Unit 4 CFO Lockman out

The Champaign school board voted Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, to approve a settlement and release agreement with CFO Tom Lockman, who was placed on paid administrative leave June 17.

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CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign school district and its chief financial officer have agreed to go their separate ways.

After exiting a 29-minute closed session Tuesday night, members of the Champaign school board voted 7-0 to approve a settlement and release agreement with CFO Tom Lockman.

Under the terms of the deal, the district will pay Lockman $151,975, less applicable taxes and withholding, by Jan. 10, 2020. He will also receive money for any unused vacation time he has or will accrue through November 2019.

In turn, Lockman agrees to resign from his job effective Dec. 31 and take an unpaid leave of absence beginning today.

Champaign district puts CFO on indefinite administrative leave

He was put on a paid leave by the district on June 17.

He also agrees not to file any claims, grievances, charges or lawsuits in connection with his employment with the district.

Both parties agreed there will be no admissions of fault, responsibility or liability on either of their parts.

“The board and administration wish Mr. Lockman well and respectfully decline to comment,” Superintendent Susan Zola said after the meeting.

Lockman, in a statement emailed to News-Gazette Media, said, “I am satisfied with the Board’s decision to reject Dr. Zola’s recommendation to terminate my employment and am very pleased with the resolution. While I am disappointed to be leaving, I am very proud of the work the District has accomplished, grateful for the overwhelming support I have received for my commitment to my work and my principles, and thankful for the opportunity to have served our community in this role.”

Zola said the search for a new CFO will begin "in the near future."

“Information regarding the vacancy will be posted on the district’s website as it becomes available,” she said.

In other business, the school board voted 7-0 to approve the latest design for the Edison Middle School project.

Construction costs — including for building demolition, site improvements, construction and mechanical, electrical and plumbing work — are currently estimated at $18,251,046. The overall budget for the project is just more than $25 million.

The school board’s approval means the building team may now proceed with the construction-documents phase of design work.

Elizabeth Stegmaier, Unit 4’s director of capital projects and planning, said community members had an opportunity to comment on the project during a September open house.

According to the concept approved Tuesday, Edison’s commons area will be designed to allow students to break into small groups.

Its gym will have a high-school-regulation-size basketball court and can be divided to accommodate three different physical-education classes. It will also have a rock-climbing wall.

Demolition of the school’s existing gym and cafeteria space will take place next summer.

The third floor will also be renovated then, while work on the second floor will take place during the school year.

Sixth-graders may be taking classes at the Columbia school building — currently in the temporary home of Dr. Howard Elementary — during construction.

“Yes, you may be going to Columbia,” school board member Chris Kloppel said. “Look for an update after Thanksgiving.”


Tim Mitchell is a reporter at The News-Gazette. His email is tmitchel@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@mitchell6).