In an effort to cut spending and bring District 209 closer to its balanced budget initiative, board members this month ended several vendor contracts and asked administrators to restructure the district’s controversial agreement with a Chicago lobbyist.
In July, David A. Bonoma and Associates signed a one-year deal with the school system worth $8,000 a month to provide lobbying and consulting services. According to that contract, Bonoma would represent the district’s three high schools to state, county and local governing bodies.
At an Oct. 15 meeting, board members voted 6-1 to eliminate the monthly fee and pay the firm on an hourly basis. Board member Theresa Kelly cast the lone vote against the change, arguing that Proviso doesn’t need a lobbyist in the first place.
School officials did not offer any estimates on how much money the new payment structure might save the district. A spokesperson for Proviso said he was not aware of the hourly rate and believed the school was still negotiating with the lobbyist.
A call to Bonoma’s office was not returned.
Offsetting any savings that might result from the new contract, however, was the hiring of another Chicago firm to provide website and Internet software services. That firm, uxCast, will be paid $8,000 per month over a 12-month period.
Contracts with Advanced Business Tech, a copy machine maintenance company, and Ms. Roberts Beauty Academy, which provided instructional services, were also terminated. Eliminating those expenses will save the district an estimated $52,000, according to a written statement released by the district’s public relations firm.
District 209 is in the midst of trying to cut its expenses after adopting a budget at the start of the school year that included an estimated $11 million in deficit spending. Two of the three employee unions recently rejected a furlough proposal that would have docked two week’s worth of pay. Administrators have said they are considering layoffs as a way of shrinking the projected deficit.