Cheryl Oprisko elected new Portage School Board president
By John Robbins Post-Tribune correspondent January 14, 2013 9:06PM
Updated: January 14, 2013 9:51PM
PORTAGE — Portage Township School Board member Cheryl Oprisko was elected president of the Portage Township School Board during its reorganization session Wednesday evening and immediately set about the task of making her mark on the board.
Among the first items on her agenda was naming a new law firm to represent the board. The Portage law firm of Rhame and Elwood was appointed on a split vote.
Oprisko stated that she expects Rhame and Elwood to be sole attorneys for the board, replacing the firms of Hodges & Davis, representing the board on general issues, and Friel and Friel, representing the board in labor issues.
Board member William Fekete expressed concern about possible conflict of interest with Rhame and Elwood since they represent NorthShore Heath Centers. NorthShore leases space from the school for one of its clinics.
Oprisko said she has been assured that in such a situation, Rhame and Elwood will recuse themselves from the issue.
Superintendent Ric Frataccia urged the board to retain the current labor attorney as labor contract negotiations are ongoing. Oprisko expressed confidence that a smooth transition is possible.
Oprisko wants the board to have its reorganization session during the first week of January and to hold a board retreat annually in January so the board can set goals and objectives for the upcoming year.
Oprisko wants board members to sit on the school technology security committee. New board member Jessica Bailey was named to the technology committee, and Oprisko was named to the security committee.
In a break from the past, Oprisko wants a fellow board member present when the president meets with the school superintendent and wants other board members notified by email about such meetings.
And in another departure from the past, Frataccia will no longer be reading the names of board members to record a vote. That task has been delegated to Bailey, named earlier to the post of secretary.