A goal since the election in April, the Proviso Township High School District 209 board advertised a request for proposals (RFP) for a new district law firm Monday. 

Michael Del Galdo and later Del Galdo Law Group have served as the district’s lawyers since 2007, when attorneys Odelson and Sterk were booted from the district in a split vote. Since then, Del Galdo has been a heavy contributor to school board election campaigns, including paying an in-kind donation of $8,214.14 for printing and campaign materials for candidates in the Proviso Children First Party. Those candidates were defeated in the April 7 election. Del Galdo has also been a heavy supporter of former board president and current 7th District State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch. 

The decision to issue the RFP was debated for months, with former board president Dan Adams insisting that no change was needed because Del Galdo was, in his opinion, an exceptional law firm. 

At a committee of the whole meeting, the board hammered out qualifications they wanted in a new firm, and the RFP language was approved unanimously at a special meeting, Sept. 2.

The bid request asks potential candidates to demonstrate experience in special education, student discipline and student rights, TIF districts, human resources and grievance, and mediation procedures. 

The board also asks potential law firms to identify high school districts they have represented for more than three years. 

Perhaps because the district’s legal bills have been challenged over the years by D209 school board members, the district’s current bid request asks potential law firms to spell out a fee structure, including what services would be included in a monthly retainer, and fees for phone calls and other legal procedures.

The district bid request also makes it clear that they prefer attorneys who belong to professional associations, including the Illinois Council of School Attorneys and the National School Boards Association, and to the district’s insurance cooperative, CLIC. They want firms who employ Spanish-speaking lawyers and have a workforce that is racially diverse. They also ask that the firm offer professional development opportunities for staff and board members. 

The RFP requests three high school district references. 

Bids will be accepted at the district offices, and the board will use a rubric to score firms based on qualifications requested, the announcement says. A decision will be made at the board’s Oct. 13 meeting, and the law firm will start in November.

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...