Lake County school board decides not to hire class-size officer

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Class-size violations nearly cost the Lake County school district $1 million in fines and the school board was considering paying compliance officers more than $100,000 a year to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

The board turned down the proposal at its Monday night meeting, even though a majority on the board wanted to hire the officer.

Channel 9’s Berndt Petersen found one school board member who strongly opposed the plan.

“We need to stop throwing money at it and fix the problem,” said Dr. Tod Howard. “We don’t need somebody at the district office saying, ‘Yes you did your job,’ and pat them on the back.”

But administrators insisted the new staff members were needed to keep track and see to it that the rules aren’t broken.

Some residents believe somebody should have been held responsible for misreporting of the number of pupils.

“You didn’t see even the senior managers censured, and nothing with the principals,” said Vance Jochim, who runs a watchdog group that oversees government spending in Lake County.

Howard said he doesn’t expect the same mistakes to happen again.

“We'll be very clear. Crystal clear as a matter of fact on what the law is, and what you can, and can't, do.  At that point, we don't expect any more screw-ups.  If you do, then you deserve to lose your job,” he said.