In a 4-3 vote, the Proviso High School Dist. 209 school board approved a contract to install a sidewalk on the stretch of 1st Avenue between the intersection with Roosevelt Road and the end of the school building, located at 8601 Roosevelt Road.

The sidewalk was required as part of a zoning variance granted to the school district by the village of Forest Park in 2004. The contract was granted to J&J Contractors, Inc. at $22,900.

Board member Theresa Kelly objected to the sidewalk. “I don’t understand ” it’s a sidewalk going to nowhere…the cemetery (across 1st Avenue) doesn’t have a sidewalk,” said Kelly, noting that since the school district is a state agency, it does not need to accept the village’s request.

Board member Charles Flowers suggested deferring the installation until the village of Forest Park installs a sidewalk, as he said it had agreed to do, alongside the cemetery.

Forest Park Village Administrator Michael Sturino said the village had never made such an agreement.

“I think they’re confused with the Woodlawn Funeral Home, which we did require to install a sidewalk as well,” he said.

“Our position all along…has been that because there’s redevelopment at that location we require it at this time, and as circumstances warrant we will require other property owners to install sidewalks,” he said.

Installation of sidewalks, he noted, is the responsibility of property owners, not the village.

The sidewalk installation was also on the agenda at the board’s last two meetings, but the board postponed voting on the issue due to similar objections from Flowers and Kelly.

Board objects to elimination
of free summer school

The Dist. 209 school board declined to vote on a proposed summer school schedule at its Monday night meeting, with members strongly objecting to the elimination of free summer school for failing students.

In the past, students who were mandated to attend summer school because of poor academic performance have been exempt from fees, but this year district staff attempted to change this practice.

“At the committee and cabinet level, we felt it was better not to reward students for failing,” said Chief Education Officer Robert Libka.

Board member Theresa Kelly disagreed: “We will have a lower graduation rate if students are not allowed to come for free,” she said. “We are in a low income area ” people don’t have money for summer school.”

Libka said that he was working to attract more students to summer schools through new classes and programs. “I think we share the same goals,” he told Kelly.

The proposed schedule had summer school starting June 12 and ending July 20, with a cost per course of $105 for students in the district and $210 for out of district students.

Students required to take summer school would have had to pay registration fees of $50 for early registration, $75 for regular registration and $100 if they registered late.

Board member Sue Henry, who had seconded a motion to approve the summer school schedule, withdrew her second after finding out that the plan included elimination of free summer school.

The board then directed Libka to rethink the schedule and bring it back at a future meeting.