Putting their hearts into it

Putting their hearts into it

  The Worthwoods School Student Council raised $4,429 for the American Heart Association during a fundraiser held on Valentine’s Day. Students participated in the Jump Rope for Heart in the school gym. Seen here are Dominic Lugo (from left), Natalia Harb, Brandy Hobbs and Diana Vargas.

Submitted Photo

District 123 teachers get four-year deal

Raises will be between 7 percent and 10 percent over lfe of contract

By Laura Bollin

The Oak Lawn-Hometown District 123 board of education and the Oak Lawn-Hometown Federation of Teachers Local 943 have agreed to a four-year collective bargaining agreement that will grant certified employees minimum raises of 7 percent over the length of the deal.

The agreement includes the district’s 350 certified teachers and non-certified staff members such as teacher aides, secretaries, custodians and maintenance personnel. The deal was ratified March 19 and will be effective from July 1 through June 30, 2017 for non-certified employees and Aug. 16 to Aug. 15, 2017 for certified employees.

District 123 business manager Mike Loftin said salaries for the 2013-14 year represent 80 percent of the district’s budget; the district will pay $15.3 million in salaries and benefits next year. The approved 1 percent salary increase for teachers next school year will cost the district $151,000. For the remaining three years of the contract, teachers will get salary increases based on the CPI, with a floor of 2 percent and a ceiling of 3 percent. The average teacher salary in District 123 is $56,200 this year.

Non-certified staff members’ raises will also be based on the CPI, with a floor of 2 percent and a ceiling of 3 percent, and an additional 1 percent increase over the certified increase.

Staff members can earn a higher salary if they earn additional graduate education credit hours. The district this year employs 48 teachers who earned 15 or more graduate credit hours, for an average additional salary increase of $2,500.

Board president Joseph Sorrentino said contract negotiations went well and that an agreement was reached after seven meetings. The new contract will help the district stay fiscally responsible, he said.

“We needed to stay within the confines of our finances,” Sorrentino said. “We told the union we were not going to balance the budget off the backs of this contract, but we needed to make some significant changes from previous increases. We wanted to be more aligned with the consumer price index, rather than an arbitrary increase, which we have done in previous years.”

Oak Lawn-Hometown Federation of Teachers Local 943 council president Elaine Barlos agreed that everything was done amicably and in a financially responsible way.

“Our district was deficit-spending,” Barlos said. “They were still spending even though they did not have a balanced budget. They did not want to severely chop any programs or do layoffs. They came to a reasonable budget plan which worked well, because there were no big layoffs. We wanted to keep our jobs.”


Oak Lawn-Hometown down to two in search for new supt.

By Laura Bollin

The Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123 board of education has whittled its list of potential superintendents down to two, and is expected to announce the district’s new boss early next month.

The next superintendent will replace Art Fessler, who will resign effective July 1 to take the same job in Community Consolidated School District 59 in Arlington Heights. Fessler has been with District 123since July 1, 2010.

The search firm chosen by the district, BWP & Associates, Ltd – the same search firm the district used to find Fessler – has interviewed administrators, parents, and staff to develop a profile of what the district wants in a superintendent. Sixty people applied for the position and the search firm narrowed the field to six candidates – three men and three women. The school board has interviewed those candidates, and one man and one woman are the finalists for the job.

District 123 school board President Joseph Sorrentino said both candidates live within 20 miles of Oak Lawn, however, refused to name them. A contract length has not been determined, but Sorrentino said he expects it to be a three-year deal.

“We want someone that can continue the good work we have done for the last three years,” Sorrentino said. “We want someone who will be active in our community. We want to continue our 21st century learning, which is teaching the kids how to be critical thinkers. And we want someone who has a good handle on making sure that we continue on the board’s goal to balance the budget by 2016.”

Bulletin Board

Evergreen Park Dist. 124
  School District 124 provides free vision, hearing, speech, language, basic concepts knowledge, and fine and gross motor skills screenings for children 3 to 5 years old who are not yet in kindergarten. Children eligible can qualify for special programs. For more information call Jean Hector at 423-0951, Ext. 2140.

