Tuesday, March 18, 2008


The Insider has learned that there was a big shake up at Proviso High School District 209. The shake up was reportedly announced at the March 17, 2008 Board of Education meeting. Sources tell the Insider that the Board of Education has cleaned house. Out are Superintendent Bob Libka, Director of Auxillary Programs Kyle Hastings, Director of Compliance Margo Umans, Lawyers Qwerrey & Harrow, and numerous other staff members. The Board approved conducting a Superintendent search by a vote of 6 to 1. Board member Bob Cox of Forest Park was reportedly the lone no vote.

Click this link to read more from the Proviso Herald: http://www.pioneerlocal.com/maywood/news/848571,ma-nolibka-031808-s1.article

What's going on at Proviso? What caused the shakeup? Will others follow? Is the District trimming at the top and leading by example?


Anonymous said...

Well, SOMEthing needed to be done with the district. Proviso East/West are statistically the two worst-performing high schools in the entire state of Illinois. Maybe cleaning house at the top is a good start.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean shakeup? Everyone knows Libka was worthless and a yes man. Kyle and Margo did little to nothing for the district. What auxillary programs does the district have? We barely have academic programs! The board is "shaking" things up because they fear the state will come in and shake them up by wiping out their positions and then they will have to go out and get real jobs! Maybe they could work in a massage parlor since they are all so good at rubbing each other's backs. The district needs more than those few "sacrificial lambs" to exclaim that they have shook things up. What about the individual schools? Will they play musical chairs with the positions over at the schools. The only good board is a new board. The only good additions would be those with no ties or those that care. nough has long been enough.

Anonymous said...

- posted by Rep. John Fritchey

In the You Saw This Coming From a Mile Away Dept.: News outlets around the country ran a story the other day about the fact that a federal judge in Illinois is on the verge of expanding the pending lawsuit regarding the Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act (aka, the 'Moment of Silence' law) into a bilateral class action.
What that means in simple terms is that the pending suit filed on behalf of one student against one school district will now include all Illinois public school students as plaintiffs and all Illinois school districts as defendants.

In the interest of brevity, I'm not going to delve into all of the underlying arguments about the law, but rather, try to point out that this tremendous waste of resources could be easily avoided but for a move that really undercuts the integrity of our legislative process.

In sum, last year Sen. Kimberly Lightford introduced a bill that amended a law that permitted schools to start each day with a moment of silence, (a law that itself was unnecessary, but one that nobody on either side took issue with during the entire time that it was on the books), and made it mandatory. Amazingly, not only did the bill pass both chambers, enough legislators in both chambers even voted to override the Governor's subsequent veto of the bill. (And in case you're wondering, I voted against the bill and against the override.)

Before session reconvened, I filed HB4180, which would fix a number of deficiencies in the law. I believed that enough of my colleagues, having heard from school superintendents, teachers, parents, the media, and now cognizant of the lawsuit, would understand that, despite having had what may have been good intentions, they had passed a very untenable, unnecessary and unworkable law.

The committee debate was a thorough and good one, and on March 4, HB4180 passed the full House by a vote of 72-31-6. What is notable about the vote is that over 30 legislators who had supported the current law viewed HB4180 as a better alternative and voted for it. The intention had been that Sen. Jeff Schoenberg would be the Senate sponsor and that we could continue to advance the legislation.

So it seemed that everything was on track for the Legislature to fix the situation and moot the pending lawsuit, right? Nope.

Without my knowledge, on the same day that my bill passed out of committee, Sen. Lightford filed a slip with the Senate secretary to take sponsorship of the bill if and when it got to the Senate. By so doing, she now has control of moving and/or amending the bill.

In fact, Sen. Lightford has recently stated her intentions to amend the bill to take the word 'prayer' out and substitute it with 'meditation' and to set the moment of silence at 60 seconds. Not 61, not 59, 60. Most importantly, she also plans to amend the bill to remove the permissive language and keep the law as a mandatory one. This despite the fact that there are not even penalties for violating the law.

In sum, she has amazingly found a way to take a bad law and make it potentially more inane. Worse yet, she is arrogantly depriving her Senate colleagues the same opportunity that House members had, namely to rectify a vote that they may wish they had not cast in the first place.

