Valente challenges board, administration

By on March 15, 2012

Discussion turns to conflict during board meeting
By Keith Beebe
KANELAND—School Board member Tony Valente on Tuesday called the district’s hiring practices into question during discussion regarding a resignation and employment of staff agenda item, stating his belief that the district is opening itself up to the potential for lawsuits, and action from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Office of Civil Rights (OCR).

The “hiring” move on the agenda was actually an internal reassignment of an existing employee.

“When we go through a process (that) does not involve our community, our students (and) our teachers—but we’re appointing anybody to a principalship, assistant principalship, superintendent, assistant superintendent, whatever—we don’t consult those people, and I think that we open ourselves up in many ways,” Valente said. “The main way, I think, is that we open ourselves up to unfair labor practices. That’s my opinion.”

“I think the board needs to seriously look at the policy and procedures of how we hire a candidate, because once this (resignation and employment of staff agenda item) is approved tonight, I can go tomorrow and file an EEOC claim as an administrator … and say that I wasn’t considered … for this position,” Valente said.

School Board member Joe Oberweis responded to Valente’s comments, disagreeing with the belief that there is a significant risk due to the district’s current hiring practices.

“I am embarrassed on behalf of the board to try and subject Jeff (Schuler) to that sort of rant,” Obwerweis said. “(Tony), I don’t mean to pick on you, but you’re picking on Jeff … you’re throwing out a bunch of big words, trying to make it sound much more important and official, and it’s all a bunch of hooey. There is no EEOC risk; there is nothing like that. People can go file an EEOC claim because you looked at them funny. It doesn’t mean it has any validity to it whatsoever. What the (Kaneland) district has done is what every other district has done—they had a good internal candidate, and they made the decision that they wanted to do it. There’s no risk about any of the other stuff, because a monkey can go file a claim about anything they want.”

“And you’re an attorney, or you just play one on TV?” Valente asked.

“I am the CEO of a 1,000-employee company, I talk to people about this all the time and I have a very good understanding of it,” Oberweis replied.

Oberweis then moved to shut down the discussion, but the board allowed Valente the opportunity to offer a comment. Valente reiterated that the district needs to go through the hiring process and look for the best possible candidate.

“Joe, you can’t sit there and criticize everything that we’re trying to do to save the district money,” Valente said. “With respect to lawsuits and personnel matters, we should open up (the) process, and the mere fact that you don’t want to open up the process and have a fair process for everybody tells me that we’re not interested in doing that … and that’s the ‘hooey.’”

After further back and forth between the two board members, Oberweis made a motion to end the discussion. Over the verbal objections of Valente, the board seconded the motion and passed the motion 6-1, with Valente the lone “no” vote. Valente told School Board President Cheryl Krauspe that she was out of order for allowing the vote to end discussion and “breaking the rules that (the board) agreed upon.”

Valente then repeatedly said “Point of order” while the rest of the board voted 6-0 to approve the original agenda item for resignation and employment of staff.

Valente took one more opportunity to speak about the conflict near the conclusion of the meeting, and stated that it is up to elected officials to question the administration. He called the School Board a “one-and-six board,” and said he was discouraged by the fact that the board had circumvented Robert’s Rules of Order and “rudely, jokingly threw him aside.”

“There’s a difference between questioning and grandstanding and giving out erroneous information—erroneous suggestions—where the work that this administration and this board does would be brought into question,” Krauspe said in response to Valente’s comments.

“Our administrative team would never employ a practice we know would create additional liability for our School District. I don’t share the concerns raised at the meeting, nor does the School Board’s attorney,” Schuler said.

About Keith Beebe

Keith Beebe is the Editor of the Elburn Herald. You can reach him at info@elburnherald.com or (630) 365-6446 x105.

6 Comments

  1. RM

    March 18, 2012 at 7:31 AM

    Valente is a distraction and needs to step down. It’s hard to imagine any school district would hire someone who can’t get along and has nothing to contribute but negativity. He has no business working in any school system.

  2. subzero

    March 18, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    Valente makes a lot of valid points and I bet a lot of people agree with him as well as myself. I just wish there was a better way for him to get his point across.

  3. OneWhoCares

    March 20, 2012 at 12:24 AM

    I seen this on a comment to a new artical (I think Oberweis’ blatantly false advertising lost him the election. The anti-foster ad with the “throw enough money at it” sound bite oh so obviously taken out of context made me think Oberweis is just another Illinois politician who lacks integrity.)
    Maybe Foster should be on the school board.

  4. outdoor1

    March 20, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Bill Foster is a big government liberal. All he knows how to do is overspend our hard earned money. He voted for Obamacare, he supports cap and trade, and is weak when it comes to making tough decisions to stop the frivolous spending concerning the debt. Those three things will bankrupt this country. He would spend us to kingdom come if on the school board.

  5. 302peep

    March 22, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    Valente is doing his job in attempting to protect our interest. At least he is willing to ask questions. This rubber stamping needs to come to an end. There is nothing wrong with asking for the hiring process your employee is using. When you move educators around from school to school because it is proven they can’t teach and yet they are not asked to leave!! Pls!! Some of the other board members need to get on board and step it up or step aside. Tony keep asking the questions! Who is really suffering here?

  6. RM

    March 24, 2012 at 6:46 AM

    We expect ALL board members to do their job. When you can’t do it without being disrespectful or disruptive, then you are no longer effective. When you have advanced education you need to have better social skills if you ever want to distinguish yourself as a leader or authority. When you act like a loud-mouthed lout, nobody cares what you have to say. Why would anyone want Valenti as a Superintendent or a Principal when he acts this way? I questioned his agenda when he ran for this position. Sad to see I was right.

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