Moraine Valley
  The Moraine Valley Community College Library will present an event related to the text, “Confederates in the Attic” by Tony Horwitz, in the Library lounge, Building L, on campus at 9000 W. College Pkwy. in Palos Hills.
  The History Department welcomes noted historian Dr. Theodore Karamanski of Loyola University Chicago for a discussion about the Civil War, “Illinois, Chicago and the Civil War” on Wednesday, April 24 from noon to 1 p.m.
  For more information visit

No. Palos Dist. 117
  District 117 is holding registration for the 2013-14 pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs continuing through August. Parents of pre-kindergarten students can pick up information packets at Sorrick School, 7825 W. 103rd St. in Palos Hills, and Dorn School, 7840 W. 92nd St. in Hickory Hills. Parents of kindergarten students are asked to pick up information packets at the Dr. Ken Geraghty Administrative Center adjacent to Sorrick School. Identification is required.
  For more information on pre-kindergarten registration call Sorrick School at 233-8200 or Dorn at 233-5600. For more information on kindergarten registration call Diane Hasler at 233-5758. Visit for registration forms and other information.

Saint Xavier
  Saint Xavier University, 3700 W. 103rd St. in Chicago, will present Tina Bryson, parenting educator and co-author of the best-selling book “The Whole-Brain Child,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 10. The event, free and open to the public, will be in the Butler Reception Room in the Warde Academic Center.
  Bryson will discuss strategies for raising happy, resilient, emotionally intelligent children. Find out how children’s brains actually work and how to give them the tools to help with self-understanding that can lead to good choices, resilience and happiness.
  Registration is required through the Beverly Yoga Center’s website, The Yoga Center, 1917 W. 103rd St., will host discussions of “The Whole-Brain Child” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 28 and 8 p.m. Friday, April 5. Email beverlyyo This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register.
  Saint Xavier will present “Poetry and Politics: A Reading by Illinois Poet Laureate Kevin Stein” in honor of National Poetry Month at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 9. The event, free and open to the public, is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the Butler Reception Room on SXU’s Chicago campus, 3700 W. 103rd St.
  Stein primarily will read from “Wrestling Li Po for the Remote,” his recently released collection of poems. This collection and others by Stein will be available for purchase and autographing after his presentation.
  Appointed Illinois Poet Laureate in 2003, Stein regards the responsibility to be the state’s “ambassador of the arts” as an opportunity to bring poetry into the lives of everyday people and to draw them into the delight and sheer fun of words that resonate with beauty and insight.
  WSCR 670 “The Score” program director Mitch Rosen will be the guest speaker at the 2013 Breakfast with the Experts series on Tuesday, April 23 at the Chicago campus, 3700 W. 103rd St.” Chicago Sports Radio 2013” will examine how content interaction with sports fans has changed the way they follow Chicago teams. The event, jointly sponsored by SXU and the Beverly Area Planning Association, begins at 7:30 a.m. with breakfast and networking followed by the keynote address. It will be held in the Butler Reception Room, in the Warde Academic Center. Registration is $10 for the general public, free for BAPA members. Reservations are required. For more information or to register call (773) 233-3100 or visit

St. Laurence High
  St. Laurence High School and the Office of Alumni Relations will host its annual solemn mass of remembrance, honoring deceased alumni of the school, on Saturday, April 13 at 4:30 p.m. in the school’s library. Father Norm Trela from St. Symphorosa Parish, and the school’s chaplain, will celebrate the Mass of the Resurrection. A wreath-laying ceremony will take place at the outdoor memorial, weather permitting. Following the liturgy, snacks and refreshments will be served.
  Family, friends, and relatives of deceased alumni of St. Laurence are welcome to attend. Reservations can be made by contacting Ed Kozak at 458-6900.
  St. Laurence High School will hold the 13th annual Final Four Extravaganza featuring action and entertainment from 4 p.m. to midnight Saturday, April 6. There will be a Super Raffle with cash prizes including a $5,000 grand prize to one winner. Tickets are $60 each and include food and drink. Must be 21 years or older to be admitted.

  The evening will offer Las Vegas-style gaming amidst the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Proceeds will directly benefit St. Laurence students. The event is sponsored by the St. Laurence High School Alumni Association in cooperation with the Fathers’ Club, Mothers’ Club and Laurenta Club. For tickets or more information call Adam at 458-6900, Ext. 237, or Anne Tucker at Ext. 262, or visit

Way to bee

Way to bee

  Worth Elementary School held its annual spelling bee March 20. The competition was won by fifth-grader Makia Sheikh (left) and the runner-up was Jessica Crowe (right). Makia will participate in the Worth Township Town Hall Spelling Bee for local elementary students on April 12. The students are seen here with Worth Elementary Principal, Lisa Lyke.

Submitted Photo