Heated words were exchanged at the May meeting of the Proviso High School District 209 school board when board members questioned a roof repair contract they say was awarded without sufficient explanation.

The contract for roofing replacements at Proviso East and West High Schools was awarded to West Chicago based American Roofing and Repair, which will receive $508,560 for its work. Eight companies bid on the project, with the second lowest offer coming from A-1 Roofing of Elk Grove Village at $538,250.

Some board members objected, stating that the board had never been given any information justifying the need for the repairs.

“I’m not against this kind of project, I just want to have some information so I can make an informed decision,” said board member Charles Flowers.

“We haven’t been given any pictures or any specs showing damage to the roof…where is the fire? Why are we in such a rush to do this?” added board member Theresa Kelly.

Board President Chris Welch seemed frustrated by the opposition, accusing Flowers and Kelly of playing politics.

“We have qualified professionals making recommendations to make repairs…I don’t understand how this board goes from a policy making body to micromanaging people paid to do their jobs,” he said.

Superintendent Phylistine Murphy and Chief Education Officer Robert Libka both said that they had received professional opinions that the repairs were needed, but board members said these opinions had not been shared with them.

“In many meetings, our architects have said that the deferral (of the repairs) had gone on far too long,” said Libka.

The board voted 3-2 in favor of approving the contract, with Flowers and Kelly voting against it. Board members Gary Marine and Shirley Madlock were absent from the meeting.

Another repair contract on the agenda, this one for “life safety renovations for general construction improvement” to both high schools, was tabled so that further bids could be solicited. Only two bids had been received at the time of the meeting, with the lower coming from J&J Contractors Inc. of North Barrington at $618,900.