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Proviso Probe

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

GOV, regular meeting of board of ed [D209]

On Monday, April 24, 2006, the board of education for Proviso Township High Schools (District 209) met. See Proviso Probe's earlier discussion about the meeting.

In the past the division on the board has been almost always a 4-3 split. Board president Emanuel “Chris” Welch leads the majority block which includes: Dan Adams, Reatha “Sue” Henry and Shirley Madlock. Dr. Charles Flowers, Theresa Kelly and Gary Marine comprise the minority. Monday’s meeting included conflicts at least slightly different from the 4-3 votes of the past.

Also, a few things happened which called into question the competence of various administrators.

Which law firm will be the conduit for putting property taxes into Welch/Moore aligned campaigns?

The agenda included a line item that would have terminated Odelson & Sterk as the District 209 attorneys and replaced the firm with Giglio and Del Galdo. Both firms are politically connected. Odelson & Sterk have had a close relationship with Board President Welch. Giglio & Del Galdo has a close relationship with Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico.

The motion was supposedly put on the agenda by Board Member Marine, but at the beginning of the open session it was announced Marine had pulled the motion. However, both Burt Odelson and Lula Greenhow were allowed time to speak against the motion.

Odelson quoted extensively from Chicago Tribune (Brett McNeil) about some of the shady things being done by Giglio and Del Galdo in Cicero. Odelson personally attacked Marine. Finally, Marine got upset and responded that Welch and Adams were the board members with the close relationship to Giglio and Del Galdo and they should answer Odelson’s questions. After the meeting Marine said he was “set up” but didn’t explain how.
If anyone has any insight about what was happening behind the scenes, please post it in the comments. I suspect this conflict had significance, but I’m not sure what it was.

Incompetence

A number of things happened that I would file under incompetence.

1. The last day of school. Mona Johnson, the president of the teacher’s union, complained that the administration was forcing teachers to come to work Tuesday, May 30, 2006 instead of making Friday, May 26, the last day. It seems like the administrators should have been able to work it out with the teachers union without bringing the conflict to the board.

2. Graduation location. The principals of Proviso East and Proviso West decided to hold graduation at the UIC Pavilion without notifying the board in advance. One of the graduations is scheduled to begin at 6 PM on a Sunday. And the cost of transportation wasn’t factored into the plan. The decision to use UIC seems reasonable, but it should have been detailed months ago.

3. Summer school tuition motion. The motion to set the summer school tuition was deferred from the previous board meeting because it didn’t allow failing students to attend for free. The motion presented to the board didn’t include the detail that students attending mandatory summer school would not pay tuition.

Awards ceremony

I think awards ceremonies should be for the students. The awards should be given at student assemblies. Making each board meeting into a photo-op for the politicians seems disrespectful to the students and kinda sleazy of the board majority.
If Board President Welch would quit using the district’s newsletter to promote himself, it would make the award ceremonies seem less self-serving.
Also, it’s kinda rude to make the awardees wait until after 9 PM to start the frickin ceremony.

[UPDATE: I turned off the comments in this thread. I started sorting through the acceptable and unacceptable (comments under "anonymous" and comments about other's sex lives) and I got sick of it. Please play by the rules. Thanks, Carl.]

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