Supporters of Proviso School District 209 board President Theresa Kelly are organizing to attend tonight’s board meeting at 7:30 p.m. at Proviso West High School, 4701 Harrison St. in Hillside, to support her presidency.
Kelly said that board Vice President Kevin McDermott proposed a change to the term length of the board’s president, reducing it from two years to one year.
The action item will come up during the first reading of the board’s policy manual update. The board periodically updates its policy manual to keep its policies current with recommendations made by the Illinois Association of School Boards, according to a memo to the board.
However, Kelly said McDermott requested a change after the agenda had been set, reducing the board president’s term. The agenda was later updated to reflect the request (https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=38558045).
“I’m halfway through my term,” Kelly said. “If you want to make a change like that, it should at least start with the next president when I’m finished with my term.”
Kelly said the reasoning behind the proposed term limit change is entirely political. Kelly said that those board members who are up for election in 2017 are hoping to remove her as president in order to appoint one of their own before the election. Kelly also suggested that after the election in 2017, the board could simply vote to change the term length again, from one year to two years or to four years.
“There’s nothing that would hold them from doing that,” Kelly said. Instead, she suggested, “Let’s come together and sit around a table and work together. We have more important things to be looking at.”
Kelly said that under her leadership, the board has made great strides for the benefit of the district. These accomplishments include bringing a restorative justice program to Proviso, updating severely outdated textbooks, bringing in a new principal at Proviso East and hiring a new superintendent.
“I’m not supportive of the [proposed] change,” Kelly said. “The question you have to ask is, ‘What is the reasoning behind it?'”
McDermott did not respond to interview requests sent to his Proviso email address by deadline.