Had Sen. Lightford attempted to make these changes by filing her own bill, that would have obviously been her prerogative. But to try to do it in the manner that she is egregiously violates an inherent trust between colleagues and creates an environment of distrust where treachery reigns over process.

I spoke in person with Sen. Lightford about the situation last week, and told her that while I had no personal animus toward her, I truly had no respect for what she had done. I also asked her to do the honorable thing and relinquish the bill to a sponsor of my choosing. I received no response (which speaks volumes in and of itself).

What will happen now is that even if she is able to pass her bill, there is zero chance that I will call it for concurrence when it returns to the House. In that scenario, as she is well aware, the bill dies and the present law stays on the books.

Which brings us full circle to the pending court case. The expansion of the lawsuit to cover every school district as a defendant means that at a time when everybody talks about wanting to increase education funding, dollars that should be going into classrooms will instead be going into courtrooms. All because one legislator gave more importance to her personal agenda than to the will of the Legislature.

When the Governor took the same approach last year, the General Assembly wound up in a record-long session costing taxpayers millions of dollars. It wasn't right then, and it isn't right now.

None of the recent events have been lost on Judge Gettleman, the federal judge overseeing the pending lawsuit:

"I was hoping, frankly, this was further along in the legislative process," the judge said at Wednesday's hearing. "I was hoping we'd avoid spending resources on all sides."
So did I Judge. So did a lot of us.

Anonymous said...

There needs to be alot more shake ups than this.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about Kyle but Margo has done a lot for this district. She put in all those computer labs, started the Esl program at East, supported the teachers whennever they asked for anything and she was the only one from District who showed up at our SIP meetings. The best thing she could do is get herself out of there. Without her at central office, I am not sure what the schools will do anymore.

Anonymous said...

Kyle Hastings was Mr. No Show. He never came to work. He was being paid a six figure salary to do who knows what. They needed to toss that bum. Margo Umans has cost the district millions. Her and Bob Libka refuse to process simple paperwork for the district to receive over $800,000 in Title I grant money. I also hear Margo recently botched the $400,000 PEP grant. Where did they find these incompetent administrators? I hear they were Greg Jackson left overs.

Anonymous said...

The housecleaning needs to start with the Board of Ed. They set the tone and really do the hiring and firing. They make the decisions that make or break a school. The Board of Ed hired the administration that they are letting go. Which family members/ friends will they replace them with this time?

Anonymous said...

Let's see...did the fire ALL the worthless people? I heaven't heard a peep from Kyle Hastings since he took a vacation during the summer school mess at PMSA. Margo Umans was in charge of grants. Let's see what she did. At the March 17 board meeting, she did indeed issue a report. The first two grants, 21st century and Teen Reach have ??? as amount spent. The title III grant , which is listed as "money not yet spent" is actually "frozen. I think Hastings used to do the grants. If Proviso is in such financial difficulty, why isn't the paperwork being done for these grants?
A new superintendent? How many does that make in the last 3 years, three? If the board would just let the superintendent do his job and not mess with him, perhaps some changes could occur. I hold my breath as usual.

carrie said...

Margo did not put in the computer labs or start the ESL programs...get your facts straight.

Margo was typical of the many people who care nothing for the community, huge salaries and pretend to be working.

Good riddance. Get rid of Tracy Bey and her lapdog Julie too.

Anonymous said...

Lets go back to the good old days...before Eric Eversley was superintendent. Before Eric, the superintendent ran the school, as it should be. The school board is a panel of elected people. How many of them have expertise in education? My guess is there is not one board member who has been or is in education. Eric was such a wimp he couldn't make a decision. That's when all the trouble started. Since the superintendent couldn't decide, it was left to the board. The board should take the recommendations of the super. and rubber stamp them. Now we have a bunch of politically charged people running an educational institution. This shouldn't be. Educators should run an educational institution. The sad state of Proviso's test scores proves that this backward organization does not work. Fields was headed in the right direction, but the board couldn't deal with the superintendent making decisions. I doubt they'll ever get a superintendent who will be to their liking. To succeed, Dist. 209 needs to hire a man and actually let him run things! Until this happens, the schools will continue to slide downward.