Home Delivery

News, features, sports, opinion and more!

Email Newsletters

Sign up for MyWebTimes email newsletters and stay in the know.
Local

Ex-schools chief works in lower income suburb

Streator Elementary Schools Superintendent Matt Wilkinson high-fives students in this 2014 photo. He left the district Feb. 9.
Streator Elementary Schools Superintendent Matt Wilkinson high-fives students in this 2014 photo. He left the district Feb. 9.

Former Streator Elementary School District Superintendent Matt Wilkinson is now the business manager for a suburban Chicago school district that is among the poorest in the state.

He started working at the job at Harvey Public Schools shortly after the Streator district hired a new superintendent, Lisa Parker, in late January. She was to begin in July, but her hire date was moved up after Wilkinson resigned early.

In early October, the school board entered a separation agreement with Wilkinson. He agreed to resign by the end of the fiscal year, which is June 30, the day called for under his five-year contract.

A little more than a month after the deal was struck, the Harvey school board voted unanimously for Wilkinson as the new business manager, a decision that was not publicly known in Streator. According to the Harvey board's meeting minutes, he was to start his new job in February.

Under his Streator separation agreement, Wilkinson, who was with the district for nine years, was leaving on his own accord, with his resignation letter as proof. Yet the agreement stated the school board would not contest any claims he may make for unemployment compensation.

The agreement also included a non-disparagement clause, barring either side from speaking ill of the other.

Wilkinson's last day with the Streator district was Feb. 9. The news wasn't released to the public until three days later. School officials at the time said he went to another district, but didn't say which one.

During his time as superintendent, the district faced budget problems, with a minimal tax base and declining state aid. Two years ago, The Times found the district had the lowest property wealth per student of 34 area districts.

At Streator Elementary, 75 percent of the students come from low-income families, according to state data. At Harvey, virtually all students fall into that category.

Wilkinson couldn't be reached for comment.

Loading more