Saturday, May 23, 2009

Lindbergh Teachers Sound Off about Principal Firing

Nearly a dozen Lindbergh Middle School Faculty and Staffers met privately with me as a group to set the record straight on some of the on-going turmoil within LMS following the unexplained firing of their new principal, Julie McArdle. A half dozen more have spoken with me on the telephone. This group considers themselves the silent majority, very concerned about possible ramifications for speaking out against D150 Administration, but also appalled at the unjust firing of McArdle who they feel has been a source of hope and strength in improving a toxic and divisive environment at LMS.

It should be noted that at NO time prior to her firing had any board member or Central Admin member contacted McArdle to intervene in any real or perceived conflict between McArdle and staff or parents. This same group who spoke to me reached out to both Hinton and the Board of Education through letters, unsigned at the time, but accompanied with a cover letter stating they would be willing to disclose their identities in a personal meeting, which could be arranged through school staff. They wanted the Administration to understand that the story they were getting from a select few was highly subjective and one-sided. No one responded.

The case against McArdle was shrouded in secrecy due to the confidential nature of personnel matters, but many teachers on the inside are calling FOUL and speaking out. Their stories and concerns all share a common theme.

According to them, the conflicts revolve around a core group of 4 teachers, a staff member, and a few easily influenced "fence sitters". They are friends and operatives of Mary Davis, the former Lindbergh principal who sits at the right hand of the Superintendent, Ken Hinton. Amazingly, McArdle ended up reporting to Davis, a situation that anyone with average sense could have predicted as trouble.

The rest of the story is oddly reminiscent of a popular 2004 movie . Sadly though, in this case, we are dealing with adult, not teenage behavior, and instead of being comedic, it is a real life situation with real life consequences.

According to the teachers, shortly after Julie McArdle arrived at the beginning of the '08/'09school year, the "Fab 5" as they had been dubbed let her know in short shrift who was in charge. All attempts by McArdle to shore up notoriously loose interpretations of State, Federal and district rules were met with a full court press by these gals who considered Julie an opponent to the leadership of Davis as opposed to a successor to.

McArdle is well known by her peers in the industry as a very competent, extremely knowledgeable "by the book and stickler for rules" principal with an impeccable record including a Central Illinois "Principal of the Year Award". The vast majority of teachers and parents felt McArdle was doing a very good job. The Fab 5, however, felt differently. According to sources, they worked double time to undermine her and complained constantly to Davis of McArdle's attempts to "even the playing field" by treating all students, parents, teachers and staff equally. Davis, instead of discouraging this challenge to McArdles leadership, seemingly encouraged and welcomed it.

Several teachers told me that as early as January, the Fab 5 would frequently roll their eyes at the directives of McArdle and mouth "She's gone" to those around her.

Mary Davis, as principal of LMS, was thought to pander to a chosen few. According to some teachers and parents, appearances and image were everything to her. She was partial to the admittance of students with high GPA's over the more academically challenged students, and would bypass the "boundary waiver" requirement by telling parents they could use the home address of one of her Fab 5 on their student admission form.

Many of Davis' actions were considered manipulative by some of the faculty. She was lavish with gifts, signature apparel and catered parties. The teachers were told that she paid for these perks with her own money. Now that the whistle blowing allegations of misuse of funds has surfaced, many teachers are beginning to worry that this lavish treatment came at the expense of the generous contributions from parents and students via their activity fund.

Other questions have arisen. One example is the annual school field trip to Springfield, Illinois. Parents have traditionally been charged $25. per student to cover the "expenses" relating to this trip. Where are the financial records for payments made for this trip? How was the $25 figure calculated? Many of the payments from parents were made in cash.

