Proviso Township High Schools District 209 is beginning a transition that could see the end of the state-appointed Financial Oversight Panel’s (FOP) supervision by summer 2016.
At a special joint meeting of the District 209 Board of Education and the FOP on Tuesday, May 27, Dr. Craig Schilling, chairman of the FOP, presented a tentative timeline that, if successful, would see the FOP exit from its oversight of the District in June 2016.
"The last year has been really good," Dr. Schilling said. "I think we’re making progress."
District 209 has been under the supervision of the FOP since 2008, when the District voluntarily requested that the State intervene due to its financial deficit. During the summer of 2012, the District was unsuccessful in its appeal to the State to be removed from oversight, and in fact, the State implemented a new statute which gave the FOP greater authority. Over time, the District has moved from a budget deficit of approximately $15 million in 2007 to balanced budgets in every year since fiscal year 2010, placing the District in the State of Illinois’ highest category, "financial recognition."
Under the plan presented by Dr. Schilling, the Board of Education and the FOP would work together in assessing the District’s progress on benchmarks including its financial stability, administrative leadership, the development of the Board, academic achievement, and human resources. This includes making projections on enrollment and staffing, ensuring that programs are financially stable and viable, and that the District is ensuring that its budget is balanced.
The FOP and the Board would evaluate the District’s progress on the benchmarks in March 2015 and March 2016, with the FOP tentatively making a recommendation to end its oversight to the Illinois State Board of Education in April 2016.
Mr. Brian Cross, vice president of the District 209 Board of Education, said at the meeting where the plan was revealed that the plan was reasonable. Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209, said that the District has been working toward this point for some time.
"I thank the FOP for their assistance during the last six years, and I am confident that we can move forward as a school district," Dr. Collins-Hart said. "I will say that the technical assistance provided by the FOP has been invaluable in our efforts to restore financial stability."