News Local/State

Decatur School Board Names Two “Co-Interims” To Fill In For Departing Supt. Taylor


Two assistant superintendents, Bobbi Williams and Mike Dugan, will be filling in as “co-interims” for departing Superintendent Lisa Taylor at Decatur School District 61.

The Decatur School Board voted Monday to name Williams and Dugan to take over on days when Taylor is not in the office.

Taylor’s last day with the district is July 29th, and she’s expected to use up sick leave days during her final weeks. Dugan says the appointment of himself and Williams as co-interim superintendents ensures that the district’s regular summertime work can continue when Taylor is absent.

“During the summertime, we typically are getting our buildings up and ready," said Dugan. "We’re overseeing registration, approving new hires. And we told them (the school board) that we basically just need those obligations taken care of.”

Taylor is leaving District 61, to become principal of the junior-senior in Heyworth, after the Decatur school board voted 4-3 in February not to renew her contract.  Dugan says they’ll continue working towards goals for the district that Taylor had set as superintendent.

After Taylor’s departure, the Decatur school board could name a single interim superintendent for a 100-working-day contract, while it searches for a permanent replacement. But Williams and Dugan say nothing is certain yet.

Also uncertain is state funding for District 61 and other public school district's in Illinois. Public schools received state funding for the current fiscal year. But lawmakers ended their regular spring session Tuesday without any agreement on a budget for fiscal year 2017, including money for public schools.

But Bobbi Williams says Decatur Schools have already prepared for a school year with lower state funding.

"We were pretty proactive this past year, working with the school board and our union representatives," said Williams. "So we cut about $3.5 million out of our budget, somewhere around there, in anticipation for reduced funding this year.”

Williams and Dugan say those spending cuts should allow Decatur Public Schools to keep classes open past the November election, even if there’s no state funding available. But they say they’ll need state funding eventually, in order to make it through the entire school year.