High schools facing $6.5M budget deficit

A preliminary budget proposal for the 2008-09 school year at Proviso Township high schools has a projected deficit of more than $6.5 million, according to a memo from the superintendent. Board members for District 209 heard the preliminary budget proposal during an Aug. 18 meeting and are expected to adopt the $78.6 million spending plan next month. It is expected that a series of spending cuts will be made before the final budget is adopted in September.

“If budget cutting does not occur, the district can be certified by the Illinois State Board of Education in financial distress,” Superintendent Nettie Collins-Hart said in a memo to the board. Proviso Township High School District 209 is already on the state’s financial watch list.

Copies of the tentative budget are available to the public at each of the three campuses and in municipal libraries in the district. The budget can be viewed until Sept. 22 when the board will meet to hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. at Proviso East High School.

Settlement likely in brutality claim

A man who has accused police of physically abusing him during an arrest in October 2005 is nearing a settlement with the village regarding his claims. According to U.S. District Court records, attorneys for Jeams Potts and the municipality reviewed the terms of the agreement with a judge July 14. The parties were given 30 days to put the settlement in writing, but it is not clear whether the terms will be made public. An attorney for the plaintiff declined to discuss the details of the agreement citing a potential confidentiality clause. A hearing in the case is scheduled for Aug. 26.

According to Potts’ claim, Forest Park officers arrested him without cause and then beat, kicked and dragged Potts through the police station.

Schools hire full-time computer administrator

A new, full-time administrative position in the K-8 public schools was filled this month when board members voted to hire a network coordinator.

Miguel Marco will oversee District 91’s computer networks. The board’s Aug. 14 vote to hire Marco brings to an end a decades-long practice of outsourcing the responsibility to a vendor. Superintendent Lou Cavallo recently asked the board to hire a third-party vendor to assess the network’s needs, speculating that the $90,000 annual contract with the previous network administrator did not represent the best option. The salary for the new position is $58,000, according to Cavallo.

Festival to feature local barbecue

A Forest Park restaurant is among several Roosevelt Road businesses taking part in street fair this weekend celebrating a rebirth of the commercial route.

Smokin’ M’s, at 7507 Roosevelt Road, will be serving up barbecue at the first Roosevelt Road Summer Spectacular Street Fair on Saturday, Aug. 23.

The festival, billed as a green fair, is sponsored by the Roosevelt Road Business Association, which is a cooperative of nearby Berwyn, Cicero and Oak Park. Local businesses with eco-friendly goods or services will be at the fair along with four music acts and other restaurant owners.

The street fair will be on Roosevelt between East and Oak Park avenues from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.