By Bob Skolnik
On June 3, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Diane M. Shelly dismissed a lawsuit filed last year by Lyons-Brookfield School District 103 Assistant Superintendent Kyle Hastings alleging a breach of contract by former board president Marge Hubacek.
Hastings filed the lawsuit claimed Hubacek violated his contract by assigning him to work only 12 days during the 2018-19 school year. His contract, which was agreed to in Feb. 2016, stated that Hastings could work no more than 100 days a year. Hastings is paid $1,066 a day this year under his contract and the school district also provides him family health insurance at a cost to the district of nearly $24,000.
Hastings' lawsuit also claimed Hubacek and the school board interfered with his contract by hiring part-time interim superintendents Patrick Patt and Robert Madonia last summer.
But Shelley's nine-page written order rejected both of Hastings' claims.
Shelley ruled that Hastings' contract set only a maximum number of days he can work, not a minimum. The contract calls for the board president to set the number of days he will work.
The judge ruled that the school district could, through the board president, "unilaterally reduce plaintiff's paid days to less than 100 days at its discretion." Shelley also ruled that hiring Patt and Madonia had no effect on Hastings' contract.
Hubacek was happy to hear that the case was dismissed when she was told of the judge's ruling by a reporter.
"That's a relief," Hubacek said. "I knew we were right"
Hubacek said she worried that Hastings' political connections -- he is the longtime mayor of Orland Hills -- could have affected the case.
Hubacek lamented the money the district spent on lawyers representing the district in the lawsuit.
"What a waste of resources," Hubacek said.
District officials could not immediately say how much money the district spent on legal fees in connection with the lawsuit.
Hubacek said Hastings had only worked two days during the most recently completed school year up until the time that Patt and Madonia resigned in April. Hubacek said she has learned Hastings has come into the district to work some days since Patt and Madonia resigned. Hubacek said that she believed that Hastings was working on some sort of district newsletter.
"I don't know if he's completed his days or not; we haven't had a report or anything on it," said Hubacek, who remains a member of the school board. "I don't hear anything anymore."
A few months after becoming board president in 2017, Hubacek reduced Hastings' annual work days from 100 to 24 for the 2017-18 school year before further reducing his work days to 12 this fiscal year.
Hastings, a retired school administrator, was hired by District 103 in 2015 to serve as interim superintendent after candidates supported by Lyons Village President Christopher Getty won control of the school board.
After Carol Baker was hired as superintendent in 2016, Hastings became a part-time assistant superintendent, a new position in the district.
How many days Hastings will work in the 2019-20 school year has yet to be determined. That will be up to the new board president, Jorge Torres, who was part of the board majority that originally hired Hastings.
"It will be very interesting to see what our new board president does about the days that he works," Hubacek said.
Torres did not respond to an emailed question from the Landmark about how many days Hastings will work next year. Hastings has one more year left on his contract.
Hastings referred questions to his lawyer, who did not return calls from the Landmark asking for comment about the judge's ruling dismissing the lawsuit.