Another example: Under the Davis Administration, a Herculean effort was underway every week to sell food items such as ice-cream, nachos, pop and crazy bread from outside vendors to students at a profit. This practice was in direct violation of the contract the District had with the food service vendor. For instance, Little Caesars Crazy Bread could be purchased for .50 per serving but was sold to the students for $1.00. Likewise with soda-pop. The Kids loved this practice and it endeared them to Mary Davis. If the food vendor was scheduled to appear on the premises during lunch time the kids were told "Don't ask for crazy bread - we aren't selling crazy bread today!". The "store" (the student council storage room) would be locked up and all were under strict orders to keep it secret. Again, it was a largely cash business. Where are the records of receipts and disbursements?

According to teachers, Davis systematically bent the rules to gain and maintain popularity. One teacher described how Davis would submit a plan to Admin for how the teachers would utilize their teacher institute days, only to have it discarded and the teachers told to go home and "stay off the golf course".

She would utilize the PA system throughout the day with frequent blasts of psychological propaganda such as "We are number 1!" Many teachers found this very disruptive and intrusive.

Teachers that have declared their unquestioned loyalty to Davis by all appearances are forgiven their sins, and some of those "sins" are serious.

According to these teachers, one of the Fab 5 continues to scream and berate her students on a daily basis. "SHUT UP!" is constantly emanating from her classroom. The behavior is upsetting and shocking to the other teachers and they frequently have to close their doors. Teachers and parents have complained continuously about this teacher. At one point a parent filed a complaint with the state. This teacher, however, despite her horrid offensive behavior towards her students continues to be employed and continues to receive satisfactory reviews.

To add to the intrigue, activity fund records have been reported to the police as "missing". Credit card records filed in the Julie McArdle vs. Mary Davis court case clearly demonstrate a payment from the student activity fund to pay a credit card balance on a credit card that Mary Davis denied existed. Many of the charges on this credit card appeared to be of a personal nature. There were also several "cash advances", and the activity fund does not reflect any credit for rewards cash earned from the credit card.

According to this group, the Fab 5 along with Mary Davis regularly demonstrated extremely unprofessional and sophomoric behavior. They would regularly hang out after hours in the office, outside the gym and at extra-curricular events. They would frequently have their heads together, giggle, snicker and laugh. This behavior was very unsettling to the teachers, and the group that spoke to me said it made them feel belittled, excluded and intimidated.

A parent that I spoke to reported similar feelings. She told me she would shake when she went to pick up her child's report card, because she would see it passed among them, then handed to her, and they would burst out in laughter as she walked away.

One person told me that Mary Davis referred to a student as "dumber than a box of rocks" in front of staff.

Another teacher once said she had to unwillingly and uncomfortably sit in on a conversation where the Fab 5 discussed how awful it would be to have sex with some of the male teachers.

Many of the teachers I spoke with would describe incidents where Davis would scream at students. According to them, she was very short-tempered and would get within inches of a students face and scream so hard "she would spit". "You could see the veins pop out on her neck!" A parent that I spoke with witnessed one such incident with her child unbeknownst to Davis at the time. She described the situation as "horrifying". That same parent reported however, that under Julie's leadership, her child has had their "best year ever".

The teachers that spoke to me felt that if they exhibited independence and an unwillingness to bow to Davis, they were shunned and ignored. If they directly challenged her they would get the worst scheduling, the most difficult students, a cubby hole instead of an office - and worse, be the subject of ridicule and gossip at the hands of the Fab 5.

One teacher said she felt so stripped of her self esteem that "When Davis would leave the building, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders".

I asked the group if this affected their ability to teach. The group was quiet for a moment and lowered their gaze. It was a reflective sad moment. Then quietly someone offered "We had to continually tell ourselves that we were OK - that we were worthwhile. So much effort was put into tearing us down, we had to constantly try to build ourselves up." Emotionally, it was very challenging and demoralizing for them. The commonality of this group however, was that they had families, enriching personal lives and a relationship with God. This is how they coped.

