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Proviso Probe

Monday, September 28, 2009

ask the D209 Financial Oversight Panel (FOP) what's wrong with Proviso Township High Schools

Tonight, Monday, September 28, 2009, at 7 PM the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Financial Oversight Panel (FOP) assigned to Proviso Township High Schools, District 209 (D209) will take questions from the public at Proviso Math and Science Academy (PMSA) at First Ave and Roosevelt. Enter from the parking lot north of the building.

I recommend asking the following questions:

Questions for District 209 Financial Oversight Panel

1. All school districts in Illinois are graded on a 4.0 scale for their financial health and compliance. Districts under 3.0 are considered troubled. The most recent scoring for District 209 is 0.0. Were there any other 0.0 districts in Illinois? What does it mean that the district scored 0.0?

2.With proper management should a school district be able to keep itself from the financial watch list? Or is it just part of the cycle that school districts have to raise taxes periodically and if they don't raise taxes a district will find itself on the watch list?

3.To what extent will a Financial Oversight Panel assigned by the Illinois State Board of Education explain to citizens that specific decisions caused the financial crisis in a school district? Is the role of the FOP to tell the citizens what specific malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance caused their school district to become financially “in extremis”? Or is the role of the FOP focused on telling a district and its citizens what will need to be cut if a tax increase is not implemented?

4.How does D209 rank in Illinois and suburban Cook County in terms of per student spending?

5.How does D209 rank in Illinois and suburban Cook County in terms of taxable real estate per student?

6.If D209 spends more than all but a few districts, what caused the district to land on the financial watch list?

7.Is D209 “underfunded”? If D209 has adequate resources, what caused the district to become a financial watchlist district? Besides the board of education, the superintendent and the assistant superintendent for business services, who else is responsible for D209 landing on the financial watchlist? What are the top three causes of D209 being on the financial watchlist?

8.In what areas is D209 spending particularly high? Does the district spend an unusual amount of money servicing debt? Is the faculty collective bargaining agreement particularly generous? Is non-faculty staff spending unusual either based on the number of staff or the compensation levels? Are costs associated with the three school buildings unusually high? Does the district spend an inordinate amount on legal bills and court settlements? Where should the district look to cut expenses?

9.Does the FOP have the expertise and authority to evaluate whether D209 legal bills and court settlements were legal, appropriate and good deals for the district?

10.D209 has a number of personal relationships that could reasonably be considered conflicts of interest. For example, a number of D209 employees (Ron Anderson, Tommie Miller and Althea Busby) serve on the board of education for District 88. The president of the D209 BOE (Emanuel “Chris” Welch) has billed hundreds of thousands of dollars as the attorney for District 88. Welch has also dated Nikita Johnson, the D209 assistant superintendent for business services for a couple years. Johnson is also the niece of D209 board member Robin Foreman. Is the FOP authorized to make judgments that the conflicts of interest at D209, either individually or as a group, contributed to the financial problems of D209?

11.D209 has experienced a high level of stability of governance of the BOE. Welch has been president for almost a decade. During this time D209 has experienced a high level of instability in the superintendent position. Is there a correlation between problem districts and stability or instability in the superintendent position or in the board of education?

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  • Why are some employees getting these large stipends?
    Why are some employees getting away with stealing money from the driver's education funds since 1995 to about 2006? Why did this employee steal new gym equipment from the school and was never held accountable for this? Why did some administrators cover for this employee when they knew that he was corrupt? Why doesn't the Ad. Center reveal his gasoline credit card statements that shows he was using the driver's education gasoline credit card for his own personal use?This employee has stolen over $100,000 from Proviso East driver's education fund, and the athletic fund and no one is doing anything about it. Michael Caldwell is corrupt and he is still employed at Proviso East. Someone should request the driver's education records from 1995 to 2006. Maybe you will find out why Proviso is having financial problems.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:05 PM, September 28, 2009  

  • We need to get all of these criminals out of our schools so the children can function well. We shouldn't have criminals teaching our children and causing financial problems in the district.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:16 PM, September 28, 2009  

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