Of all the worthless layers of government in Illinois, the most worthless is the obsolete contraption of the “township school treasurer.” Proviso Township, of course, has such an entity, paying out generous salaries, clogging up accountability that should be on the shoulders of the local school districts, and giving deniability to those same districts which can legitimately claim they don’t have full control over their own tax dollars.

And while regular readers know we have been critical, sometimes brutally so, toward the administration and the board of the District 209 Proviso Township High Schools, that administration gets credit for the bright light being cast by its CFO in his effort to illuminate the shadowy ways and archaic practices of the office run the past quarter century by one Daniel Coglianese. Coglianese, a retired superintendent from D89 in Maywood, was paid more than $96,000 last year by the township and received a $106,000 pension from the Teachers Retirement System.

The efforts of Todd Drafall, the high school district’s CFO, to persistently, thoughtfully press this office to produce information, to open its books, to segregate the funds of each member district in its recordkeeping, seem to be having impact. Maybe not the desired impact, but certainly telling impact.

Last week the Township School Treasurer held an important meeting of its constituent members of local elementary school districts and the District 209 high schools. Except that District 209’s Drafall was specifically excluded from the invite list. 

The meeting was held by Coglianese to explain that his office was, along with some 300 other local Illinois taxing bodies, an investor in a well-regarded investment fund that had, in turn, been defrauded in one of its investments. The immediate hit to the Proviso Township School Treasurer’s office was $2 million, though some funds are already in the process of being recovered.

While not ideal, there is no shame for the treasurer’s office in finding itself in this position. There is shame though in actively excluding a legitimate critic from an informational meeting. Drafall heard about the meeting, showed up at the appointed hour in Westchester and was turned away.  

That feckless action by Coglianese followed a Jan. 9 letter he had sent to Drafall that is one of the great rants – or to use Coglianese’s preferred typography RANTS – that we’ve seen a government office ever discharge. Stop making demands. Stop talking to the Forest Park Review. Stop talking to other government bodies about how to abolish my office and my paycheck.

Or what, Mr. Coglianese? YOU GOING TO HOLD YOUR BREATH?

A decade ago, the public high school in Oak Park worked with a friendly state legislator to pass legislation forcing the abolition of the Cicero Township School Treasurer’s office. Same issues. Same nonsense. Same turf protection. 

So paging Rep. Chris Welch. Are you ready, sir, to help your old school district get out from under this albatross? This is the moment.

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