For Immediate Release
July 23, 2012

State Board of Education names members to expanded Financial Oversight Panel for Proviso Township High School District 209

Reorganized FOP helps Proviso District complete work toward financial stability to better serve students

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced Monday that it has named five members to the expanded Financial Oversight Panel (FOP) for Proviso Township High School District 209 with Dr. James Popernik resuming his role as the panel’s chair. The FOP, comprised of volunteers, will serve District 209 for at least three years in order to help the district achieve financial stability. 

“On behalf of the Board, I want to thank the FOP and District for the progress made thus far in improving finances in this district,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “We’re grateful for these citizens stepping up to offer their time and expertise in helping this district improve its financial health. Districts that are operating with a balanced budget are better able to serve students today and plan for the future.”

A Financial Oversight Panel exercises financial control over a school district and provides financial management expertise to assist a district in meeting obligations to creditors and debt holders. The reorganized Proviso Township FOP will convene its first meeting at 1 p.m. Tuesday, July 24 at the Proviso Math and Science Academy in Forest Park.

In 2008, Proviso Township High School District 209 petitioned ISBE to appoint a Financial Oversight Panel. Earlier this year, the Financial Oversight Panel petitioned ISBE to reorganize the FOP under legislation passed in 2011 that expands an FOP from three members to five. Also, as part of the new state law on FOPs, the district can only obtain an Emergency Assistance Loan if there is a FOP in place.

The ISBE-appointed members of the Proviso FOP are:

Dr. James Popernik, Controller for Downers Grove School District 58. Dr. Popernik is a retired administrator from Township High School District 214 and brings more than 30 years of school business finance experience to the Proviso Financial Oversight Panel and District.  His prior experience includes serving in an interim school business position at Homewood Elementary District 153 and an administrator position at Wheaton School District 200 and Homewood-Flossmoor High School District 233, as well as other school districts. Dr. Popernik will continue to serve as chairman of the FOP. He lives in Homer Glenn.

Ms. Merilee McCracken, retired Assistant Superintendent for Business Services from Maine Township High School District.  Since her retirement, Ms. McCracken now serves as the Interim Associate Superintendent for Business at Lincolnshire-Prairie View School District 103 and Palatine Community Consolidated School District 15.  Ms. McCracken is a previous member of the Board of Directors for the Illinois Association of School Business Officials. She lives in Arlington Heights.

Mr. Frank Lionel Montgomery, retired Assistant Principal for Student Life at Proviso West High School. Mr. Montgomery served in several capacities during his tenure at Proviso School District 209, including Assistant Principal of Attendance, District Athletic Director, Department Chairman for Physical Education, Driver Education and Physical Education Instructor. He also worked in other school districts.  Mr. Montgomery lives in Westchester and is a life-long resident of the district.

Dr. Craig Schilling, Associate Professor for Leadership at the Concordia University Chicago.  His areas of expertise include school finance, law and human resources. Prior to joining Concordia, Dr. Schilling served in various administrative positions for local school districts, including Glenbrook High School.  Dr. Schilling is also a past President of the Illinois Association of School Business Officials and served on the IASBO Board of Directors. He lives in Northbrook.

Mr. Kenneth Walls, Director of Security Operations for IFPC Worldwide, Inc.  His responsibilities include coordinating all activities pertaining to security officer responsibilities such as hiring, training, record keeping, etc. Mr. Walls lives in Broadview and has been a resident in the district for 17 years.