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Local News

Minooka High School principal resigns from district; interim superintendent hired

Jim Blanche has been hired as an interim superintendent for the Minooka Community High School.
Jim Blanche has been hired as an interim superintendent for the Minooka Community High School.

MINOOKA – Darci Kubinski submitted her resignation Thursday as principal to the Minooka Community High School Board, which approved the request after a closed session Thursday night.

Last December, the high school’s teachers presented a vote of “no confidence” in Kubinski, as well as in Superintendent Jim Colyott, who was let go from his position last month.

Friday morning, Kubinski said she is leaving to spend more time with her young children and to help with a family excavating business.

“My time in Minooka, although not without obstacles, has been very enjoyable,” she said, “and I have appreciated being an active part of the Minooka Community High School community. ... There have been a lot of changes recently, however, and a lot of changes to come that have taken a lot of time for me and a lot of time away from my family. These are years with my children that I don’t want to miss.”

Kubinski added that in the past few months she and the teaching staff have built better relationships with each other than they previously had.

Although her official last day at the district has not yet been decided, she said the hope is to overlap her employment there with a new principal to allow for continuity.

The board Thursday also hired an interim superintendent who will start July 28. For a salary of $935 per day, Jim Blanche will assume the responsibility for a period of 150 to 170 days during the upcoming year.

Blanche has a long career of school administration, most recently for 10 years as superintendent of the Lombard Elementary School District 44, a K-8 district, from which he retired two weeks ago. Prior to that, he spent 30 years as principal then superintendent in the Davenport Community School District in Iowa, which is a K-12 district.

After the meeting, Blanche said he is excited about beginning the position in Minooka and that he and the school board thought he would make a good fit in the district.

“My sense is the board is very interested in continuing improvement in the district,” he said, “and that has been my interest in my career.”

Blanche added he will be glad to return to a high school district.

Board president Mike Brozovich said after the meeting that the board felt Blanch was a strong candidate for the position, with strengths in community involvement and building relationships.

“He stood out because of his experience level,” Brozovich added. “He also has a lot of integrity.”

The school board paid $2,000 to a search firm to find an interim superintendent and another $13,500 to find a full-time permanent superintendent. Brozovich said now that an interim superintendent has been found, the search will begin for a full-time candidate.

Also Thursday, Minooka resident Curt Jebens asked the board for the second meeting in a row how members had decided to pay for two overlapping superintendent salaries for the next year when the district is operating in a deficit. Colyott earns an annual salary, stipends and other payments of $210,000, with the district contributing another $19,917 in insurance. His contract doesn’t expire until June 30, 2015.

“Where’s the money coming from?” Jebens asked.

Brozovich said the board is in the process of putting together a statement to explain its plan for financing the unexpected expense.

Also Thursday, the school board approved increases in lunch prices. The fees have remained the same the past two years, members said, while the vendor’s labor and other costs continue to rise. Examples of the changes include the plated lunch with milk increasing from $2.75 to $3; nachos grande increasing from $3.75 to $4; a deli wrap increasing from $3.85 to $4; a cheeseburger increasing from $2.05 to $2.25; and a slice of pizza increasing from $2.40 to $2.75.

The district’s next meeting was changed from Aug. 21 to Au. 20, to accommodate the school’s open house. The first day of school is Aug. 13.

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