Edward Porter

Hillside attorney Edward Porter confirmed that he has resigned from his position as a community member on the Proviso Township High School Finance Oversight Panel (FOP), July 4. 

After serving for nearly two years on the oversight panel, Porter said, he felt burned out. He also said the group — consisting of three retired school finance professionals and two community members — was too “bogged down” with finances and couldn’t focus on students in the District 209 high schools.

“The FOP was spending too much time on little things like contractual concerns — when someone’s getting a contract or a raise on a contract,” Porter said in a phone interview.

He expressed frustration in his July 4 resignation letter to the board.

“I believe it is time for the FOP to get gone and concentrate on matters that do not severely affect the black community in Proviso Township.”

He referred to FOP Chair Craig Schilling and member Marilee McCracken as “obstructionists” saying, “Proviso will do well without your presence.” The letter referred to a jazz song by Oscar Brown Jr. titled “The Snake” about a woman taking a snake into her home and then being bitten.

A week later, Porter acknowledged his resignation letter “wasn’t very nice,” but he grew weary of financial nitpicking.

“When I first took that assignment, I thought we were going to focus in on kids,” he said. “All we do is talk about money.”

Porter, a friend of former board president Chris Welch, was a vocal critic of the FOP before being selected to be on the panel.

Porter was one of the protesters at a contentious May 2012 FOP meeting where community members carried signs, f-bombs flew, and white members of the panel were called “honkeys.”

Porter traveled to Springfield that May to ask the Illinois State Board of Elections to disband the FOP. He said he came to the realization he would rather volunteer his time with the students themselves since he had experience as a former state’s attorney’s office employee.

Porter will be replaced by someone chosen by “local legislators,” said Mary Fergus of the Illinois State Board of Education. Proviso’s local legislators include 7th District state Rep. Chris Welch and 4th District state Senator Kimberly Lightford.

Welch has been a critic of the FOP and begged the ISBE to dismantle it in May 2012.

The new FOP member will be announced Monday, said Fergus.

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