Bourbonnais Elementary Closed Session

The Bourbonnais Elementary school board on Tuesday leaves for a closed session to discuss a separation agreement with Superintendent Dan Hollowell, who faces sexual harassment allegations.

BOURBONNAIS — Bourbonnais Elementary Superintendent Dan Hollowell, who faced sexual harassment allegations, will receive three months of severance pay in return for his resignation, the school board decided Tuesday.

After a more than 40-minute closed session, the board approved an agreement that gives Hollowell the severance and unpaid vacation time.

Dan Hollowell Allegations

Dan Hollowell superintendent of Bourbonnais Elementary School District 53 in his office in this 2018 photo. 

In late June, Hollowell was placed on 30 work days of unpaid leave in response to sexual harassment allegations. His last official day was Tuesday.

In a statement after the vote, board President Rob Rodewald said members approved the separation agreement to avoid the costs of hearings on the allegations and possible resulting litigation. He said a lengthy battle would take resources away from students and “cause further disruption” to the schools. The superintendent denied the allegations, he said.

Rodewald said Hollowell would receive no other compensation or benefits besides the severance and vacation time. The three months amount to about $40,000. That money, Rodewald said, was to support Hollowell’s family while he was looking for new employment.

It was unclear how much vacation pay Hollowell had coming.

“This matter has weighed heavily on all those involved, and bringing closure is in everyone’s best interests,” Rodewald said.

He said the district’s staff would undergo “comprehensive” sexual harassment training, which would inform employees about the reporting process.

Hollowell, who started as superintendent in 2013, made $156,000 last year. His contract was set to expire in 2023.

In early March, reading coordinator Michelle Brosseau filed a sexual harassment complaint against Hollowell. She alleged the superintendent made inappropriate comments toward her.

A reading teacher, Michelle Erickson, made a similar complaint during the June 28 board meeting, when Hollowell was suspended. Brosseau stood next to her.

On Tuesday night, open houses were held in the district’s schools, yet more than 30 residents showed up for the board meeting. That was less than half the June 28 audience, many of them teachers who applauded Brosseau and Erickson.

Hollowell, who has not returned Daily Journal messages over the last two months, was not at Tuesday’s meeting.

The first day of school is today. Margaret Longo, a longtime educator from the south suburbs, is the interim superintendent while the board looks for a permanent one.

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