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Embattled new Dist. 46 finance chief meets with school board
Both sides meet in closed session, no action taken
By Bob Susnjara | Daily Herald Staff

Edward Towle


Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

Grayslake Elementary District 46 Superintendent Ellen Correll.


Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

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Published: 5/11/2010 12:00 AM

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Grayslake Elementary District 46's new finance chief appeared upbeat late Monday after a closed-door meeting with board members that allowed him to explain circumstances behind his 15 months of paid leave as a Wisconsin school system's business manager.

"I was very pleased to meet with the board and answer their questions," Edward Towle said in a brief statement after the two-hour session. "This was the first opportunity for me to give any explanation of this situation to anybody."

District 46 Superintendent Ellen Correll said no action regarding Towle will occur until a May 19 board meeting.

Towle was hired to start July 1 as chief school business official. The contract calls for a $98,000 annual salary, 25 vacation days and a chance to advance to assistant superintendent for business and finance.

But after he was hired April 7, District 46 officials learned he's been on paid leave from his business manager post at Brown Deer School District near Milwaukee. Neither Towle nor Brown Deer District Administrator Deb Kerr mentioned the leave or the reason, District 46 officials said.

In late April, Kerr issued a statement saying "serious concerns" about Towle's job performance led to him being placed on paid leave in February 2009 while collecting his full $107,449 salary. Kerr, whose predecessor hired Towle in January 2007, has refused to elaborate.

Towle was accompanied by his attorney, Robert Shumaker, at Monday night's District 46 board meeting. Shumaker wheeled three boxes of documents into a conference room before the meeting began and issued a statement after meeting with the school board.

"Edward explained the entire situation in Brown Deer to the board and demonstrated he didn't make any false statements in applying for the job here in District 46," he said. "I think we need to let the board make its decision and announce it.

"And Edward looks forward to the entire community understanding the entire situation. We're confident that after that's done, Edward and District 46 are going to enjoy a long and successful relationship."

Towle would receive rolling two-year contracts if he has a successful 2010-11 academic year as District 46's chief school business official. He was selected to replace Brad Goldstein, who begins July 1 as director of finance and operations at Hawthorn Elementary District 73 in Vernon Hills.