Money and politics in Proviso

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These are, admittedly, early numbers. But looking at sources and at proportions, it is clear that the funding for the contested election for the school board at Proviso Township High Schools is running true to form.

The Review looked at early filings with the State Board of Elections, which requires larger donations to be more actively reported. Unfortunately, history tells us the bulk of the contributions will come too late in the election cycle to be fully reported before the April 4 vote. 

However, as of March 7, the incumbent slate (aka Proviso First, the State Rep. Chris Welch/Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico slate) is piling up cash with $11,250 in larger donations on hand. 

As usual, it is coming from people and places who could give a fig about educating our kids, who have no connection beyond politics to the failed school district Welch built over a decade of board leadership.

The challengers, the grassroots Proviso Together slate, reported having considerably less money, just $2,000 in large donations.

Connie Brown, the owner of Brown Cow Ice Cream and the chair of the parent-led Proviso Together slate, told our reporter that the slate has now received roughly 200 contributions but that they average between $50 and $100. About right for a school board election.

This is the tale of this election. You have big money, big political gifts trying to re-elect a narrow majority of the old guard, the old guard that drove this district into the ditch for their own political benefit. 

Competing against them, and trying to continue its winning streak from two years ago when it elected three reformers to the board, is a genuine, township-wide movement of parents who want to take back their schools: Proviso Together.

In today's Review, reporter Thomas Vogel connects the political dots in the funding of Proviso First incumbents. Largely the cash infusion comes from politicians with strong ties to either Welch or Serpico. This is nothing but the mutual backscratching that makes Cook County and Proviso politics so perverse. One politician with a supersized war chest giving money to another pol or, in this case, that pol's minions.  

That's why Cook County Commissioner and McCook Mayor Jeff Tobolski forked over $1,000 to Proviso First on Feb. 1. 

"The folks have done a good job," he told us.

No they haven't. The outcome of their leadership is disastrous. Their motives are entirely suspect. 

Here's proof that Tobolski's own motives are not pure. He is a major donor to  Christopher Getty, the mayor of Lyons. In the past two years, Getty has engineered a wholesale takeover of the school board in Elementary District 103. That would be the schools in Lyons, Stickney, Forest View, McCook and part of Brookfield. That school district has now become a satellite for Lyons Village Hall with cronies and hacks installed to run the schools.

Politicians need to keep their grimy hands off schools. Proviso high schools have been fighting to get out of that political rat hole. Looking at the early sources of cash for the incumbents in this race makes clear the intention is to block that exit.

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