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$66K Check for Superintendent on VVSD Board Agenda

The Valley View School District 365U will vote Monday whether to reimburse James Mitchem $65,658 for tuition for his doctorate degree.

The superintendent of could receive almost $66,000 in tuition reimbursement from the district if the school board approves an amendment to his contract Monday night. 

The $65,658 amount for James Mitchem is not a salary increase and “represents the reasonable value of tuition reimbursement for the doctoral degree on an after-tax basis,” according to school board documents.

Mitchem "shall be paid a bonus of $65,658 for the 2011‐2012 school year, payable on or before Aug. 1."

Mitchem submitted a request for the tuition reimbursement, which has been reviewed by the school board president. According to the district’s 2011 salary compensation report, Mitchem receives a base salary of $199,000.

The board will also hold a public hearing on -- Abraham Lincoln's Birthday (Feb. 12), Casimir Pulaski Day (first Monday in March) and Christopher Columbus Day (second Monday in October). Those wishing to give their input can attend the meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. in the board room at the Administrative Center at 755 Dalhart Drive in Romeoville.

On the consent agenda:

  • requests approval to enter into a contract with the Inter-State Studio & Publishing Company for student and classroom photography.
  • request approval of a $200 gift card from Office Depot. 
  • Oak View Elementary School requests a grant gift of $4,320 from the Oak View PTA for the “sole and express purpose of funding for technology.” Any unused portion of the grant will be returned to the PTA and a written report will be submitted to the PTA with full disclosure of expenses incurred at the end of the school year.
  • Approval of a varsity girls volleyball trip in August with a cost of $201.36 to the district. 
Rhonda July 17, 2012 at 03:48 PM
All 4 are members of Mayor Claar's First Party. Anyone that voted for the "Friends of Valley View" did so blindly. Sorry to be so blunt, but it's the truth. In April, there will be another local election. We need to learn as much as we can about every candidate. The reason SQUIGLEY and GOUGLSIS is so arrogant is because they've got atleast 2 more years. They are taking a huge gamble that the Bolingbrook voters will forget. If you want a different board, vote for one.
Rhonda July 17, 2012 at 03:51 PM
...plus, board VP GOUGLISS likes to drink beer at the Sox Game with Honorable Claar..I saw him on tv with a large cup of beer, yucking it up with Claar. Maybe the beer and Claar's company is giving him a false sense of security, and courage...
BenFranklinWouldBeDisgusted July 17, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Liz abstained from the vote because she stated she wanted Dr. Mitchum present and also because she felt the community needed to know why this was happening and such. Gougis countered by asking "Why does he need to be here?". She did not agree the vote should have been taken at that current meeting, but held off until the next August meeting. Her motion to table it was overruled by the other members. Whether she agreed with it or not, she wanted the community and herself to be informed for the reasons and discuss it. Motion denied.
ROMEOTUCKY RESIDENT July 17, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Are you serious? We have a school district that has HOW many schools? And NONE OF WHICH can pass the state tests? I think there are better ways to spend the school's money rather than paying his bills. Should we start paying for his suits that he has to wear? Maybe his shoes too? I'm sure he doesn't wear Payless brand. At $200,000 a year, I'm thinking he should pay his own bills and maybe buy some paper for the schools so they don't run out! And people wonder why I call this town ROMEOTUCKY?!?!
blondie July 19, 2012 at 12:02 PM
Did he have any documents showing what he spent for his PHD, i would have to see proof of it.
Jane Black July 19, 2012 at 12:51 PM
You are so right Jan! I had such high hope for the district when Mitchem took over and there are more and more things that happen that disappoint me and the entire Valley View District. The district let go how elementary teachers with experience and have teachers aide with teaching degrees but hire a brand new grad. Is it because they serves the Mitchem drinks at a local restaurant? Yet another thing that is disappointing.
Kristie July 19, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Jane, There's a lot more that goes into choosing a teacher for the job. First, they have to be certified to teach the grade/class. In these economic times, I'm sure that the salary schedule will also come into play. It's cheaper to higher a new grad with a BS than one with more experience or with a MA> What school are you referring to? Generally, the principals are responsible for hiring their staff.
dabrooklongtime July 19, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Well it's been forever since I've been on here, but someday I hope to run for our school board. As someone with a strong education background, a resident of Bolingbrook for over 25 years, a masters in education, a parent of several students, I see quite clearly the problems in our district. The biggest problem is both Romeoville and Bolingbrook residents wait to hear the news and then react. I am just as guilty as anyone else. If we are to see true change and take charge of our communities, our schools, our tax dollars we must emerse ourselves in the district. This mean going to every school board meeting, everytime.
