A promising hire at D209

Opinion

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Proviso District 209 has a new superintendent. That's the good news. The interim arrangement was inadequate and dragged on far too long. If any district in the Chicago area needs a solid, strong superintendent at the helm, it's Dist. 209. And the early reports on Stan Fields are promising. He was a respected administrator at Morton District 201, which, like 209, has its challenges. We hope his experience there will serve him well-as will his experience as superintendent at Mundelein District 120. We wish him well, and we wish him luck.

He'll need it.

Now if the dysfunctional Proviso school board can stay out of his way, perhaps Dist. 209 can move forward. That, of course, would involve spending less time playing politics and more time focusing on educational advancement. Whether this board can accomplish that is the big question, but if they can, now would be the time to start. Surely, Fields knows what he's getting into, so it won't be a surprise, but if he has to spend too much time babysitting squabbling factions, it will obviously reduce his overall effectiveness.

Now is the time to come together. Somehow, maybe by sheer dumb luck, the board seems to have made a good hire. Yes, the board minority is disappointed that their candidate wasn't selected, but it's reassuring to know they had more than one solid prospect to choose from.

The choice has been made, however, and rather than regard the new superintendent with suspicion because of who voted for him, we hope the board minority will give him a chance and work with him. Meanwhile, the board majority needs to allow him to do his job without throwing too many obstacles in his path.

There's a window of opportunity here. We hope the new superintendent is up to the challenge, and we hope the board doesn't blow it.

It's time to move forward at Proviso.

Hire someone to check residency

Over at District 91, meanwhile, they have a solid superintendent, but maybe Randolph Tinder would be even more effective if he weren't running around investigating the residency status of students. Forest Parkers have long been touchy about "border jumpers," people who send their kids to local schools even though they don't live here. The issue is a real one, but we agree with Tinder that people exaggerate the size of the problem. It amounts to only a few students every year and though the situation needs to be addressed, it is by no means a rampant epidemic.

On the other hand, some resources need to be applied to the problem, and the idea of the superintendent running around checking residency when he could be addressing weightier concerns is worrisome. The board and Tinder should give more thought to having someone else do this thankless but necessary task.

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