We are going to take it as a last gasp from a now failed and dethroned majority on the school board at the Proviso Township High Schools.

It is not much of an excuse for the incendiary language used by Arbdella Patterson, the former board president, at a May 16 board meeting when she turned to Supt. James Henderson and said, “You are being lynched. You know how they used to do back in the day.”

Absurd, hate-filled and wildly inappropriate but not a surprising reaction from Patterson who has defended this superintendent through all of his insider deals, morale-crushing actions and disregard for taxpayers over his short tenure. 

Patterson’s venom came as a newly elected board majority seemingly attempted to put boundaries around Henderson and his secretive but free-spending ways. The actions of this new board played out first in executive session and then spilled into the open meeting.

It was awkward and confusing and the new board leadership gets no points for not being more direct in its intentions to rein in Henderson either during the meeting or afterward when members in the majority declined to speak to the Review. One board member, Samuel Valtierrez, responded to an email from the Review but declined to comment. To his credit, Valtierrez voted with the majority to impose the undisclosed limits on Henderson.

As they make their case for what has to be the imminent dismissal of Henderson, this board will need to be open in making their case and explaining to the public what their plan is for fixing the leadership of this district.

Meanwhile Patterson has revealed herself fully. She does not surprise but she does appall.

West40 lives large

It is absolutely true that large public high schools are not for every student. Or that, for some period within a four-year high school career, some students need an alternative setting. 

So good for the West40 educational cooperative that it is building a new facility for such students from the 40 West Cook school districts it serves. And while we understand that sites for such a new school are limited, we have mixed feelings about West40 purchasing the 30-acre site of the former St. Joseph High School in Westchester for a school being planned for only some 40 students. 

The deal is done. Renovation has actually begun. And West40 is making the right comments about looking for ways to open this campus to community uses. 

Seems clear that the dysfunction that has racked Westchester’s village government over recent years kept it from focusing fully on turning this prime parcel into a development that would pay property taxes benefiting the community. So count this as a major lost opportunity for that town. 

Meanwhile, best face forward and welcome to West40 and its new school.