If they have any political instincts — and it is doubtful — the majority of members of the school board at Proviso Township High School District 209 ought to know by now that they have lost.
The strike by teachers and staff at their high school has gone on for two weeks. There is currently a spring break which should not preclude the obstinate school superintendent from negotiating a settlement. But it won’t.
Meanwhile a growing number of elected officials across Proviso are declaring solidarity with the teachers union, and publicly, directly criticizing the board and administration.
It is more than notable that elected leaders have come down so strongly for teachers and so critically against the district. Among them are Forest Park Mayor Rory Hoskins and Commissioner Maria Maxham, former editor of the Review. Also standing in opposition are Brandon Johnson and Frank Aguilar, the two Cook County Commissioners who represent Proviso.
This board has followed Supt. James Henderson straight into a concrete wall. After two years of COVID upending any sort of school normalcy, the district has now created an adversarial strike situation with its faculty, lost the respect of its students, frustrated parents and is watching as fellow elected officials create full separation.
Honestly, we are not hopeful about any quick resolution to this strike. If there is a path, it is in the board plucking up its courage and demoting Henderson from his position as chief provocateur on the negotiating team and installing its own members into the leadership of this most critical board function.
And if discussions have not already begun on buying the superintendent out of the absurdly long contract this board has gifted him, well then time’s a wasting.
Congratulations to Allison Davenport, CEO of Riveredge Hospital in Forest Park, on being recognized as a “Notable Executive of Color in Health Care” by Crain’s.
A veteran at Riveredge, but CEO only since September 2021, Davenport has helped lead this critical mental health institution through the turmoil of COVID. Rightly though, she sees a silver lining in this pandemic as it has altered, hopefully forever, the public’s perception of mental health, the pervasiveness of mental illness, and the benefits of addressing its impact directly and early.
Forest Park is fortunate to be the home of Riveredge Hospital.