dabrooklongtime July 19, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Asking questions every meeting we hear something that sounds suspect. It means demanding our papers run information earlier. It means saving emails where we ask questions and get answers that are later turned around when it's time to vote. It means each one of us grabbing two friends in the district and telling them to grab two friends and so on for all these meetings. And you know what?It means causing an orderly stand against not being heard. Why three months ago did 100 taxpayers and educators stand in a hallway quietly at the request of Mr. Leroy Brown so the board meeting could go on regarding the Odessy Program and Driver's Education and Fine Arts Cuts and Riffing? They didn't respect us enough to have the meeting somewhere that stakeholders could hear and see, why did we all remain respectfully quiet? After that meeting as opposed to holding the follow up meeting at one of the two highschools auditoriums or gym, they held it at Lukancic and again put people in seperate rooms, treated people who came to speak as though they were idiots and unimportant, and again we sat respectfully allowing it. We need to legally, but forcefully make our presence known: every meeting, every time. Our distr
dabrooklongtime July 19, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Our district has over 125,000 people in it. Our schools house 20000 or more students and yet our school board meetings are held in a room meant to hold 75 people. Our district expects taxpayers to be lazy and not go, just like we expect our district to hire people who are unqualified or vote in board members who have hidden agendas. We compare ourselves to Naperville, Hinsdale, etc. Other than the clear differences in socioeconomics a major difference is the level of committment that those districts taxpayers have to being at every meeting, knowing every candidate, and voicing all their concerns. We got big tooooo fast and gone are the days of people standing up for what is good for their schools. If we want this district to be ours, if we want to complain we must ignite a fire under taxpayers to become engaged and knowledgable in the area of our schools. I don't love that the district is paying $66,000 for a PHD that Dr. Mitchem would have chose to get at some point no matter where he was, but the facts remain until we are so far up our boards butts we know what they ate for dinner last week, we will continue to see things that are suspect. According to Dr. Mitchem teachers do the real work, right? and yet since his inception as superintendent he has created a number quickly nearing 20, that's right 20 more administrative positions. the 12 positions he created when he first took the job and an additional 4-6 this year. Why is no one questioning that?
dabrooklongtime July 19, 2012 at 07:14 PM
I find that far more disturbing than a man requesting a reimbursement for his tuition. Hell, who wouldn't ask to have a bill waived? and if our board is so lost in a cloud of god knows what to do it, ethically or not, then how do we blame Dr. Mitchem? I'm not saying that the board and him do not work hand in hand, but he has found himself in a situation where the people employing him....the school board....are so uneducated on matters (short of curran and campbell) that they literally go to the person they hired to ask how to run things. At the heart of it, Dr. Mitchem wants change and wants to make things better...I do know this, but he also is going to run as far as the leash lets him, and right now our board forgot to put a leash on. That is no one's fault but theres. We MUST begin to be the thorns in the sides of the school board.....I suppose that's it......
Rhonda July 19, 2012 at 07:41 PM
PEOPLE ARE SCARED TO SPEAK OUT. Just check out how VP Quigley and Mike Evans treated ME at one school board meeting (link's below): I strongly believe there are members in the community that want to speak up but are forced to keep quiet out of fear of being on the receiving end of Claar's First Party anger. Two years ago, I approached the podium (at a school bd mtg) with questions and was verbally assaulted, and was literally threatened to be thrown out...(check out the video below and judge for yourself). I have been literally villified and called every name in the book simply for speaking up, and running for public office. How can we get talented people to step up and run if they are met with hostility and resentment? The community needs to step up. Look at the video below and ask yourself, "Would you like to be treated this way?" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xY5lFn2hRQM
Child of GOD July 19, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Just watch the youtube. WOW. They are not in control at all. Rhonda you were calm and they were not. One guy took his kids out because he didn't like the education his child was getting so he pulled them out. WHAT? If he didn't like HELLO, there is a really a problem.......
Been here for 25 years July 19, 2012 at 08:03 PM
You are not talented, don't fool yourself! You are hostile, disrespectful, resentful and you have an axe to grind with the Mayor and anyone associated with him. People HATE YOU for a reason.
Rhonda July 19, 2012 at 08:05 PM
The guy losing control is the President of the school board, Steve Quigley. He's the one that pulled his kids out. Mike Evans is the guy on the left with the white shirt. He's the one that screams "this is not a town hall, it's not Chicago", to a member of the audience that was speaking out against their behavior. VP Gougis is the african american gentleman. Take a look at Liz Campbell and Jim Curran's reaction. Curran has his hands over his face. The entire room was shocked. Deputy Mayor Leroy Brown was also in the audience, but very silent. Crazy stuff.
Rhonda July 19, 2012 at 08:09 PM
See...Now is this normal?
Been here for 25 years July 19, 2012 at 08:22 PM
