SOUTH HOLLAND, Ill., April 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In a breach of protocol, newly elected members of the Thornton Township High School District 205 board had themselves sworn in Thursday by a Cook County Circuit Court judge in Markham ahead of Monday's scheduled board transition.
The move follows a months-long battle between newly elected and current board members over a proposal to transform Thornridge High School into a freshman academy. The academy was part of an $18 million federal School Improvement Grant the district won last fall calling for bold and dramatic change to raise academic performance. Currently, 43 percent of the district's incoming freshmen read at a 5th grade level and more than 80 percent aren't ready for high school.
Outgoing District 205 board President Rev. Dr. Carl E. King called the emergency swearing in "unnecessary, unprofessional and spiteful." He also said it was a deliberate attempt to usurp current board member's authority in their final hours of service.
"As adults, we need to be mindful of what we say and do, because children are watching," King said. "The emphasis of the current board has always been on the children. It's clear the new board members are more interested in personal attacks, self-aggrandizement and back door maneuvering than in making a smooth transition and bringing honor to the offices for which they have been elected."
"Let this be a lesson to the people in the 13 communities the district serves that the incoming board members are willing to go outside of established protocols to get what they want."
King plans to deliver a statement at Monday's board meeting, the final one over which he is to preside, encouraging the new board to work diligently to improve academic deficiencies; to be fiscally conservative with the budget surplus; to ensure upkeep of district facilities; and to honor the district's anti-nepotism policy.
King and outgoing board members Dr. Sallie Penman and Vanessa Bradley, as well as Supt. Dr. Kamala Buckner, supported the freshmen academy concept. The parents' group ran a slate against them and filed a lawsuit to block it; that case is pending. Dr. Buckner recently announced she would step down to allow the new board time to make decisions about its leadership.
SOURCE Rev. Dr. Carl E. King