As I looked at them, I was struck by how much they DID not fit the profile of an "outcast". They were all very well dressed, attractive, intelligent and well spoken. Truth be told, I felt a little dowdy in their company. It was obvious from the sincerity with which they spoke that they were truly devoted to their students and in their job for the "right" reasons. Could those be the very reasons they were ostracized? This writer thinks so.

This group feels that the only people that have been heard is the Fab 5 and a few easily influenced "fence sitters". Davis obviously has cultivated herself some power in Central Admin and the "how" and "why" is a burning question on more than one mind.

Appalled yet somewhat amazed at what I was hearing I asked a few probing questions. First, did any of these teachers field complaints from parents regarding McArdle? They all shook their heads. "No." However, they do think that some of the parents who had benefited from Davis' willingness to disregard rules and laws may have objected to McArdle putting a stop to it.

So how have things changed at LMS under the McArdle principal-ship? The teachers that I talked to feel very supported by her. "I saw support for my program that I have never seen before." "She sits in on every Special Ed IEP meeting", one teacher said. "We started feeling like we could be part of the leadership team." Other comments: "Julie gave us hope and courage." "My kids have really progressed this year." "Julie often comes in and sits in our classes. It makes the kids feel so proud!" "If there is a problem she talks it through with us." "Her knowledge of curriculum is amazing." "She never belittles or berates us - she is firm, but fair." "Never once have I ever seen her raise her voice to a student."

I wondered however, if the sentiments expressed were unique to the teachers before me - and I inquired as such. One teacher said that she had begun asking around, to gain some perspective other than her own. She said that she has heard from Speech, Occupational, Physical therapists, cafeteria, custodial, Social Workers, nurses, aides and support staff. They all had little to no complaints about McArdles knowlege or performance. She feels strongly that the tide against McArdle was orchestrated and embellished by the Fab 5 and the fence sitters eager to please, along with the assistance of Mary Davis.

Many feel that these individuals exploited long-lasting personal relationships they enjoyed with staff members and parents to pursue their own agenda against McArdle.

So why have these teachers come forward now? For one, they are extremely concerned that the new principal will be another Davis minion hand-picked by Mary Davis herself. One that will maintain or intensify the incredibly demoralizing and disfunctional status-quo. Secondly, their sense of honor and integrity compels them to take a stand against a situation that they know is fundamentally wrong and unfair. "If it could happen to Julie, it could happen to any of us", they said.

"Why did you not complain sooner?", I asked. They responded that they were very proud of their school and the reputation it enjoyed as District 150's finest. They did not want to air their "dirty laundrty" in public and felt they would tolerate it as best as they could for the sake of the community and their students. They also said that sometimes when you are in a disfunctional environment, you lose perspective and it becomes the new norm. At this point however, it has become just too weird to overlook, and they feel the time is appropriate to lay the cards on the table.

Work has not been easy for Julie since her contract termination. Many students thought that it was in fact her who was the subject of allegations of misuse of funds. Some students picked up on the cue's of the teachers and parents against McArdle and felt that it was OK to mirror that behavior and show disrespect.

The Fab 5 continues to challenge McArdle's authority. The students insult her audibly. I was told of a situation that occurred recently, after her termination. During a mandatory "Code Red" Safety drill, one of the Fab 5 refused to participate. That teacher is still working, under the assumed protection of Mary Davis.

A bright spot in all of this has been Asst. Superintendent Herschel Hannah, who has replaced Mary Davis as McArdle's Supervisor. Hannah has been very kind and supportive to Julie and has helped smooth over some of the difficulties and discomfort of the circumstances. Many feel that had she reported to Hannah from the beginning, much of this could have been averted.

The reader may wonder what this all has to do with the bigger picture that is D150. How can a situation like this be allowed to fester and thrive? In any properly functioning working environment nonsense of this nature would be nipped in the bud. To me, it is a perfect microcosm of all the problems we see in District 150. We have finally seen the demise of normalcy and common sense.

