintendent who, according to an interim superintendent, has the

authority to do so.

Her replacement could be selected

at a special meeting on Dec. 10, board president Marge Hubacek said. That

person would attend the next regular meeting on Dec. 17.

Shipbaugh’s term runs until the

April election. Her replacement would serve until then and could seek election.

“She’s off the board,” said Pat

Patt, one of two interim superintendents in the district.

Shipbaugh did not attend the

meeting Monday night and has not attended a regular board meeting or committee

meeting since June, Patt said.

Her absences were brought to the

attention of regional schools superintendent Mark Klaisner, executive director

at the West 40 Intermediate Service Center No. 2 by the district’s other

interim superintendent. Dr. Robert Madonia, Patt said.

“(Klaisner) has the power to

remove a board member from office for abandoning the duties. He sent her two

letters. She hasn’t responded,” Patt said. “She has not been here since June,

and has not accessed her (district) email since June.”

During the meeting at Washington

Middle School, Patt read a letter sent by Klaisner to Shipbaugh.

In the letter, Klaisner said

board president Marge Hubacek had “requested my investigation of your

involvement (or lack thereof) in the board of education.”

“The records show you have not

been involved in board activity, or checked district email since mid-June 2018,

which would be five months ago,” the letter continued.

“At this time, I am compelled to

consider removing you from your seat on the Lyons Elementary 103 school board.

If you wish for me to re-consider this decision, you must contact (me) by the

end of the business day today, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018,” Patt read from the

letter.

Patt said that at the close of

business Monday, there had been no such contact, and “he is removing her from

the school board.”

Shipbaugh said that she had been

disappointed by what she believed had been a focus on politics by the board

majority rather than on the best interests of the students in the district.

“I’m a just a parent who believes

that the school district should spend all of its energies serving the

educational interests of the students,” she said. “Instead, I have been

bullied, intimidated and attacked by the board majority on the basis of their

narrow focus on politics.

“This board majority is a problem for the school children and

their actions need to be confronted. The board should spend more time listening

to the parents not to their selfish political instincts.”Ê

Board Vice President Sharon

Anderson said Shipbaugh had not reached out to explain why she was not

attending meetings. She said she last saw Shipbaugh at a Lyons Mustangs event

in the fall.

“She said she had some health

issues. It was nice to see her. I feel bad. If she truly wanted to be on the

board É she hasn’t come or contacted us,” Anderson said.

Patt noted the absence is in

stark contrast to another board member.

“You have a lady sitting here who

has missed three meetings since the beginning of the year and is here tonight

after having open heart surgery four weeks ago,” Patt said, nodding toward

board member Joanne Schaeffer.

Schaefer was visibly angered by

Monday’s absence of Shipbaugh, Michael Bennett and Jorge Torres. “They do not

respect the district, the employees, the children and the taxpayers. Shame on

them,” she said.

Shipbaugh, Bennett and Torres

have been aligned with Mayor Christopher Getty, Hubacek said, but she added

that politics played no role in the move.

“She was his candidate, but

that’s a coincidence. It doesn’t make any difference. I’d still have the same

conversation when you have board members who are intentionally not coming in,”

Hubacek said.

Hubacek said she last talked with

Shipbaugh “before June.”

“People have seen her. I don’t

know if it’s a medical issue. She’s a nice lady, but she’s not showing up and

we have board business to do,” Hubacek said. “If she’s sick, just call and let

us know. We’ve worked with that before, but this smacks of (being)

intentional.”

Their missing meetings hampers

the duties of the board, Hubacek said.

Madonia said Bennett and Torres

had not attended a meeting since Oct. 23. Together with Shipbaugh’s absences

and Schaeffer’s convalescence, the board could not take action because it

lacked a quorum.

“We needed a quorum in order to

conduct business,” he said, including approving payments.

“We brought (Schaeffer) in

tonight so we would have a quorum,” Madonia said.

Hubacek said anyone interested in

applying for the board vacancy can apply at the school district headquarters,

4100 S. Joliet Ave., Lyons.

Editor

Bob Bong contributed to this report.

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