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Local

DeKalb School District 428 pays superintendent on leave over $72K

Now-suspended DeKalb School District 428 Superintendent Doug Moeller speaks while sitting besides District 428 board president Victoria Newport during a meeting in April.
Now-suspended DeKalb School District 428 Superintendent Doug Moeller speaks while sitting besides District 428 board president Victoria Newport during a meeting in April.

DeKALB – Despite being removed from his position for four months, DeKalb School District 428 Superintendent Doug Moeller has still received more than a third of his $199,600 annual salary for his current contract year.

As of Friday, 128 days had passed since District 428 officials announced that Moeller had been placed on paid administrative leave after DeKalb High School Principal Michele Albano was granted an order of protection against him. In a grievance she filed with the school district, Albano claimed Moeller intimidated and threatened her after she rejected his advances. The restraining order against Moeller was lifted in October when Albano did not appear in court.

According to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request, the district has paid Moeller $72,410 from the time he was put on leave through Jan. 10.

Interim Superintendent Brad Hawk, who was appointed in October, has been paid $27,750 through Jan. 10.

Hawk's contract with the district has him working for up to 100 days through June 30. He said that as of Friday, he had worked about 45 days. Hawk also works as an assistant clinical professor at Northern Illinois University, but is only there half-time as terms of his employment with the district.

Moeller took over as district superintendent in the final weeks of the 2013-14 school year. In May 2014, the board and Moeller agreed to a new contract that lasts through April 30, 2019. His salary is to top out at $209,700 in the 2018-19 school year.

In a written statement, District 428 board President Victoria Newport said the board is actively working through its investigation of Moeller and related matters.

“Though we understand the desire by community stakeholders to have quick action or decisions by the board to bring these matters to a close and continue to advance its critical mission of education, the district is obligated to comply with the due process rights of its employees, as well as contractual obligations where applicable,” the statement said. “It is to the benefit of all stakeholders, employees and community members alike, that a fair and consistent process be followed.”

Moeller's high-profile removal in September, and his continued presence on the payroll, could be one reason so many people are running for the District 428 board this year. There are a total of 10 candidates vying for three available board seats. Newport is the only incumbent seeking re-election.

Sean Johnson, who is running for the board, said that if Moeller goes, Albano should, too.

“The principal did not follow through with the court date, so I believe in that situation she should not still be able to maintain her position if Moeller does not maintain his,” Johnson said. “Based on what I have heard and read about the case, I think that if we're going to have an interim superintendent, then the vice principal should have been the principal in the interim.”

Other candidates for the District 428 board are Catherine Harned, Jeff Hallgren, Valerie Pena Hernandez, Jeromy Olson, Twangie Smith, Tracy Williams, C. Scott Campbell and Shatoya Black.

Moeller did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

• Note to readers: This story was revised to clarify that Moeller began as District 428 superintendent toward the end of the 2013-14 school year. 

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