So many questions remain. Why would Superintendent Hinton NOT have intervened prior to the Mcardle firing? Why wouldn't they have replaced Davis as McArdle's supervisor at the first sign of trouble? Why did not a single Board of Education member do their due diligence and investigate the other side of the story (there always is one, isn't there?) prior to their vote to terminate the McArdle contract- particularly when they were warned that a major whistle blowing lawsuit was in the works? How could the District 150 legal council NOT have anticipated this? Or did they and were ignored? Did anyone in D150 leadership ever consider the legal costs to the district at a time that we are virtually bankrupt? Why is Mary Davis not on administrative leave following such serious and well documented allegations? McArdle's lawyer must be dancing a jig at the end of every single day she remains at her desk.

Julie McArdle recalled one moment when she asked Human Resources director Tom Broderick why she was being fired. Broderick's response: "Your just not a good fit."
Damn. I'll say!

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your insight. This is journalism at its best! God bless.

Anonymous said...

Just a comment about how difficult it's been for Julie at work: Julie has shown up for work EVERY DAY since her "termination." I wonder if any of the so-called "fab 5" ("FIB 5 is more like it) would have the integrity* and courage to show up for work EVERY DAY knowing you'd have to work with people with such an obvious lack of maturity and professionalism. I wouldn't want to be them looking for a job when this fiasco is over--and, make no mistake, they WILL be looking for a job soon. Maybe Mother Mary Davis can help them get work somewhere? Maybe tutoring at her Big Girl Jail??????? Maybe Julie can write their referrals....:)

* Integrity--1.)n.doing the right thing, EVEN WHEN NO ONE IS LOOKING. 2.)prop.n. Julie McArdle

Middle Aged Woman Blogging said...

How did I miss this! You posted this on a holiday weekend and it snuck past me! King Hinton believes he is untouchable and SHAME on every board member that voted to release Julie McArdle. Hinton is incompetent as are his underlings, and apparently so is the BOE. Kudos to you for this enlightening post. More fear and intimidation and yes, it starts right at the top. People fear for their jobs and Broderick is Hinton's henchman. I pray all the information you brought out in your post is also presented to McArdle's attorney and whoever else is researching "where did the money go?" The fact that Mary Davis was Julie's supervisor is insane. The fact that Mary Davis still has a job and is not on leave is insane.

I would like to know how certain parents knew about the meeting when the district website was down? How convenient was that?

And now, this librarian thing? And still all the admin and consultants keep their jobs.... Something is wrong in Denmark! I have lost all faith in the BOE as well.

Anonymous said...

Diane
You have done a great job. I am glad to hear that Herschel Hannah has stepped up to the plate. I think he is the only one I trust at the Admin building. Curious to know how these teachers felt about the principal who left Lindbergh when Mary Davis became principal. Once again I thought your question about how Mary Davis made it to Admin so quickly is imperative to get an answer to. Maybe someone can shed some light on it. Let's keep Hinton's feet to the fire.

Diane Vespa said...

We don't need to keep Hinton's feet to the fire. He is doing that fine all by himself.

C. J. Summers said...

At some point, these faculty and staff members are going to have to reveal themselves. There are some pretty serious charges in your post; how can they be investigated if the accusers are anonymous?

Also, Diane, you ask, "Why did not a single Board of Education member do their due diligence and investigate the other side of the story (there always is one, isn't there?)...?" But isn't your post guilty of the same thing (i.e., only considering one side)?

Diane Vespa said...

Well now, CJ, the other side had their say. They fired her didn't they? Further, I did talk to other people, but am not authorized to discuss their comments.

As far as who the teachers are that spoke on Julie's behalf, the district had every opportunity to hear their side and wasn't interested. Did you read the whole article? I know it was long.

It is all now in the hands of the court, compliments of your tax dollars, Mr. CFRS ;)

Diane Vespa said...

Also, if there is any doubt, call Davis and ask her if these claims are true. If she says they are not, she would be in essence calling a large number of teachers liars.

