Shipbaugh booted from Lyons SD 103 school board
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
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 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)
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.
Bob Bong contributed to this report.
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