Hey...does anyone remember when I was opposed to this?
Well, guess what?
How is this NOT a private DAY CARE CENTER?
The Times (Aug. 29, 2009) wrote:
Hoover secretary launches new business
JOAN CARREON - Times Correspondent
CALUMET CITY | A new, privately run after-school program for children of all ages is scheduled to begin Monday at Hoover Elementary School.
The Hoover-Schrum Elementary District 157 School Board approved a contract last week with Vanessa Johnson, allowing her business -- Safe-Grounds Youth Recreation Center -- to use the Hoover School's multipurpose room for the program on student attendance days, beginning Monday through Dec. 17.
Board President Natalie Barnes abstained from voting because her Farmer's Insurance agency is providing Johnson with liability insurance coverage for the Center.
Johnson, who works as a secretary at Hoover, will be involved in the business after her regular work day ends at 3:30 p.m. She also will pay the regular rate charged to those who rent school space, Barnes said. The exact amount of that fee was not immediately available.
The Center will be open from 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and is available to children between the ages of preschool through high school. The program will include instruction in dance, drill team, drama, drum corps, vocals and more.
As of Thursday, about 40 youngsters had signed up for the program. The cost to parents is $20 per month.
"Whatever skills and talents children have, we are going to help develop them," Johnson said.
She said the Safe-Grounds Youth Recreation Center will give youngsters "something to do" after the regular school day ends and will help build integrity, self-esteem and allow them to have fun.
A parent booster club has been formed, various field trips are planned, and the first musical production for the community will take place in December, she said. There also will be scholarship opportunities for college-bound high school students who enroll in the program and plan to major in the arts.
Some School Board members expressed concerns about student safety between the time school ends and the program's 4 p.m. start.
Johnson had talked about possibly having parent volunteers helping to transport students to the public library for homework help.
But Johnson now says there will not be a homework help and tutoring component just yet.
Born and raised in Chicago, Johnson moved to California in 1978 to attend high school and college. She has been teaching and training youngsters in dance, drill team, and drama since 1979.
She returned to Illinois in 2001 to take care of her ailing mother and in 2007 she moved to Calumet City and took the job as a Hoover School secretary.
Owning her own business has been a lifelong dream, she said, and she hopes to eventually open the Safe-Grounds Center in her own facility.
"God made this all possible. He gave me the vision and the dream when I was little," Johnson said.
...again, this School Board is almost as bad as the last. How does this benefit the taxpayer? This entire arrangement just plain smells...
The Times (March 10, 2010) wrote:
School secretary alleges discriminationSo, now where are the "usual" supporters of School District 157? I said it once, and I'll say it again, This Board is as bad as the previous one...
BY JOAN CARREON - Times Correspondent | Posted: Wednesday, March 10, 2010
CALUMET CITY | A Hoover Elementary School secretary who was fired last week by the District 157 School Board says she was discriminated against because of her age, race, disability, and for retaliatory reasons.
Vanessa Johnson spoke out during Tuesday's board meeting. She said she has filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and was told by the EEOC she has a right to file suit.
Board President Natalie Barnes said the board could not comment on Johnson's allegations or the reasons for her firing because it is a personnel matter and there is a threat of litigation. Superintendent Michele Morris also declined comment.
Board Attorney John Izzo would only say that Johnson’s comments include "mischaracterizations." He would not elaborate on the cause for Johnson’s firing but said the EEOC typically tells someone he or she has a right to sue "when they don’t want to take the case."
Johnson, 46, is black and has Myositis, an inflammation of the muscles which can make it difficult to lift heavy objects and climb stairs. She worked as the principal's secretary at Hoover from 2007 until her March 2 termination.
She also has a contract with the district allowing her to run "Safe Grounds," an after school program at Hoover School, until June. The program serves more than 40 children in kindergarten through junior high.
Less than a week prior to the firing, Johnson attended a Calumet City Council meeting where she publicly announced that she was creating two scholarships related to Safe Grounds. The scholarships, which she said would be established in the name of a police officer killed in the line of duty and a Calumet City child who died of a rare cancer, would be funded with the proceeds of talent shows put on by the children involved in the Safe Grounds program.
Johnson said she was notified on March 2 that she was being terminated for engaging in "intentional misconduct," "misuse of district resources" and "misuse of the district's good name."
Her firing was among the items approved by the board during a special meeting that day. She said she asked the board to postpone its decision until she could have her attorney present, but the board moved ahead.
Johnson alleges she was let go because she was "getting ready to tell the truth" about how the administration "purposely set out to discriminate against me."
The administrators at the district's two schools and central office, along with four of seven board members, are black.
Meanwhile, in interviews with The Times, Johnson said she never was "written up" and never received an evaluation during her employment with the district.
She admits to ordering more than $300 dollars in personal items for her home from LTD Commodities LLC, using the school address for shipping purposes, and said she will pay that bill. She said she has made other prior purchases from LTD Commodities LLC, that the bills came in her name, and she paid them. This time, she said she "overlooked the bill" and it was then sent to the district office for payment.
"They could have just given me the bill and told me to deal with the situation," Johnson said.
Documentation of a $14.95 movie being ordered from Streaming Flix LLC in her name, she said, was falsified because she never ordered such a movie, and alleges her personal information was forged.
A Google search for Streaming Flix LLC returned a dozen Web sites listing complaints and allegations about the company related to unauthorized charges.
Johnson maintains she was set up for dismissal by certain administrators and wants them removed from their jobs.
"I did not have no intentions, from the jump street, of even taking it this far," Johnson said. "I just wanted them to leave me alone and let me do my job."
She also said she will continue to tell her story and that the district has not heard the last from her.
"I'm not going to stop until I get results," Johnson said.