C. J. Summers said...

Yes, I took a half hour out of my day and read the whole post. ;-)

I don't think the other side had their say about all the allegations in your post.

Diane Vespa said...

Point taken, CJ. They can call me. I'll be happy to state their side. I won't wait by the phone though.

I wouldn't have printed any of this if there was not an overwhelming amount of agreement on all points from multiple sources.

But thanks for your comments.

teachingrocks said...

Thank you for taking time to research and post this information. I know I feel as confused as most as to why Mary Davis is continuing to work as PSD150 librarians are heading to unemployment and schools are closing.

kpower said...

I guess I am trying to figure out who the other side is. One missing part is that if moral is down at Lindbergh, which we know it has to be....I admire those teachers who are trying to stay above the issues for the sake of the kids.

When do we expect the next move from the legal standpoint. Is Walvoord still on the case for the district. Are negotiations going on?

BTW...I have heard nothing but good things from outside 150 about Julie McArdle.

kcdad said...

Diane, publish the names of the Fab 5. You don't owe them anything. The students and parents have the right to see them exposed.

They can't retaliate against you. Bullies only have power when they can bully in secret.

Middle Aged Woman Blogging said...

CJ, it seems to me they had an opportunity to hear both sides, but the way that meeting went down I'm not sure they wanted to hear both sides. Hinton is obviously on the side of Mary Davis and he got what he wanted and that is Julie McArdle gone.

There are always people that come out "after the fact" with more of the story. I have a friend who has two children in this school and she said this principal rocked. From reading about how things went down at Lindbergh with counseling, moneys spent, not recorded properly... I can't help but smell a rat.

Diane Vespa said...

CJ - This was very painful story to write, but it was even more painful for the teachers that came forward. They are very brave, but we all felt this story needed to be told. The General Public needs to know what is going down in their school district - especially when we are in the dire straits that we find ourselves in.

Anonymous said...

Great Read. Im a LMS parent and its all true

Chase Ingersoll said...

Diane:

Can anyone tell me where the paid.....errrr.....professional journalists were on this?

Rick Baker would be proud of you and he would be skewering the members of his own profession.

Ticked Taxpayer said...

Can you submit this to the journal star? Maybe as a guest editorial. You are right in that the public - TAXPAYERS need to know about this. I am afraid that this LMS situation is only scratching the surface of the depth of corruption in 150. The public needs to take a stand. A royal cleansing needs to take place at the district 150 administration offices and on the BOE.

Agree or Disagree?

Anonymous said...

I felt sorry for all of you that feel rejected from the Fab 5. I wonder why would you care? You don't bring these people home and no matter what you do, those type of people will always try to find wrong. Instead of being scared everytime you see them, you should hold your head high knowing that you will never be like these people. But i have a feeling all of you feel this way are secretly like them and can't take it that instead of you looking down on other people, people are actually looking down on you. Cause why would you care! Isn't lindbergh only four grades, really there are more important things going on instead of feeling rejected by a bunch of fools! love and peace and so glad my children don't have to go to district 150!!!

Iteach2 said...

I am happy to see Mary Davis finally caught in the act. When I taught with her years ago, it was obvious she had her "crew" which she now has at Lindbergh. I applaud the staff and parents who showed us the "other side" of the story. It's sad that the Fab 5 are so disrespectful to others. Last I knew, teachers' main priority were the students; I wasn't aware that it became a popularity contest!! Thank you for shedding light on this situation. Good luck, Mrs. McArdle!!!!!

In the know said...

I heard she had the janitor do a lot of personal stuff at her house too on district time. Did anyone talk to you about that?

Beth said...

There are many of us that are passionate about the school closings and misappropriation of funds BUT there are many in the community that just don't get how this will affect them. One of those groups is the West Bluff Council. After many months of trying to get them to understand how detrimental these closings and the budget woes (tax/bond issues, i.e.) are important enough to be vocal I have been allowed to make a presentation about the budget proposals, current cuts, proposed cuts and how it affects homeowners.

