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Special Board Meeting Called for Tuesday to Consider “Separation Agreement” with Superintendent Dignam

The+agenda+for+the+special+board+meeting+on+Tuesday%2C+May+22+at+8%3A30+PM.+Courtesy+of+District+113.
The agenda for the special board meeting on Tuesday, May 22 at 8:30 PM. Courtesy of District 113.

The agenda for the special board meeting on Tuesday, May 22 at 8:30 PM. Courtesy of District 113.

The agenda for the special board meeting on Tuesday, May 22 at 8:30 PM. Courtesy of District 113.

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After a prolonged period of unrest, it appears as though the District 113 School Board will be working towards achieving a “separation agreement” with Dr. Christopher Dignam, the current district superintendent, at a special board meeting on Tuesday, May 22.

There have been long-standing concerns among some that District 113 has been progressively losing the characteristics that made it such an attractive school district for so long. However, these concerns were intensified when the District 113 Education Association (DEA) released the results of their regularly-conducted climate survey, polling their member-teachers on their attitudes towards life in the district and other topics. As a rare example of a non-union high school district, the DEA acts as the collective bargaining unit for DHS and HPHS teachers. The survey, as reported by Deerfield Review, reports that “75 percent of teachers do not feel that district administrators share their vision and 87 percent do not believe there is an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.” A series of intense Citizens Comments sessions at board meetings since the release of the survey, and the creation of the “Highland Park/Deerfield High Schools Sounding Board” parent Facebook group, have shown a vocal and aggressive response from both teachers and the taxpaying public.

Most recently, at their May 14 meeting, the Board underwent its annual reorganization that resulted in the election of a new Board President, Elizabeth Garlovsky. The first full meeting under Garlovsky’s presidency will be the recently scheduled special board meeting on Tuesday with the notable agenda item of “Approval of Separation Agreement Between the Township High School District 113 Board of Education and the Superintendent.” The exact nature of the agreement under discussion is not clear. However, its very presence on the agenda signals a new response by the Board to the uproar over the climate concerns brought up by the survey.

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Special Board Meeting Called for Tuesday to Consider “Separation Agreement” with Superintendent Dignam