Proviso Township High Schools is poised to celebrate. After two years, the school system has officially been removed from the Illinois State Board of Education’s financial watch list.
“With the hard work of the Proviso Township High School Board of Education, the administrators, and the voluntary financial oversight panel, the district has greatly improved its finances and is no longer on financial watch,” said Illinois State Board of Education Division Administrator Debbie Vespa. “They have been working very hard—I know.”
PTHS 209 Superintendent Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart echoed that sentiment and commended her administration for a job well done.
Each year, the state board analyzes school districts' finances and designates them as financially sound, under review, under warning or--in the worst case--on a financial watch list. After implementing an intense deficit reduction plan and working with Proviso stakeholders to better manage finances and reduce deficit spending, PTHS has moved from financial watch to the second highest category.
This feat is especially remarkable considering the financial crisis many schools are facing in the state of Illinois. This month, the Illinois State Board of Education released its annual report on the financial health of school districts. As expected, in the current economy, the picture is grim with few exceptions. However, Proviso Township High Schools has been on a steady school improvement track. Finances have been one of the district’s top priorities. While most school districts have standing deficits of tens of millions of dollars, Proviso’s operating deficit for FY09 was under $1 million. This is a victory that PTHS 209 attributes to the hard work of administration, the Board of Education, and the cooperation of PTHS stakeholders.
“We are extremely happy and proud that our hard work and collaborations are moving our school district forward,” said Dr. Nikita Johnson, PTHS 209 Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations. “That is what it’s all about. Our focus has been on our students. We have had to constantly analyze how we can best serve them; how we can continue to improve our academic programming while also improving and monitoring our finances.”
PTHS 209 Board President Chris Welch said, “This took strong leadership from our Board of Education, and it also took collaboration from all of our stakeholders. So, this is a cause for celebration. Most importantly, it is a strong indicator that we are on the right track in all aspects of our school improvement initiatives. This accomplishment gives us momentum to keep moving forward and to keep getting better.”
Johnson said, PTHS 209 administrators and the Board of Education will continue to work together in order to maintain the fiscal health of Proviso Township High Schools. Administrators remain cautious yet optimistic as a fiscal crisis and funding adjustments at the state level will require school districts statewide to continue to closely monitor finances and spending through 2011.