The meeting is open to the public and starts at 7 in the basement of student center of BU. I would really like some, if not all, of you to be there, as you have different expertise than I do on this subject. Please come help me get them involved in the mess we call our public school system.

HipKat said...

Excellent blog, Diane, and just fortifies my fear of sending my kids to school here.
Why do the schools in this town have to be surrounded by this type of non-sense.
Sounds like McCardle was a good choice for Principle, but was set up to fail from the beginning.

If Peoria is serious about opening a Charter School, I hope it happens immediately so I can send my oldest daughter there next year when she becomes school age.

Diane Vespa said...

I would rather not name the Fab 5. It wouldn't further the moral of the story.

Ticked Taxpayer I agree with everything you say.

Chase - I can see why the MSM wouldn't cover this as there is a lot of "opinion". Thanks for the compliments though! They are always welcome ;)

In the know - yes I heard that too but not from these teachers and I haven't confirmed it with anyone.

BMcDaniel - You were awesome tonight at the West Bluff council meeting. Way to go!!! Feel free to write a guest blog post and I'll publish it here! ;)

Anonymous said...

Hip- if it is still around I highly recommend Northmoor Edison for your eldest. All the teachers are awesome, the principal is very involved. Im sad my eldest will be leaving this year.

Sharon Crews said...

I do agree with C.J. that there is a another side to be told and, as I've said before, there is always a third side--the truth. However, I would imagine the other side would be hard to come by right now--the district needs to save all those arguments for court. My own personal opinion from all that I've heard is that the truth tips in Julie's favor, but where personalities, etc., are concerned there is no clear-cut right and wrong. However, the most important part of this story is about right and wrong, plain and simple all of which can be proven one way or the other. Either Davis mishandled money or she didn't, either she allowed (actually instigated the plan) students to use the addresses of others to attend their school of choice or she didn't, etc. If these charges stick, then Julie undoubtedly should win with her contention that she was fired because she was a whistleblower.
Chase, I truly agree with you. The PJS drives me crazy because of all the missed opportunities for investigative journalism where District 150 is concerned. The FOIA allows them so many opportunities that weren't available twenty years ago. The public does really deserve better--so I am truly glad for the blogs.

Keith said...

From the Illinois Principal Association Code of Ethics:

Each member of IPA shall:

Make the well-being of students the basis for all decision making.
Honor the public trust above any personal gain.
Fulfill professional responsibilities with honesty and integrity.
Avoid preferential treatment and conflicts of interest.
Enforce and obey all local, state and national rules and laws in the performance of duties.
Respect and safeguard confidential information.
Not allow professional decisions to be influenced by personal gain, favors or gratuities.
Demonstrate values, beliefs and attitudes that inspire others to higher levels of achievement.
Honor all contracts, agreements and commitments.
Assume responsibility for individual actions.
Treat all people fairly and equitably and with dignity and respect.
Maintain personal and professional standards that enhance the image of the school and the profession.

Anonymous said...

Illinois Principal's Association! Hmmm. Didn't Dr. Integrity herself pay her 2008-2009 dues to the IPA with Lindbergh activity fund money (one of the exhibits)on June 30th?

Anonymous said...

Go Fab 5!!! I'll back ya!!!

Diane Vespa said...

Memo to "Anonymous". I rejected your recently submitted comment due to "terms of service" violations.

kcdad said...

Diane, what moral is there to be learned? That there are some anonymous people out there out for their own interests? We all know that. What we need is to root them out of the system.
I am sick and tired of people in positions of trust and authority that hide behind this anonymity... turn on the lights and watch the rats and cockroaches scurry! Why do you think there are so many anonymous bloggers? We are afraid of those in authority that can act with immunity because of their anonymous "friends".

