In today’s Review we have two lengthy stories that leave us with nothing but misgivings about the deteriorating state of the leadership of Proviso Township High Schools.

Four District 209 teachers — one fired, one resigned, one reassigned, one removed from a summer school post — have filed suit against the district and its superintendent, James Henderson. The reality is the suit is against Henderson, with his enabling board majority playing their inexplicable bit part.

Henderson’s endless string of hostile actions toward teachers over his two years, inevitably brought this response. His dismantling of so many aspects of a district that had finally begun to make some progress is fully unchecked by the school board.

Amanda Grant, a veteran school board member and a rare rational voice on this board, is also raising her voice loudly and attempting to get the attention of Proviso taxpayers as Henderson has put forward a curious and audacious borrowing plan for the district. Promoted as a plan to speed funding for future capital improvements, we see it as an ill-considered and unstudied power grab by a superintendent who again turns to outside consultants while diminishing all internal financial controls and cuts the school board out of its legitimate financial review responsibilities. 

This district is only recently out from under the thumb of a state takeover of its finances that lasted for years. Henderson is setting the stage for a return to those hard days.

On all fronts this school district is in trouble. Supporting students and teachers seems an afterthought as money is diverted to other uses, teachers are denigrated, and students who protest are castigated. 

Something is seriously wrong in this district. How long will the school board allow it to continue?

Make Altenheim greener

We’ve admired the open and public process the village’s Altenheim Committee has taken over past months. A strong group of volunteers and a respected outside consultant have worked intentionally toward final recommendations they have now put forward.

Why such an effort could not have been made earlier in the 20-year odyssey of this village-owned 11 acres of open space is quite beyond us. But now the work is done and it is left to the next village council to accept, reject or alter the proposal coming from the committee.

Our sense of the proposal is that it is too heavy on residential development and too light on focused, purposeful green space. Preserving this open land was the initial impulse for the village acquiring the large open parcel two decades back. Turning it into predominantly modern townhouses and other modest forms of housing has neither the upside of a sharp boost in tax dollars nor the perpetual benefit of open space in a landlocked village.

The next iteration of the village council will have an early and profound decision to make as it prepares a Request for Proposal from potential developers. 

Go green is our strong advice.