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Mendoza resignation could cost D-47 $23,000 in insurance payments

CRYSTAL LAKE – District 47 could pay more than $23,000 in family health insurance benefits to former Superintendent Donn Mendoza as part of a resignation agreement reached Thursday night during a special meeting.

Mendoza's family insurance plan costs the district $1,936 a month, and under the agreement, the district could continue to pay for insurance coverage through June 2014. If Mendoza finds employment that offers family health insurance within that time, the district no longer would have to pay, according to the separation agreement.

The potential $23,232 in insurance would be in addition to the $27,870 lump-sum severance payment made to Mendoza, which equals two months of his base salary. Mendoza earned $167,225 this school year.

District 47 Board President Jeff Mason said the potential costs are not a concern.

"We positioned it in such a way that it immediately cancels and becomes a cost reduction when he finds employment that offers family insurance," Mason said.

The resignation agreement notes that it was a voluntary and mutual separation and neither Mendoza or board members can "engage in conduct which disparages the others."

The agreement also states that all requests for information about Mendoza's resignation must be directed toward Mason or board Vice President Rob Fetzner, who must limit their comments to the initial written statement delivered by the board Thursday.

“This decision was made based on discussions between the board and Dr. Mendoza and the future direction of the district,” Mason said in the news release. Mason said those discussions began a few weeks before the end of the school year, which was Wednesday.

Mason said the board would discuss how to proceed in selecting a new superintendent at the June 17 meeting. Kathy Hinz, who serves as the assistant superintendent of Student Service and Professional Development, will act as interim superintendent.

Mendoza joined the district in 2006 as principal at Lundahl Middle School. He became superintendent in 2009. In 2011, the board approved a contract extension for Mendoza that was set to expire in June 2016.

He was publicly reprimanded last fall for an incident in which a Crystal Lake police officer said Mendoza appeared to be intoxicated and asleep in the back seat of his vehicle a short distance from his house. Mason said the incident was not a key factor in the decision.

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