Karen said...

kcdad: I am Julie's sister AND a district 150 teacher. I refuse to hide behind "anonymous" because the evidence Julie uncovered is so overwhelmingly damning to Mary Davis and this district. I wholeheartedly support my sister. Remember, she was hired to do a job. She did that job extremely well (as evidenced by many of her teachers and staff). Many things she discovered did not add up. She went to her supervisor-Mary Davis and was told "don't worry" I'll take care of it. She tried MANY times to talk with Ken Hinton, but he was too busy to be bothered or his secretary handed everything to Mary Davis(lol). Now, my sister has lost her job. WHY? Is the gossip mill(lies) created by this pocket of Lindbergh parents/staff(a very small group) such, that it can destroy Julie's career? If parents have this much control over their child's principal then God help ALL principals in District 150 that do not cater to these parents! I expect that within the next couple of weeks the TRUTH will be seen by all.

quilter1 said...

I know at least 2 of the "fab 5", they are wonderful people and great teachers. Why is everyone taking Ms. McCardle's side...there are three sides to every story...McCardles, Davis', and the truth. Stop being so one sided people.

Positive Polly said...

Hmmmm - I like the 3 sides comment. So true. No one is perfect and I think that if you asked people from any profession there are times where the ethical line becomes blurred. But this group that likes to throw stones, I'm sure never does that. Who should be surprised that an activity fund purchased lunch for staff? That's not unethical. And believe me - if Davis let staff leave early on institute days - that is no different than what goes on in other schools OR districts. I went to the county institute one year and maybe 10% of the attendees were still there at the end of the day. Teachers NEVER get to take off and leave early like those in the business world. Give them a break for the hard work they do every day. And from the information I've heard, McCardle's last district was happy to get rid of her and I've heard her sister is a trouble maker too. Again though, only one side of the story.

Diane Vespa said...

Polly, If you consider that comment "positive" I'd sure hate to see your negative spin on it.

Sunnedelight said...

Hi Diane,

I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your post. Not only is it wonderfully written, but it brings to light a very disappointing problem. As I mentioned in our conversation yesterday, how can we expect our students to be free from bullying when they are being given a horrible example from the staff at school. They learn what they live. If there is anything I can do to help with this situation let me know!

Anonymous said...

Positive polly - No blurred ethics line here. Falsifying student records goes beyond unethical.

Do you really think that paying for catered lunches for teachers and staff is an acceptable use of student activity funds? Would parents and students donate their services and cash to these funds if they knew that was where the money was going? Maybe yes. More likely no. Where exactly does the "student" fit in there? And unfortunately that was only a small part of the activity fund irregularities.

Re: turning in a plan to the Administration for teacher institute days and then ditching that plan and then sending the teachers home is dishonest and maybe illegal. The teachers get sick days, weekends, holidays and even summers off. If time is set aside from the school day for teacher development then it should be used for teacher development. "Everyone else is doing it" is not a valid justification. If that is true and they are all lying to their administration then the public has the right to know.

Anonymous said...

There is a reason for keeping personnel issues private in every job setting. That would be the "3 sides" point brought up earlier.

It is a shame that there was a facility full of individuals unhappy with any situation who also felt unable to express their concerns. I have to wonder why they haven't opted to speak to the litigators involved in this situation.

With regards to "teacher luncheons" and the student activity fund...every building administrator should have access to "petty cash". It's the same with any other business...you buy donuts, order in subs, swing for a few pizzas. It might actually be much less nefarious than everyone would like to think.

I've never met an educator who stays in the profession (as an classroom educator or administrator) in the hopes of screwing taxpayers out of money or providing sub-par education to students.

Again, there is a reason for letting these issues play themselves out.

Anonymous said...

