Parents furious over school superintendent's $30k credit card bill

NEW LENOX (FOX 32 NEWS) - The former superintendent of Lincoln-Way High School District 210 ran up nearly $30,000 in questionable charges on a business credit card, and parents are furious, especially since the revelations come as the district prepares to close a school.

The credit card information was obtained by the Daily Southtown as part of an open records request. The district said that in his last three years before retiring in 2013, Superintendent Lawrence Wyllie used his district card to buy expensive meals, hundreds of books, and dozens of sweaters. He also spent $106 on a Vermont teddy bear for his office. Wyllie also recently made news for having the biggest pension in the state teacher's retirement system: $300,000.

"District credit cards and taxpayer dollars should be spent for our students, for our children. That is what the money is set aside for," said parent Elizabeth Burghard.  "And as a parent, as a taxpayer, that is theft."

"You know it's ridiculous," said Chris Zimmerman said. "And on the face you want to laugh about it but then you really want to cry."

The district is struggling financially; it's been placed on the state's "financial watch list," and last year the district announced it will be closing Lincoln-Way West High School, displacing 1,700 students.

"The big deal is the district doesn't have funds allegedly to keep one of our four schools open, but yet they can make frivolous purchases," said parent Marisa Barnas.

When we reached current Superintendent Scott Tingley, he did not want to talk about his predecessor's credit cards.

"I'm not going to try to rationalize something that happened in the past," Tingley said. "We're trying to deal with current issues right now."

But some parents say much of the current board needs to be held accountable.

"The school board knew about these purchases. They see these receipts every month. Did they review them? Did they send up any alarms, bells, whistles to anybody on the school board?" Zimmerman said.

We were unable to reach Wyllie for comment.