Bellwood District 88 Supt. Rosmary Hendricks | Chicago Tribune
Thursday, July 21, 2016 || Originally Published: Chicago Tribune || 7/19/16 || By Erin Gallagher
About 30 residents attended a Bellwood District 88 school board meeting Monday for a heated discussion about the district’s spending and leadership.
Board members and Superintendent Rosemary Hendricks listened for nearly an hour as about a dozen people spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting. The room was deeply divided with about half of the speakers supporting Hendricks while the others demanded answers about hiring her two daughters and district spending.
Many cited last week’s Chicago Tribune report that detailed perks for the superintendent, thousands of dollars in spending on trips to education conferences, and hiring practices. The district is deep in debt, and basic school supplies in some classrooms remain scarce.
Resident Della Hayes blamed the board for not knowing its role, accusing members of “combative behavior.”
She said the public is being “hoodwinked and bamboozled” by the Tribune report and “nobody’s talking about education.”
There were several jeers from the audience, including one attendee who shouted “clown show” while the board bickered during the meeting.
Drena LaNier, a former board member, said Hendricks “has done a fantastic job.”
She dismissed the district hiring Hendricks’ daughters.
“Everyone else does it,” LaNier said. “They’re qualified.”
Hendricks’ daughter Brittnay Atkinson was hired last year to fill a new student service coordinator job. At $70,000 a year, her salary was higher than those of 87 percent of teachers in the district. Atkinson has a bachelor’s degree in communications disorders from St. Xavier University and one year of experience as a teacher’s aide and special education assistant, her job application said.
Hendricks’ other daughter, Jocelyn Hendricks, who has an associate degree and is a licensed practical nurse according to her job application, was hired to fill a $78,500-a-year job as a district nurse.
The Tribune previously reported that the district in September paid about $105,000 to replenish a pension account for Hendricks’ that she had drained years ago.
To read more of the report, including Hendricks’s statement to the Tribune that she has “paid over $30,000,” click here.
On July 12, the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board chimed in on the Bellwood D88 situation. Click here to read it. VFP