OPRF hires two assistant principals

Oak Park and River Forest High School has hired one of its own and a neighboring high school administrator to serve as permanent assistant principals.

Janel Bishop, an OPRF discipline dean, has been selected as assistant principal for student health and safety. Bishop is an 8-year employee of the high school and has served as a discipline dean for the last two years. Mark Wilson, assistant principal for pupil services at Niles North Township High School, has been named OPRF assistant principal for student services. Wilson has been an assistant principal for two years.

Bishop, who’ll make $105,000, and Wilson, who will earn $125,000, were approved last Thursday by the District 200 Board of Education.

Bishop will oversee discipline deans and building security staff. Wilson will be in charge of student counselors, nurses and the registrar’s office.

The high school expects to name a principal in early April. Community forums for the two remaining finalists are next week. Bethany Lyke, principal at Thornton Township High School, will meet the community next Tuesday, April 1. A community forum for Elizabeth Bender, principal at University High School in Missouri, is next Thursday, April 3. The forums take place at OPRF, 201 N. Scoville.

D200 opts against outsourcing

The District 200 Board of Education not only didn’t pass a resolution last week to explore outsourcing for custodians, the measure never even came to a vote.

The current contract with Building & Grounds Department employees expires June 30. The board had previously discussed whether to outsource custodial services. Members acknowledged likely savings from outsourcing and said it was something they needed to explore.

But before taking such an action, the Illinois School Code requires the district to provide 90-days notice prior to the expiration of the contract. That period would begin April 1.

The resolution, however, failed because no board member offered a motion to bring the measure to a vote. Some members had expressed concern over language in the measure, asserting that the board was not planning to outsource for custodians but was only considering whether to do so.

If the resolution had passed, the board could have rescinded it before June 30 if it opted not to outsource, but members expressed discomfort with such a timeline. They also asserted that passing a resolution would not have resulted in any “dismissal” of the school’s 28 custodians, which the resolution had stated.

The board last Thursday heard from several B&G employees who spoke during public comments, asking that the resolution be voted down.

After the meeting, several employees expressed relief and appreciation over the board’s decision.

Open-door policy at D97

While many people celebrated Easter on Sunday, Oak Park’s Jehovah’s Witnesses gathered last Saturday at Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School to remember the death of Jesus Christ.

Jehovah’s Witnesses traditionally do not celebrate Easter or other religious and secular holidays. Regardless of a group’s beliefs or practices, however, District 97 has an open-door policy at its school buildings for any group affiliated or unaffiliated with the district.

The Dist. 97 school board revisited the policy this school year as part of its regular policy review but made no significant changes.

Don Robinson, Dist. 97 assistant superintendent for finance and operations, explained policy 7510, which outlines how school facilities are accessed by community groups.

“Generally, just about any community group can request a space,” said Robinson, provided that the group’s activities are not profit-making or politically partisan, among other stipulations.

The groups don’t pay for usage, unless custodians are required to work overtime, in which case the group would pick up that cost.

-Terry Dean

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