Proviso Township High School District 209 Superintendent Nettie Collins-Hart.

It may be too cold for school at Proviso Township High School District 209, but board members will be meeting tonight at Proviso Math and Science Academy to determine the future of the contract of Superintendent Nettie Collins-Hart.

Collins-Hart got a year-long extension last February in a procedurally garbled re-vote of the D 209 Financial Oversight Panel. At last year’s meeting, the majority of the FOP initially voted against extending her contract, but then Kenneth Walls changed his vote, saying he didn’t understand what he was voting on. During the re-vote, Walls changed his vote, making a three to two vote supporting the contract. Voting for the contract were Craig Schilling, Kenneth Walls and Edward Porter. Voting against were James Popernik and Merilee McKracken. 

The vote caused dissent in the FOP, and volunteer board chairman Jim Popernik left the board in protest after the February, 2013 meeting. Schilling became the new chair. Popernik was replaced by former West Harvey-Dixmoor finance director Socrates Rivers. 

The one-year contract extension was a compromise crafted by the district’s financial oversight panel, which has new powers under the Illinois State Board of Education’s “1H” designation. The new status gives finance panels in the state the power to hire and fire both district superintendents and finance directors. Even though the FOP has the power to exclusively hire a superintendent, this board appears to want to involve elected school board members in their decision.  

Collins-Hart is up for a two-year extension on her contract today.

Collins- Hart is the longest serving superintendent the district has seen in ten years, going on her sixth year at the district’s helm. Last year she was a finalist in a three-way contest for superintendent in the St. Cloud, Minn. school district, but did not get the position.

The Finance Oversight Panel meeting begins at 5 p.m. followed by a joint meeting of the board and FOP at 6:30 p.m. 

This story has been updated to indicate votes of spceific FOP board members in the February vote.

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...

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