Band director remains at T.F. South but faces discipline for 'continuous violations'

2014-04-23T15:08:00Z 2014-04-24T00:59:04Z Band director remains at T.F. South but faces discipline for 'continuous violations'Gregory Tejeda Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
April 23, 2014 3:08 pm  • 

LANSING | Longtime Thornton Fractional South High School band director Michael Madonia will remain in his post but will face some discipline for violations of School Board policy.

The School Board for District 215 voted early Wednesday, after having met for several hours in closed session, to impose the discipline. But another move to reassign Madonia from the Lansing-based campus to a nonexistent band program at the district’s Center for Academics and Technology was not imposed.

“He’ll remain as the band director at (T.F.) South,” said School Board President Richard Dust. “But there will be discipline for him not following board policy and procedures.”

Exactly what that discipline will be, or when it will be served, is not known.

“We haven’t determined that yet,” said Dust, who refused to say exactly what the board policies were that Madonia allegedly violated.

District Superintendent Creg Williams, who previously said the violations did not involve behavior toward students, said Wednesday the penalty will be in the form of a suspension without pay. The length of the suspension has yet to be negotiated with the Illinois Federation of Teachers’ Local 683, which represents faculty at the Lansing and Calumet City high school campuses.

Williams said expects to know within a week what the punishment will be.

“It involves continuous violations of board policies and procedures. I can’t emphasize the word continuous enough," he said.

Local 683 President Jacob Gourley said the matter was still under discussion. He declined to comment on when, or how, negotiations would take place regarding Madonia’s discipline.

The School Board’s actions came following a board meeting in which supporters of Madonia spent about 45 minutes expressing their views that the band director, who has been at T.F. South for 25 years, should not be reassigned.

Dust said that while some critics of Madonia contacted the School Board via email, none of the people who publicly spoke Tuesday night were critical.

“They were respectful, they did not try to cause a disruption, which is why we permitted so much time for public comment,” he said.

Madonia’s situation drew support in part because of the efforts of Justin Ostrowski, a 2010 T.F. South graduate now at the University of Illinois in Urbana, who used the Change.org website to start up a petition asking for Madonia to keep his job.

That petition obtained 1,247 Internet signatures, and on Wednesday had a “victory” declaration attached. Madonia, who declined to comment on the situation Tuesday night, was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

Ostrowski said he was pleased with the School Board’s actions, even though it still plans to impose some discipline on Madonia.

“Exactly what the students and parents in the band wanted to happen has happened,” he said. “It is excellent that he will stay with the band, that is what we wanted.”

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