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Proviso Probe

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Proviso BOE meeting for December

On Monday, December 17, Proviso Township High Schools (District 209) held the regular meeting of the board of education at Proviso East High School. Board member Brian Cross was absent, as was his boss, Eugene Moore.

What happened that was noteworthy?

Board member Robert Cox and Superintendent Robert Libka talked about accountability. Cox expressed that the board would be working for the betterment of the district; Libka said he wanted the community to “look to proof of strategies and achievement” in the electronic newsletter.

Below you can read the follow-up questions on improving the district and accountability.

The meeting agenda included some terminations. Board president Emanuel “Chris” Welch said that the board would take action that would make it unnecessary to eliminate any jobs. How this was accomplished was not explained.

Board member Theresa Kelly was not happy with how the board meeting was conducted. She got a different agenda than the rest of the board members. Kelly is the lone opposition board member. People including the district's attorney became impatient as Kelly complained in closed session. Eventually, the district's attorney realized the problem and apologized for the misunderstandings.

When the board returned to open session board president Welch had everything as part of the consent agenda. I did not hear him call for items to be pulled from the consent agenda. After the vote on the consent agenda Kelly asked for items that she wanted pulled and discussed separately. Welch refused to call items separately, which is somewhat out of character. Normally, he's a reasonably flexible with board members. He let's the opposition ask questions. This time Welch offered to let Kelly switch her vote on the consent agenda, but he wouldn't open any individual issues for discussion.

Kelly probably should have realized that it was an omnibus consent agenda, but I don't think Welch ever clearly asked for items to be pulled from the consent agenda.

Kelly wanted to raised the issue about employees, especially support staff employees, who had already been terminated. Kelly thought it would be fair to undo the terminations already conducted since the terminations on the December agenda were being canceled.

(Normally board member Reatha “Sue” Henry, Eugene Moore's cousin and chief of staff, is willing to vote against the majority to prevent terminations. However, Henry's daughter, Shavonne Henry, is a secretary who was spared termination even though secretaries of equal or greater seniority were let go or forced to retire.)

Proviso West Dean Dylester Palm, sister of Principal Alexis Wallace, has retained a law firm to contest the furlough she was forced to accept.

Below are the questions I posed to Libka and the board of education in an email.
Last night both board member Robert Cox and Superintendent Robert Libka expressed intent to make District 209 better and a desire for the community to hold the district accountable.

By what measures does the board and administration want to be judged? I am particularly interested in learning your ways of measuring student performance and financial health of the district.

Also, some of the metrics only happen once a year, like standardized tests and the budget. Based on what information should taxpayers judge the academic and financial performance of the district quarter-to-quarter and month-to-month?

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  • I was wondering if it was just me, but did Chris Welch openly disrespect his one time ally Mona Johnson, President of the Teacher's Union? She walked away with plenty of egg on her face. I guess the old saying is true: when you lay down with dogs you gets up with fleas. Hope this is a message!

    By Anonymous Just My Observation, at 10:18 PM, December 18, 2007  

  • Libka spoke to teachers on Tuesday morning at West. He side stepped every question teachers asked, did not own up to anything. After not being able to answer any questions regarding the budget and how the distict found itself in such a situation, we learned that the Proviso East Band will be performing in Jamaica and the Proviso East Boys Basketball team including 9 adults left for Disneyworld to play in a tournament. How does the distict not have money for paper, supplies, they strong arm secretaries into taking pay cuts, threaten jobs, mandate furloughs, yet spend so wreckless? Libka himself said that the district continues to make the same mistakes today as it has in the past. A wise man once said, "Those who ignore the past, are doomed to repeat it."

    By Anonymous Pissed Off Teacher, at 10:02 PM, December 19, 2007  

  • Two female security staffers were sent to Disney too. Of course they are baby mamas of the Welch family. Talk about making fools out of the public. Why does the band need to perform in Jamaica? Did the band members raise the money or is this cover up for some board members and friends to have a free vacation. No wonder the majority of the support staff did not want to accept a furlough? This unnessecary spending has got to stop.

    By Anonymous Carrie, at 7:01 AM, December 25, 2007  

  • Also if there is a residency requirement, why is the Sarah McAllister's( Miltie Patch's secretary) daughter allowed to attend Proviso East...when they live way up north near Waukegan????
    Proviso can save money by not educating kids who live outside the district.

    By Anonymous Kelly, at 2:56 PM, January 02, 2008  

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