You bring it all on yourself. Just take a look at your recent posts. The news was about the school board, but you brought the mayor, the village lawyers and a few others into the mix. Save your poor-pityful-me play for someone else. Most people in Bolingbrook refer to you as the village loudmouth, and associate you with the other knucklehead watchdog group that spews the same BS.
Marie Bolingbrook July 19, 2012 at 08:29 PM
dabrook, I agree 100%, and I do plan to attend the board meetings in the future. The only time I went to a meeting was the forum of the board candidates before the election and Mr. Mitchem's forum when he took over. It's amazing how many people speak out on here, but then at election time vote blindly for candidates instead of getting to know more about them. People need to stop talking about the problems and become part of the solution. Rhonda, I have not yet watched the link you have attached here, but I will. One thing I do suggest is that you keep the discussion on the facts and the problems, and offer solutions. As someone who has run for office, I would think you would want to be seen in the best light possible. Adding comments about who consumes beer at baseball games as you wrote in your previous comments just lowers your credibility. Come across as the educated person you are instead of stooping to name calling and such. We need more people to come out and speak up, not the people who show up at the mayors meetings. Maybe their heart is in the right place, but they just don't come off as knowledgeable.
Marie Bolingbrook July 19, 2012 at 08:35 PM
According to the meeting, the district sets aside $350,000 annually for tuition reimbursements for the entire district employees. Mr. Mitchem just received 19% of that budget!!! While I do believe he is entitled to some reimbursement, that is too much. There should be a cap amount for him, as there is for the teachers. They say it was agreed upon in his contract, but inadvertently left off. I don't believe it. How do you leave off $66,000. If it was agreed upon like they said, it should be in writing. And if it's not in writing, then I think we have bigger problems on our hands. No large school district does business on a handshake, everything should be in writing.
Marie Bolingbrook July 19, 2012 at 08:48 PM
And just one more thing to stir the pot, we have a new principal at BHS. Mr. Michael White. In the patch article about him, it states that he is currently earning a Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership at EMU. I hope to God that we will not be footing the bill for that. Sorry if this comment just distracts from the issue at hand, but I couldn't resist.
Been here for 25 years July 19, 2012 at 08:52 PM
That is a very good question. I wonder what the answer is.
Rhonda July 19, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Marie, I'm not running for public office. I'm just a private citizen...it seems the only crime I've committed was attend board mtgs, ask questions, and run for public office. Do you not see how crazy your comment is? I'm not the issue, our dysfunctional school board is. STAY ON THE SUBJECT http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xY5lFn2hRQM
Marie Bolingbrook July 19, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Rhonda, this is what you just wrote: Marie, I'm not running for public office. I'm just a private citizen...it seems the only crime I've committed was attend board mtgs, ask questions, and run for public office. In my comments I wrote as someone who HAS run for office. How are my comments crazy? I was pretty much on subject, sorry I just offered some constructive criticism. I guess I overstepped. I am sorry.
What goes around... Comes around July 19, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Rhonda, How is your friend and political party supporter George Smith doing? Wasn't he recently arrested for Attempted Child Abduction? Is he still in jail or out on bond?
Rhonda July 19, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Marie, don't be sorry. I fully expect to have some critics in the community. It's ok. It comes with the territory. The problem I have is the deep level of vitriol targeted at me. It's anti-democratic, anti-free speech, abusive, etc. I speak out openly because very few are. I join debates on Bolingbrook Patch because I love debating. I give my full name because I don't believe in hiding. There's nothing or no one to fear. I'm just giving my opinion. It's not that serious. Lets get back on topic - Our dysfunctional school board.
Marie Bolingbrook July 19, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Rhonda I still don't understand what part of my comment you think is "crazy"??
Jamie September 29, 2012 at 09:25 AM
So that $66K on top of his regular salary PLUS an $80 bonus, PLUS travel expenses. So much for not accepting a raise. Who needs a raise when they will pay you back all that reimbursement and bonuses. Ya know, I had to get my Bachelor degree 14 years ago so I could get a teaching job. Maybe I should ask them to pay me that money back. Oh - and Mitchem's wife is a principal (how is that even ethical that her husband is her direct supervisor) so they are just rollin in it. All this while the board wants to up our insurance, jack with our school times, and give us a 0.5% raise (which won't even cover the costs of the insurance increase) in their proposed contract. Sad sad sad. I hope people of the community are paying attention and get these board members OUT!
Jamie September 29, 2012 at 09:27 AM
And this is exactly what people need to be saying....calling the board, writing them, going to board meetings and voicing this opinion. Let the board know that they should represent the people of the community and they are FAILING!
Jamie September 29, 2012 at 09:29 AM
Come on, you know where that money is going. The Jim Mitchem Reimbursement Fund!
Jamie September 29, 2012 at 09:31 AM
If that were the case, I would say money well spent! Bye-bye Mitchem!

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