Nettie Collins-Hart will continue as superintendent of Proviso Township High School District 209 for another two years, after a joint meeting of the D209 Board of Education and the Financial Oversight Panel voted to renew her contract, Jan. 28.
Collins-Hart is the district’s longest-serving superintendent in decades. She is finishing her sixth year at the district’s helm. With the new contract, she earns $241,370 base salary after receiving a $5,000 raise in December. She also gets a $9,000 annuity and $48,888.60 in other benefits.
The vote was not unanimous. Board members Theresa Kelly and Kevin McDermott voted against the contract. The oversight panel voted unanimously to approve the contract.
McDermott had harsh words for Collins-Hart’s performance.
“I have lost faith, and lost my trust, in her ability to lead,” he said in a prepared statement before the vote.
McDermott complained in the statement that Collins had presided over the “shocking drop-off in test scores” for Proviso Math and Science Academy (PMSA). Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE) math scores fell at PMSA by 11 percent and science scores tumbled 20 percent in one year.
McDermott also said Collins-Hart ignored requests from the board to explain the test-score drop and “actively obstructed board initiatives.” McDermott summed up the superintendent’s six-year legacy as leading to “a few marginal improvements.”
“I believe she has been untruthful with me and with others on this board,” he added.
Members of the oversight panel worked with board members in an ad hoc group to craft a contract for the extension.
Vice President Brian Cross said after the meeting he appreciated the cooperation between the board and the FOP, which soothes a rocky relationship between two boards sometimes at odds.
“I’m very pleased with the process,” Cross said. “It was extremely collaborative.”
“I hope this experience continues and we have a great relationship with the FOP,” Cross added.
Cross also praised Collins-Hart’s performance.
“We have made incremental changes, over the past six years,” he said. “I wish Dr. Collins-Hart the best of luck for the next two years. I hope for nothing but the best.”