Woman suing Sherrard School District questions district’s decision to cut ties with business

Brandi McGuire filed a lawsuit against the Sherrard School District, and later learned the school district would not renew her families business partnership with the district. McGuire doesn’t think the school’s decision was  by coincidence.

“There is no financial reason why they didn’t renew our contract,” McGuire said, who learned the contract wasn’t renewed by reviewing the school board’s meeting documents.

In 2011, McGuire said the school district approached her families business, Skiles Driving School in East Moline, a driver education school, to assist the school with driver education. Documents from the School District’s yearly budget show Skiles saved the district nearly $20,000 a year.

Despite the savings, the four-year contract was terminated by the district in the summer of 2014, one month after McGuire filed a lawsuit against the school district for not allowing her daughter’s service dog in the school.

Dr. Samuel Light, superintendent of Sherrard School District as of April 7, 2014, said the district’s decision to not renew their contract with Skiles Driving School had nothing to do with the current lawsuit, but was a method to cut costs.

“When I got here, I tried to figure out how to save the district money. I was able to save a little bit of money by not renewing Skiles contract and bringing drivers education back in house,” Light said.

Light added that the district would save about $800, but primarily wanted  Sherrard’s teachers to be responsible for driving students for liability reasons.

“We have a lot more flexibility when we have our kids with our teachers,” Light said.

Breaking down the numbers, in 2013, Light said using Skiles Driving School cost the district $82,255. Just more than $30,000 of that was paid salary to Skiles, and nearly $50,000 was budgeted for the purchase-service agreement.

McGuire said she doesn’t understand where that $50,000 is going.

“We charged them about $38,000 to $45,000 a year, that includes the car, insurance and instructor, she continued, it’s disheartening that they didn’t renew our contract.”

McGuire’s lawsuit against the Sherrard School District relating to her daughter’s service dog is still ongoing.

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