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Local News

Fairmont D-89 board selects interim superintendent, business manager

New officials were former educators in Harvey, Morris

LOCKPORT – The Fairmont School District 89 Board of Education picked an interim leader and business manager at Thursday’s special meeting.

The board approved, 5-0, a contract employing Lela Bridges, a former superintendent of Harvey School District 152, as the District 89 interim superintendent at a per diem rate of $825 for up to 100 days. 

Bridges, who retired from District 152 in 2010, will replace Sonya Whitaker.

Whitaker announced her resignation May 18, the day after her employment contract as superintendent of Harvey School District 152 was signed. 

The board also approved, 5-0, the contract employing Teri Shaw, former superintendent of Morris Elementary School District 54, as interim business manager at a per diem rate of $650. 

Shaw, who resigned from District 54 in December, will replace David Holm. 

Board President Katie Ulmer said the hires of Bridges and Shaw were good choices.

“They seemed to be what we’re looking for to be moving in the right direction,” she said.

Over the past several months, board meetings have been contentious with disputes over legal and financial issues.

The disputes mostly occurred between board Vice President Joseph Ryan and other board members, including Ulmer. 

Ryan resigned June 17 – the official last day for Whitaker at District 89 – citing his disagreements with board members and Whitaker’s resignation as his reason for leaving. 

The board is looking for candidates to fill a seat and the deadline is July 13. 

Board member Charles Travis was absent from Thursday’s meeting. 

Fund transfers  

Before the board approved an interim superintendent and business manager, it approved the transfer of $163,000 from the district’s transportation fund to the education fund.

A public hearing on the fund transfer was held, and Ulmer called on Shaw to explain the need for the transfer.

Shaw said the tax levy of 2014, which funds the 2016 budget, purposefully had an increase in the transportation fund because of the declining overall assessed property values prevalent in the state.

“It was the purpose of that levy to be able to obtain funds to support the education fund and the transfer tonight of the funds from the transportation to the education fund concludes that process,” Shaw said.

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