Now that the construction of the Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy is complete, irresponsible spending and political contracts at District 209 have gone slightly underground.
However, judging by the lucrative contract awarded to public relations firm Danielle Ashley Advertising, the waste is still substantial. Board president Chris Welch and his peers in the board majority clearly have no interest in putting a stop to the astronomical bills, and the board minority is powerless to do so.
The only people with a chance of turning Proviso back into a school district instead of a money funnel are its top administrators, Chief Education Officer Robert Libka and Interim Superintendent Phylistine Murphy.
For six months now, Libka has prefaced every interview by stating that he is a newly hired administrator. He seems always to be in the process of researching, never in the process of doing.
A job at the helm of a district with as many problems as Proviso can certainly be intimidating, and we can understand needing an adjustment period, but after six months in charge, the “new guy” excuse is wearing thin. Finding items to cut in the Proviso budget could be accomplished in minutes, not months, if it were a priority.
We hope that Libka makes good on his promise to announce significant cuts in the next month. If he does not, voters will certainly take note when the district asks for the tax increase it will surely need to continue operating its new magnet school.
Editorials are just opinions
Over the past few weeks, the Review has received several calls from readers taking issue with our opinion columnists. In recent days, the criticism has spread to cyberspace. Most have complained that the page is unbalanced and regularly contains an anti-administration slant.
We admit that there is some truth to these accusations. Though none of the columnists who write for us were brought onboard because of their frequent disagreement with the current village council majority, many seem to have developed these views over time. Their opinions, however, are solely their own, and we strive to ensure the news coverage that helps them form these opinions is as balanced as possible.
But a forum for open discussion of village issues is one of the most important services a newspaper can provide the community it serves. We currently have a full roster of five columnists, each of whom we feel does an excellent job of expressing personal views, regardless of whether we agree. Certainly, if one of our columnists were to depart, we would seek to add someone to the rotation who might help balance the views expressed on the opinion page.
However, as a newspaper we are in the freedom of speech business, and we would certainly never consider silencing a columnist because of the views they express, based on their experience living in Forest Park and dealing with local government. We edit opinion columns for grammar and factual accuracy, but do not censor anyone’s views.
As always, we invite and urge any readers who disagree with any opinions expressed in the Review to write letters to the editor. As long as letters are not anonymous or exceedingly offensive, they will be printed in the earliest possible edition after they are received, and will be displayed right alongside the opinion columns.