Let’s take this story back about 13 months, Mary Davis CHOSE to take a new position and leave Lindbergh. This means the new principal should have been given the chance to lead the school but that never happened. Why??? This writer can only speculate…
It is true Mary Davis had favorites and there was an “in group” who tended to make most decisions at Lindbergh. There were teachers and parents who were given power over other parents and teachers and the students also figured this out. There was tremendous emphasis placed on the ISAT tests and improving ISAT scores. This being said many other educational areas suffered at the expense of these scores. This is not to stay that Mary never supported other teachers or other subjects, but in general these took a back seat. Each year brought more success to this group and left the others more left out. After five years of power this group did not want Mary to leave and was not ready to relinquish power to an outside person. This brings us to Julie McArdle. In walks an energetic and intelligent lady who is too na├»ve to the ways of District 150. She creates a schedule that includes fine arts, listens to special education concerns, and develops a new system in the lunch room which helped the lunch ladies. Immediately parents and staff are contacting Mary Davis. This group of staff and parents never cut Julie a break and made life difficult for her at every turn. Julie was given little or no assistance from Wisconsin Ave as she was trying to “find her way” in a new building and a new district. Many important pieces of information on how to begin the school year were missing and Julie began to ask questions of the people on Wisconsin Ave. This writer believes that these changes and these questions back in September were the beginning of Julie’s demise. As I read the claims filed by McArdle’s attorney this all begins to make sense. Julie questioned “things” in the beginning and was set up to fail. Was this personal? Or would they have lynched anyone who asked questions? The administration was correct in telling Julie McArdle she was “not a good fit”. They just forgot to add … because you have too much character and integrity for our district. So as Julie McArdle leaves Lindbergh for the last time this week, what lies ahead for the teachers/students at Lindbergh? Who wants to lead this mess? Will Mary Davis and her group be back in control? (Remember she CHOSE to leave) Will they bring in another person from outside the district???? so many unanswered questions…….. They have all summer to sweep it under the rug and make some secret decisions. Oh wait!!!! I am sure they have a PLAN.

kcdad said...

"I've never met an educator who stays in the profession (as an classroom educator or administrator) in the hopes of screwing taxpayers out of money or providing sub-par education to students."

How long have you been in education?

I can walk down my hallway and find 3 as I pass 5 doorways.

Diane Vespa said...

Quilter you would have to provide proof and/or your identity for me to publish your prior comment. Or, start your own blog and say what you want. It's free and easy. Just go to blogger.com

Anonymous said...

quilter1, This should have never been about sides. Julie McArdle should have been judged on her skills and abilities as a principal. It is the Mary Davis crew who insisted on creating the competition thus the comparisons. Regardless of what Mary Davis did or did not do, Julie McArdle was never given a fair opportunity to lead Lindbergh Middle School. Nobody ever got to see what Julie McArdle is capable of. What a loss for the Lindbergh community.

Anonymous said...

Reading this has been very interesting. Retired from another district, I know the pressure that ISAT brings. Just wondered how D150 decided to hire Mrs.McArdle. Looked at the test scores at her former schools. All in the 90% range and better than the district and state average. Just wondering exactly what a person who obviously demonstrated skill in leading could do in less than 9 months to be determined not a good fit. For that matter, who interviewed her that they didn't figure that out in the interview? This is hard to understand.
Living in Peoria and paying taxes, I have an interest. I would guess that this principal will struggle to get another job because of all of this. Not sure whether to feel that she deserves that or not b/c I don't understand what she did. But since I pay taxes in this district, I certainly hope that whoever is responsible for creating this "poor fit" is held accountable. I'm not sure about this new charter but I certainly hope that current administrators don't have the chance to screw it up if it does come to fruition.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. McArdle was interviewed by Mary Davis and a few Lindbergh teachers along with others.

Anonymous said...

Positive Polly:
Re: that's troublemaker, a compound word.....

Anonymous said...

Julie McArdle left Lindbergh Middle School at 2 p.m. today with her head held high and her integrity in check. We shall all miss her spirit and academic professionalism. She is a TRUE instructional leader. Best wishes Julie. (see you soon!)