Proviso Together, the political organization that ran its first slate of Proviso Township High School District 209 school board candidates in April 2015, is officially supporting two incumbent candidates for the board in this spring’s election.

With a majority on the D209 board at present, the goal for Proviso Together during the COVID-19 crisis is to ensure the reelection of Amanda Grant and Rodney Alexander.

“With the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, we believed that keeping Rodney and Amanda on the Proviso District 209 School Board needed to be our overriding priority,” said Proviso Together in a statement.

Pointing to the commitment of volunteers, donors and supporters as the success behind the Proviso Together movement, the group said that in talking to residents from most of the Proviso towns to get signatures for Grant and Alexander that there is great support for the candidates.

“We take this is a sign that the community by and large feels that things are going in the right direction and they want to continue forward with [Alexander] and [Grant] and the board members who share their values,” said Proviso Together in their statement.

Proviso Together pointed to three values that were originally part of their organization and are represented by both candidates:

– putting the students at all three schools first in their decision making,

– taking their financial oversight responsibilities seriously, and

– staying relentlessly committed to giving every student in District 209 the best education possible.

Accomplishments listed by Proviso Together that have been made in the four years since Alexander and Grant have been on the board and since Proviso Together has had a voting majority include:

–          the start of a badly needed facilities improvement plan,

–          the creation of advanced math and science academies at Proviso East and Proviso West that will bring the rigorous curriculum of PMSA to all 3 high schools, and

–          District 209’s graduation out of the state’s financial oversight due to the excellent financial management of the district.

As individuals, Alexander spearheaded the parent engagement committee and Grant has taken a leadership role on the Finance Committee.

According to Proviso Together, “We don’t expect the board members to be in lock step together, but we expect them to care about the success of our students and district, and you can see Rodney and Amanda caring, asking questions, and working together for the best of the students. Finally, they both have children that will soon be attending District 209, so we are confident that they will continue their good work on the Board.” 

The other two candidates for the four D209 board seats are incumbents Sam Valtierrez and Della Patterson.

Forest Park resident Ken Snyder, who has been the volunteer coordinator of Proviso Together since its inception, challenged Valtierrez’ petitions to run for the board, but has since withdrawn his objection.

“Right before the deadline, and without talking to the rest of the team, I made a quick decision to challenge Sam’s petitions,” Snyder said. “It immediately became clear that it was a mistake that was only going to distract from the important job of educating our students and I withdrew the objection.”

Connie Brown is the campaign chair for Proviso Together and has temporarily taken over as treasurer. But the Proviso Together movement, said Brown, “is bigger than any person, or even the board members who represent it.”

“It is the collective of hundreds of supporters and volunteers across 10 towns who are relentlessly committed to ensuring every student in District 209 receives the very best education available,” Brown said.