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Leave For Prairie Crossing Principal Extended Through Friday

A nearly five-hour closed session meeting at Prairie Crossing Charter School ends in a postponed decision on the fate of the school's principal Brian Greene.

It was a long night for parents, teachers and school board members at . A decision about the fate of Principal Brian Greene was put on hold after a special board meeting Tuesday night extended into Wednesday morning.

After nearly five hours of closed session discussion, a final decision was not reached regarding Greene's future. Board President Steve Achtemeier called for a vote to extend Greene's paid leave of absence for one more week, ending this Friday at 7 p.m. The board unanimously approved that decision.

Greene said he believed that everything could still work out.

"I am still hopeful that on Friday this goes the way that is the best for the school," Greene said. He said he was especially grateful for the support of teachers and parents, many who remained until the meeting ended around 1 a.m.

That support meant the world to Greene.

"I don't know what more a principal could want from his parents and his staff but this support," he said. "I think we're all focused on the kids and want the best for the school."

Questions and Support

The principal of the environmentally-focused charter school in Grayslake had been placed on administrative leave Nov 29. During a PCCS board meeting Dec. 6, school board members opted to extend Greene's paid leave for one more week. Neither board members nor Greene would give specifics about the reasons for the leave. The lack of any explanation bothered many of the parents at the PCCS school board meeting.

"As long as there is nothing criminal or illegal going on, I want Brian to keep his job," said PCCS parent Sonya Wolk Hobbs. She circulated a petition to officially reinstate Brian Greene as principal and had collected 86 people early in the evening.

"I think Brian is an incredibly good principal," Hobbs said. She added that the lack of information about Greene's forced leave in the middle of the school year made "the teachers feel like they are unsupported and the parents feel like they are unsupported."

Anita Thomas, a professor at Loyola, has twins in first grade at PCCS "I'm mad," she said in the first hours of the closed session. "Brian is very visible in the school and very supportive. To give him some type of remediation plan seems preferable to a sudden administrative leave in the middle of the school year."

Most of the comments from parents and teachers were in support of Greene. Some people asked the teachers who supported Greene to stand up, several did; others asked the parents who supported Greene to stand up, a majority of the room did.

Achtemeier only read a statement at the start of the meeting that said the board was bound by employment law to keep certain things confidential. "That protects both the school and the principal," Achtemeier said.

Former PCCS board member Laura Fay cited a common concern about attorney fees being spent in the process. "All these attorney costs come right out of the classrooms," said Fay. "This situation detracts from the focus of educating the students at a time when we really can't afford it. We have valuable employees here. The teachers need stability and support."

Background Information

Greene joined PCCS in July of 2008. According to the PCCS website, he previously had taught in both public schools and worked in the administration offices of charter schools in Chicago.

Parents said they wanted answers. They had learned of Greene being put on leave through a letter from PCCS Executive Director Nigel Whittington. He stated that no details about reasons why the leave was necessary could be made public due to "personnel issues, labor laws and to protect Brian’s privacy.”

While no firm answers were received early Wednesday morning, parents and Greene seemed grateful for a few more days.

Lynn December 14, 2011 at 02:52 PM
personally I think it is inappropriate of Mr. Greene to send text messages to teachers after hours telling them that "he hopes they are at this board meeting because he really needs their support" when it is clear that he knew they were not there. Then to send follow up texts to those teachers threatening them that they will lose their job if he is fired because the school board won't keep them if he goes, etc. It might seem that he has the support of the teachers but the reality is the teachers have no idea why he is on administrative leave and he is scaring them into fighting for him. So inappropriate.
Tadashi December 14, 2011 at 09:03 PM
Lynn: ...and it's not inappropriate to air 'dirty laundry' like this with no proof, no mention in the article, or otherwise? At this point evrything outside of those closed doors is speculation and rumor. Until things become more clear conjecture is a losing sport and pointing fingers only makes the accuser look bad.
mjschumaker1 December 17, 2011 at 03:26 AM
If the taxpayers pay Mr. Greene's salary, why aren't they entitled to know why he was placed on leave? If I am placed on administrative leave from my private employer, I can understand there is no need to know why for an outsider. But isn't the school district a public employer? Why doesn't the public have a right to know? They take my taxes to pay Mr. Greene but keep everything about this issue a big secret. They may or may not be following the letter of the law, but there has been no openess or transparency on this issue, and, unfortunately, it only leaves everyone to speculate the worst.
Terri December 18, 2011 at 01:47 PM
The taxpayer does not pay Mr. Greene's salary. The taxpayer elects people to allocate the money he/she pays in taxes and the taxing body pay's Mr. Greene's salary. The taxing body has the information about Mr. Greene's leave which is confidential on so many levels it amazes me that this question keeps getting asked.
Sully December 19, 2011 at 12:19 PM
And your comments, Grayslake, continue to be meaningless insults with no purpose other than to show how "superior" you think you are.
Terri December 19, 2011 at 03:09 PM
Taxpayers pay taxes. Taxing bodies pay salaries. If you paid Mr. Greene's salary, you'd be a "Salary Payer" not a Taxpayer. If you buy a coffe at Starbucks's, are you paying the barista's salary? Based on your logic, yes. Do you have hire/fire power over that barista? At Starbucks, you are a consumer. If you don't like the way it's run, you go to Caribou because you can't fire the barista. Public or private, it all works the same. I am far from dumb, an insult which I resent and reject. You are clearly ignorant; not an insult...a description of your lack of knowledge on how a democracy works or your conscious effort to ignore that knowledge.
OrangeNinja14 December 19, 2011 at 07:49 PM
Terri, for someone who hates Democracy so much you sure think you know a lot about it. And Sully, you are the other continual idiot who posts here all day long, wo Terri is probably really your female alter ego. So many weirdos on this site, and you two are at the head of the class.
OrangeNinja14 December 19, 2011 at 07:54 PM
Go cry now Terri...not sure why you keep talking about Democracy, no one said anything about that. Just shows how paranoid you are of the "Tea Party Goblins" on this site that all want to destroy you lmfao! And Sully, you don't even live in Lake County yet you troll this board mercilessly pretending to know what's going on in these districts like you live here. What a wonderful time you must have each day acting like you are some expert on our local issues yet almost certainly never go to any of these board meetings around here.
Sully December 19, 2011 at 10:11 PM
Really O.N.? Maybe you don't know as much as you think you do. Naw, that couldn't possibly be.
Nightcrawler December 20, 2011 at 04:50 PM
What's "Imfao?"
Brad Faxton December 20, 2011 at 05:21 PM
(L)aughing (m)y (f)ilthy (a)rse (o)ff.... Many different versions of the nmnnmenonmic (yuck!) (including the potty mouth version of 'filthy' being replaced with something else. You can also write it ROTFLMAO (Rolling on the floor.....)
Brad Faxton December 20, 2011 at 05:23 PM
Why can't I be at the head of the class? Boo.
Sully December 20, 2011 at 09:26 PM
Sorry Brad. No dunce cap for you! You have to be special!
Terri December 22, 2011 at 06:32 PM
Looks like this man has a little more integrity than the posters here would give him credit for. He refused a severance package that would have "gagged" him so he can make sure the public gets the facts. No doubt a law suit will follow.

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