School Board, Gatta and Heintz Reach Separation Agreements


By Katrina Nickell

School board president Mark Sproat announced the resignation of superintendent Nanciann Gatta and assistant superintendent of operations and chief legal officer John Heintz during a special board meeting Wednesday, Nov. 18 that lasted almost six hours and included two closed sessions.

Gatta and Heintz were both placed on administrative paid leave Aug. 10, 2015, one day before District 219 began the 2015-2016 school year. At that time, the school board also hired a forensic IT firm, an accounting firm, and a law firm. District officials have not commented on the results of those investigations.

Both the board, and Gatta and Heintz, respectively, have mutually agreed to the separation agreements.

“In reaching the agreement, neither the Board nor Dr. Gatta is conceding that either has done anything wrong,” states the agreement, which the NWN obtained via a Freedom of Information Act.

The same clause was said in Heintz’s agreement, also obtained via FOIA.

Gatta’s agreement states that she will receive her regular salary rate of $262,501 for unused vacation days. This is effective from Nov. 18, 2015 until Dec. 31, 2015, the agreement states.

Heintz’s will also receive his regular salary rate of $188,089 for unused vacation days from Nov. 18, 2015 until Dec. 22, 2015, according to his agreement.

Gatta’s agreement also states that she has until Dec. 11, 2015 to drop pending litigations against the board. This will dismiss cases Dr. Nanciann Gatta v. Board of Education of Niles Township High School District 219 and Fernando Perez and Dr. Nanciann Gatta v. Board of Education of Niles Township High School District 219, Mark Sproat, David Ko, and Anne Roloff from the Circuit Court of Cook County.

As for Heintz, all pending requests under the Freedom of Information Act to district 219 and complaints to the Illinois Attorney General under the Illinois Open Meetings Act must be withdrawn by Dec. 11, 2015 on his behalf.

Heintz’s settlement also states, “except claims which are based on conduct of a fraudulent nature or intentionally designed to deceive or mislead, which nature, intention or scope are unknown to the Board as of the date of this Agreement the Board hereby releases the Assistant Superintendent from any claims by the Board for reimbursement of salary or benefits paid to, or for the benefit of, the Assistant Superintendent during his employment since July 1, 2009, including, but not limited to, the terms of any of his employment contracts with the Board since July 1, 2009, and has no present intention of bringing any claim against the Assistant Superintendent.” Gatta’s agreement does not include the same statement.

No additional compensation or severances have been included for both administrators.

“The Board is mindful of, and committed to, serving as a responsible steward of the District’s educational and financial resources in all matters,” Sproat wrote in a statement, released this afternoon. “We believe these separation agreements are in the best interests of all District 219 stakeholders, as they will avoid additional costs and time associated with further prolonging these matters and permit the Board and the administration to concentrate on the needs of the District and supporting out outstanding staff and programs. The Board will also promptly begin the process of filling the superintendent position, first on an interim, and then on a long-term basis.”