Local

Patrick Elder resigns as District 157 dean of students

Patrick R. Elder, 46, of Spring Grove
Patrick R. Elder, 46, of Spring Grove

A Richmond-Burton High School dean facing a felony drunken driving charge officially resigned Tuesday.

Patrick R. Elder submitted his resignation letter to the Richmond-Burton High School District 157 board on Aug. 13, according to records obtained by the Northwest Herald.

The dean of students' resignation was effective upon new employment or June 30, whichever occurred first, according to the letter. District 157 Superintendent Tom Lind confirmed that Elder, 46, was employed with the district through Tuesday.

The phone number publicly listed as belonging to Elder in Spring Grove was not in service Tuesday afternoon.

Elder, the Rockets' former head football coach and athletic director, was charged July 15, 2017, with driving under the influence. Spring Grove police stopped him on Route 173 as he was driving east of Clark Road. According to police reports, Elder refused to take a breath test and couldn't complete roadside sobriety tests.

He previously was found guilty of DUI in connection with incidents in 1991 and 1995 in McLean County. The former convictions elevated the most recent DUI accusation to a felony punishable by three to seven years in prison. Alternatively, if he were to receive probation, Elder would be required to serve at least 10 days in jail or complete 480 hours of community service.

In February 2018, the school board voted not to renew Elder's contract for the upcoming school year and chose to post job openings for his former positions.

The board went on to approve a new contract in June 2018, however, naming Elder dean of students. The position included eligibility for vacation, sick time and health insurance. Among Elder's duties were monitoring students' academic progress, reporting attendance issues and creating anti-bullying plans for administration to carry out.

Elder had been the AD and football coach since the 2006-07 school year. In 2012, he earned $79,350, and in 2017, his base salary was $99,578, according to district documents. He entered the 2019-20 school year earning a base salary of $89,275.

Despite Elder's reduced salary, he remained among the top 10 of the district's highest paid employees during the most recent school year, district records show. Principal Patrick Enright earned the largest base salary at $120,145.

Since his arrest, Elder has since pleaded not guilty to the DUI charge. His case is set for a July 17 hearing on his attorney's request to rescind Elder's arrest. Defense attorney Henry Sugden, claimed in a June 4 motion that police unlawfully stopped and searched Elder's vehicle following an alleged lane violation.

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