An earlier vote by the village council not to allow a public high school in Forest Park to serve as a sort of satellite community college campus may be overturned. Village Administrator Mike Sturino predicted another vote on the issue could occur in August once several outstanding zoning issues have been dealt with.
“I believe that what the council did was to send (Proviso Township District 209) a message that when we impose requirements that they be adhered to,” Sturino said. “I believe the school district heard that message.”
At issue is a short list of broken promises made to the village by District 209 several years ago. As part of the agreement to construct the new high school on Roosevelt Road, the school was to submit the necessary paperwork to consolidate the land into one parcel. Also, landscaping and parking plans are yet to be remitted. The math and science academy is entering its third academic year.
With those issues still pending, a majority of the council balked at granting the district another variance needed to host college classes. Proviso Math and Science Academy Principal Ed Moyer said he understands the council’s position and is working to rectify the problem.
“In the past, the actions of the district–and this is just my opinion–there has been a bit of arrogance,” Moyer said.
Moyer left the district around the time the magnet school opened but was rehired at the start of the 2006-07 school year. Leadership has been inconsistent, he said, and has failed to view the municipality as an agency to partner with. That mindset is changing within the school, Moyer said, but District 209 must overcome its reputation with action.
“It’s a different day,” Moyer said. “Our actions, though, have to line up with that sentiment.”
Moyer and the high school district are asking to be allowed to host events outside of the typical classroom setting in conjunction with Triton College in River Grove. Triton, and perhaps other institutions of higher education, would use the facility to help train new teachers, conduct seminars and hold business meetings. Moyer said the idea is one he has been working on for some time, and hopes to see something in place this fall.
“Triton is the first step, but I have very high expectations for not only two-year but ultimately four-year colleges as well,” Moyer said.
Village Commissioner Mike Curry was among the majority of the council to vote against the variance in June, but said recently that he is in favor of the proposal and looks forward to voting in favor of it. Curry served as chairman of the zoning board when the magnet school plans were approved, and said that by allowing Proviso to violate the agreement the integrity of the approval process is undermined.
“Until you give me the things you promised, I’m not going to vote yes,” Curry said.