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Local News

Joliet School D-86 board postpone superintendent search firm decision

Board inspectors want to nail down travel costs for company

JOLIET – Joliet Public School District 86 Board inspectors decided to hold off on approving an agreement with a company to search for the new superintendent as they figure out travel costs. 

At Wednesday’s board meeting, inspectors were set to vote on approving an agreement with Ray And Associates Inc. from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, until Board Inspector Jeffrey Pritz asked about travel expenses for a representative from the company. 

The school district is in the process of choosing a search firm to find candidates to become the next superintendent after Charles Coleman announced his retirement from the position earlier this summer. 

Pritz said after the meeting he wanted to make sure board members understood what was included in travel expenses since the company is from Iowa. He said during the meeting if a representative takes a flight to a Chicago airport every couple of weeks “that’s going to get into a little bit of money.”

Board Inspector Quinn Adamowski said he personally thought Ray And Associates Inc. was the right firm and he wanted the board to do whatever it could to work out travel issues. 

“Given the fact they’re in Cedar Rapids though, I mean it’s only 2½ hours away,” he said. 

Board President Gwendolyn Ulmer said she called several school districts that did business with the company and she received positive responses from all except one in Aurora. 

She said Aurora school officials’ response was negative because they initially began their search at the local level, but then chose to do a national search for a bilingual candidate given the school district has a high Latino population. That slowed the search process down, and they had to start from scratch, she said.

The Aurora school district also had to search once more for a superintendent after finding the right candidate because of state licensing issues, she said. She said they were negative about the search process, not the company’s performance.

After discussing travel issues, the board decided to not yet vote on approving the selection of a search firm.

Start of new school year

Superintendent Coleman said every District 86 school was preparing for the beginning of a new school year, which begins Aug. 19. 

“A lot of excitement and activity has taken place for preparation of a great start,” he said.

Tanisha Cannon, assistant superintendent of student services, said school registration was up by 85 percent, which was higher than last year in August. She said principals are going door to door and secretaries are making cold calls to ensure students are being registered for school. 

“We’re ready to receive those students that have registered, and we’re not going to stop encouraging registration until we have everyone accounted for,” Cannon said. 

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