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Proviso Probe

Monday, November 21, 2005

ED, tonight's school board meeting [D209]

Comments on the meeting:

Libka was beat red for the open session. Later he said that he promised not to forward any more anonymous letters to the board. I suspect Flowers took Libka to task in closed session.

For the awards ceremonies the board and senior administrators upstage the awardees. With the audience looking at the awardees backs, it makes it seem the ceremony is to present the school board and administrators to the audience and the awardees are props.

BTW, why doesn't Proviso give student awards in front of students? Do other districts give their student awards at school board meetings?

Welch announced Gilchrist was going to meet with the leaders of the teachers union to discuss comments that offended some teachers. (Afterwards Gilchrist said it was the quote he took from a local minister that D209 has "'at risk' students being taught by 'at risk' teachers".)

Two representatives from the School-Based Health Center (SBHC) at Proviso East High School (other info) made a pitch for District 209 to spend $250,000 per year on the health center to replace money being eliminated by the federal government. Rep. Danny Davis's chief of staff was there also to help push shifting the tax burden from the federal income tax to the property tax.

Here are my concerns with D209 taking 50% of the responsibility for funding the health center.

1. It is a shift of tax burden from the federal income tax (which is going down) to the property tax (which is going up).
2. It may be good for schools to provide health services, but is it their responsibility? Do they have the expertise? Are we going to expect unpaid school board members to become knowledgeable about public health as well as education?
3. Who will do a better job hiring the appropriate health care providers? The federal gov't? Or the D209 board? If D209 pays 50% of the money you can expect the board majority will hire their cronies instead of the most qualified individuals. Do we want this?

Bob Libka put off discussing the test scores until next month, but he was fundraising for the Proviso East & West bands to go to the Liberty Bowl.

Libka admitted that faculty, other administrators and people in the community contact him to make suggestions about whom to hire. Theresa Kelly pressed him for names. He demured.

Part of the exchange went as follows:
Kelly: Is there rigging?
Libka: That's a good question.


Talking to Libka afterwards:

Libka had a correction for my column on the D209 press conference to announce the new teacher contract. Libka didn't graduate from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. He attended for two-years and left. He finished at Concordia.

I asked Libka about the budget deficit and he did have some specifics for cutting expenses. He said the budget office has given him a list of 15 options. He's already cancelled buying a couple vans (saving about $70-80K) and he plans to cut a couple positions in maintenance.

Libka acknowledged forwarding an anonymous letter to board members that included allegations about board members Dr. Charles Flowers. He justified this by saying, "the last couple points had some relevancy to the board." I did not find any of the allegations relevant to Flowers' duties as a board member.

I got a little frustrated with Libka when I asked about hiring. I said it seemed likely that political organizations already have their people in the District 209 system and the insiders are getting jobs for others loyal to the right political team. I asked Libka, if this was the way the system was working was this OK with him. He refused to answer the question.

11 Comments:

  • A couple more points.

    Thomas Sloan--how is he related to Don Sloan?--was hired as a night watchman at Proviso East at $46,251.25 pro-rated at 75%. He gets 75% of the salary in the first year and automatic 5% increases for the first five years.

    Also, Michael Woodward was terminated from his full-time security position at Proviso West. This vote seemed strange since Flowers, Henry, Kelly and Welch all abstained. Only Adams and Madlock voted "aye".

    Marine wasn't at the meeting. I've attended about four school board meetings and every board member but Marine has perfect attendance. Marine has missed two meetings. Am I just catching him when he's absent or does board member Marine have a problem with chronic absenteeism?

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 11:00 AM, November 22, 2005  

  • Also, I was probably too nice to Libka about the Coast Guard Academy.

    He and I discussed his service. I asked him what kinds of ships he served on. Me mentioned The Eagle and a cutter. While Libka didn't lie to me, he intentionally created the wrong impression. If Libka was shooting straight he would have said he didn't graduate as part of the discussion about what kind of ships he served on.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 11:25 AM, November 22, 2005  

  • BTW, Libka's claims about jobs being posted online were mostly bullshit.

    One, the Proviso Township High Schools website has been down most of the semester.

    Two, go to the website and click on "careers". What do you notice?

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 12:15 PM, November 22, 2005  

  • Dear Carl:
    I appreciate you covering the school board meeting last night. However, your comments attributed to me regarding shifting the tax burden from the federal government to increasing property taxes misses the mark. The federal government has stated that the school board must contribute to the health center at Proviso East. The contribution can come from a shifting of priorities in the budget. For example, the Board may decide to cut certain consultant contracts to ensure health care for our children. I did not call for--nor do I support an increase in the property taxes. In fact, I am a proponent of tax relief. Thank you for setting the record straight. Richard Boykin

    By Anonymous richard boykin, at 5:28 PM, November 22, 2005  

  • Someone is stealing my Name

    That Ain't me

    By Anonymous I'm Just Saying, at 9:07 PM, November 22, 2005  

  • Everbody knows you are a Welch lover and employed by Proviso, but I like the new "I'm Just Sayin'", you know what I sayin. Keep it real "I'm Just Sayin''

    By Blogger Everybody-Hates-Chris, at 11:42 PM, November 22, 2005  

  • No spoofing someone else's Proviso Probe identity.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 9:59 AM, November 23, 2005  

  • How do you get a Northwestern Law School graduate off your front porch? Pay him for the Pizza!

    By Anonymous DD, at 2:37 PM, November 23, 2005  

  • Sloan is the most corrupt public offical in Proviso and possibly in the State! He lives to do the wrong things and feels a sense of pleasure, when he does bad, and corrupt things! Sloan is a blow hard and next time he has a fund raiser , we'll all go, but there's not enough room in the phone booth in front of the White Hen in Westchester!

    By Anonymous TRUTH, at 2:40 PM, November 23, 2005  

  • Libka is listed as class of '73 with the US Coast Guard Academy alumni association. That means he left in 1971, in June if I understood him correctly.

    Draft numbers were assigned by birthdates. I wonder if Libka left the Coast Guard Academy knowing he had a high draft number and was unlikely to be conscripted for military service.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 4:09 PM, November 25, 2005  

  • Libka's mind doesn't think that far ahead. He is to dumb to have come up with that on his own. Maybe someone helped with that scheme. By the way did he ever answer questions about the test scores. He is the CEO, isn't he? CEO stands from Chris' Educational Oppie. But the last I heard he hadn't even looked at the scores. Maybe Ms. "I don't know how to run a damn school" Wallace can read the scores to him.

    By Blogger Everybody-Hates-Chris, at 9:09 PM, November 29, 2005  

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