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Proviso Probe

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A07, what happened in District 89? [D89]

Going into last Tuesday's election all District 89 (Maywood & Melrose Park elementary schools) school board members were allied with either Melrose Park village President Ron Serpico or Cook County Recorder of Deeds Eugene Moore. None of the school board members were aligned with State Representative (and Democratic Committeeman) Karen Yarbrough or Charles Flowers, EdD. Flowers was elected Cook County Regional Superintendent of Education in November and will begin his term in July.

Yarbrough and Flowers ran a slate against a slate backed by Serpico and Moore. Five seats were up for election: four four-year terms and one two-year term created by the death of Jose Montoya.

The slate backed by Serpico and Moore won all five seats.

The Yarbrough-Flowers slate ceded Melrose Park. Of the slate's five candidates none were from Melrose Park. The slate hardly campaigned in Melrose Park. And Yarbrough failed to use her power as committeeman to replace polling place judges loyal to Melrose Park village president Ron Serpico.

Yarbrough's team probably saw the low Melrose Park turnout in 2006 and assumed Serpico had lost the fire in the belly or was pre-occupied with the federal investigation of the village. In 2006 Serpico was trying to pass a tax increase referendum and may have wanted low turnout. In 2007 Serpico's trustee candidates were being challenged by a slate backed by Jesse Martinez, a trustee in both Proviso Township and Stone Park. Serpico flexed the muscle of the Melrose Park machine. The large turnout in Melrose Park overwhelmed Yarbrough's advantage in Maywood where her husband Henderson Yarbrough is the village president.

This entry has a macro analysis of the election.

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  • IMHO the biggest problem was Mr. Flowers carries way too much baggage with the high school BOE. And rightfully so. People are anti-Flowers because the high schools are doing so pitifully and he's regarded as the most vocal opponent to changing things and supporting superintendent Fields who is viewed as a hope for change. Fair or not, they see him as a failure because he has taken things personal rather than work with the high school superintendent to make the high schools better. If Flowers wants to repair his community rep he should fix his relationship with Mr. Fields who in my opinion has made positive strides. I think Mr. Fields has probably had his private battles with the board president Chris Welch who is Mr. Flowers main complaint. But my guess is Mr. Fields is smart enough to keep those battles private as opposed to the public battles Mr. Flowers seems to engage in. Just one man's opinion.

    By Anonymous 1st Ave Walker, at 3:36 PM, April 24, 2007  

  • I heard Fields speak. I personally like his direction. He talks about the same things that concern me as a single parent. Unlike some people I feel we actually can grow to have great high schools. It certainly won't be easy or quick but I like that we're at least talking about taking the first steps. If he has begun to eliminate patronage employees or people who don't perform up to snuff then I'm on his side. My concern is the high school board. I personally would like to see all of the board replaced because they haven't delivered. I was disappointed to see Theresa Kelly re-elected for that very reason. She was board president before and she accomplished nothing except cause the schools to decline. Friends of hers certainly benefitted but our students did not. I haven't seen where Chris Welch and his board associates have done any better. But I hope Fields can rally this new board behind his ideas. As I said he has said the right things and made good moves so far. Nobody wants to be in last place anymore.

    By Anonymous Blue Moon, at 4:48 PM, April 24, 2007  

  • To Blue Moon:

    Nice try...but facts help when you want to make a point.

    Good try tho...

    By Anonymous D.U.I, at 9:35 AM, April 25, 2007  

  • To d.u.i.--

    I'm not sure what fact you're asking for. It's a fact that the schools are doing poorly because the test scores are poor and going down (please refer to the Illinois State School Report Cards). Without getting personal about employees, it's a fact that Fields has started to eliminate some patronage jobs and has reassigned non-performers. It's a fact that by any measuring stick you wish to use, the high schools either stagnated or regressed during Kelly's stint as BOE president. You could look at academic results, teacher morale, parent involvement, financial management, the sports programs, or just about anything else. It's a fact that Fields has a plan. I heard him speak of the details. I see it on the web site (please see http://www.pths209.org/District/4Cornerstones/index.html ). What else did you want to see?

