Sarah Millon, Proviso High School District 209’s business manager, has resigned from the district and taken the same job with Sauk Village Elementary District 168.
Millon has worked at Dist. 209 for eight years. She started as director of accounting, and became interim business manager in 2002 and then business manager in 2004.
Since the recent shuffling of Proviso’s administration began in July with the firing of Superintendent Greg Jackson, many have speculated that Millon’s job was in jeopardy due to her affiliation with Jackson.
Chief Education Officer Robert Libka denied that any plans were in place to suspend or fire Millon. “She is leaving on her own accord, she found another job. She interviewed on her own and was not encouraged to,” he said.
Still, board of education member Theresa Kelly, who speculated that Millon was “next on the list” after Deputy Superintendent Kelvin Gilchrist was suspended in early January, said she feels that Millon left because she saw the handwriting on the wall.
“I don’t feel like she was forced out but I did feel she was on the list. She made her move rather than being let go,” said Kelly. “She was doing a great job and she will be missed.”
Libka denied that Millon was in any danger of losing her job before resigning. “There is no list, and nobody is being targeted here,” said Libka.
Kelly noted that she is particularly worried about the possibility of a political hire being brought on as Millon’s replacement.
“It’s of great concern because that’s the person who oversees finances,” she said.
At each school board meeting since September, Kelly has read a scripted message at the outset of the meeting stating that she is “concerned about rigging” in the district’s hiring practices, asking Libka if any elected officials have recommended any of the individuals set to be hired during the meeting.
Libka has acknowledged that he receives recommendations from a variety of people, but has repeatedly denied that politics plays a role in the hiring process, arguing that jobs are given only to the most qualified applicants.
Libka said that he had directed the district’s human resources office to begin advertising Millon’s position. “Our hope is to move ahead aggressively to obtain a replacement,” he said.
Millon did not return a phone call seeking comment for this story. Her last day at Proviso was Friday.
Millon has reportedly been given a contract at Sauk Village that runs through the 2006-07 school year, with an annual salary of $85,000, plus benefits.
Much like Proviso, Millon’s new home is no stranger to controversy. According to a Chicago Tribune report on Tuesday, Dist. 168’s former Superintendent Thomas Ryan is serving an 8-year prison sentence for bilking over $100,000 from the district.