Proviso High School District 209 is an institution in need of innovation on all fronts – including finance. So the news this week that its new finance director, Todd Drafall, had secured an unusual type of state-backed bonds is good news.
The $1.4 million bond, which is targeted for school districts with high concentrations of poverty, is a small amount that will make a small dent in an expansive list of long delayed building repairs at Proviso East. One-third of the money will be eaten up just fixing the ceiling of the fieldhouse. After that Drafall said he chose a raft of small projects off a district punch list of essential fixes – door assemblies, replacing missing tile, substituting glass with tempered glass.
But it is something. It is fresh energy. It is an effort to draw resources in to this district.
We’d note that Proviso is one of a handful of Illinois school districts whose finances are effectively being run by a state-appointed body of overseers. That happened for good reasons and none of those reasons had to do with Proviso Township High Schools being cash-starved. Rather this school district has been perpetually mismanaged by self-interested school boards and poor administrators.
The historic problem at Proviso hasn’t been a lack of money from taxpayers. It has been the way those resources have been allocated.