    By Anonymous Blue Moon, at 1:36 PM, April 25, 2007  

  • Blue Moon,

    Like you, I’ve heard Stanley Fields speak and please do not get offended when I say that he is by no means a great speaker…not even a good speaker. I really expect more from those who have a PhD behind their names. Unfortunately, Stanley Fields does not measure up to that level. I cannot pinpoint any positive “actual and measurable” results that can be attributed to Stanley Fields. Maybe you can help us. Contrary to your beliefs, Stanley Fields is not the savior you make him out to be. Really, he is nothing more than a divisive figure head that is lucky to have a job at District 209.

    The adventures of the embattled Superintendent Stanley Fields is well chronicled…from Tulsa, to Louisiana, to Mundelein…he has engaged in divisive politics and personal transgressions that are abundantly clear if you do the research.

    The 4 corner plan that you speak about is nothing new…most of this was put in effect during Theresa Kelly’s tenure…when test scores, daily attendance, graduation rates, parental and community involvement were rising and in some cases, at an all time high. A lot has changed in the 4 years that Chris Welch has led the board. His tenure has brought us Robert Libka, Kyle Hastings, a 40 million dollar backdoor referendum. Under Welch’s leadership, we are the worst school district in the state! Can’t blame that on Theresa Kelly…Welch had 4 years to either progress or digress…the latter holds true.

    I understand that the election is over, yet you still feel the need to politic and promote improper propaganda to facilitate your personal political status. That’s fine; Stanley Fields and Chris Welch need the PR…more than anyone else in this district. Yes, you have a full time job...defending these guys will keep you working overtime.

    As for me, my job is done here! Theresa Kelly won the election despite all the hate mail, folk wisdom and unwarranted attacks against her. An abnormally amount of money and time was spent with the aim of showing Theresa Kelly the door (thanks Josh); instead, the people have given her the keys for the door. This is what is termed as a mandate by the people! The community spoke and the results speak for themselves. I expect her voice on that board to be stronger than ever. Theresa Kelly will be a lion on a board full of mice!

    Since my job is done…here are a couple of predictions: (no names, per Nyberg)

    There will be an investigation of the district 209 leadership. The fall out will spill and entrap career politicians that have been engaging in illegal acts. Robert Cox will have a eureka moment and will switch his alliances to those interested in helping students…expect fall out. Stanley Fields past will come back to haunt him. There will be new leadership on the board…the current leadership will be gone within 2 years.

    As for Blue Moon…you keep on touting “plans” the rest of us will focus on the actual results.

    By Anonymous D.U.I., at 9:08 AM, April 26, 2007  

  • d.u.i.--
    To quote you, I have no motivation to "feel the need to politic and promote improper propaganda to facilitate your personal political status." I'm a parent with a regular job, not an public employee or politician. I'm always suspicious of why folks like you always turn these school discussions into political issues. All that does is focus attention away from solving the problems of our schools. It would be a breath of fresh air if as much discussion was directed to how we can all help our students, teachers and staff. I'm afraid that will never occur until everyone finally stops the personal fighting. I'm glad Nyberg learned from the Imus incident and finally took the first steps by putting an end to the Imus-like comments on this blog. Maybe everyone else can follow his lead. Or maybe our community will just go on being like the Middle East where everybody has to hate everybody else and things never get better. I wish for more.

    By Anonymous Blue Moon, at 1:17 PM, April 26, 2007  

  • What happened in District 89 is not unusual. The incumbents had a strong hold, were able to pull off the election and sustain their hold on the community schools. It "garbage in, garbage out," and if 89 continues to allow school board persons to operate in direct contradiction to school code, then they will continue to do poorly.
    My condolences to the district.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:51 PM, April 26, 2007  

  • Marilyn said: Check out the posting on It's Just Teaching blog. It pretty much says it all. There are no new plans yet for next year. When will they be implemented? Oh, about the middle of August

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:12 PM, April 26, 2007  


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:18 PM, May 01, 2007  

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