Controversy brewing in Park Forest after school board pulls rug from under superintendent

The name Joyce Carmine may ring a bell.

That's because FOX 32 Chicago has investigated her pay in the past.

Known as the richest school superintendent in the state, she's been collecting over $24,000 a month since 2017, and she's about to collect even more.

At times, Wednesday’s school board meeting with the Park Forest-Chicago Heights Elementary District 163 was contentious and emotional.

A decision came down that left many scratching their heads, including Park Forest Village Trustee Randall White, Jr.

"This is bigger than an issue, this is a nightmare, and it seems like a reoccurring nightmare," said White, Jr.

In a four to three vote, the Board decided to replace Superintendent Dr. Caletha White whose contract was approved in 2018. She was the replacement for Dr. Joyce Carmine.

The board has now voted to bring Carmine back again.

Fox 32 and Open the Books did a deep dive into the numbers shortly after Carmine retired.

In 2018, she was dubbed the richest superintendent in Illinois making $419,000, and she’s about to get even richer.


"To know that this woman is getting all this money to come back is ridiculous as a taxpayer in the community, this is not fair," said Jennie Marie Weaver, Park Forest Resident.

School board member Takesha Howard says she was completely blindsided and voted against the move.

"We did her evaluation and it was great, and no reason was given to me as a board member," said Takesha Howard, School Board member.

As a retiree, Carmine can only work 100 days a year, receiving $1,200 a day which is $120,000.

Combined with Carmine’s pension, that's $ 451,866.60, according to Open the Books.

Outgoing Superintendent White made over $261,000 in 2022 and put in her retirement before she was voted out.

"If they open up a national search, they will ultimately pay three times as much because of this decision," said Jamair Atkins, a community member.

Fox 32 did reach out to the school district and never heard back.