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The Rundown: Did Pratl Resign from D218 School Board?

D218 school board member who narrowly won third time was noticeably absent from Tuesday's meeting. Sources say he resigned. Also, a settlement is reached with a special ed student.

Winners of the recent Community High School District 218 board election were sworn in Tuesday night, except for incumbent Ron Pratl, whose narrow victory has been held up while the county conducts a recount.

Pratl, of Chicago Ridge and a Richards High School alum, won his third term over opponent Linda Flanagan-Vahl by just 22 votes.

However, a source within the school district told Patch that Pratl missed Tuesday night’s special meeting because he has resigned. It has been alleged that Pratl stepped down sometime after the April 11 board meeting under the duress of fellow board members. If true, no announcement has been made.

A second source close to the school board has alleged that Pratl was caught orchestrating no-bid school contracts for his friends’ companies—breaking contracts into small amounts to evade board approval. 

Pratl has not returned emails sent to his personal account or returned phone messages left at his work and home. His picture and information, however, remain on the district website.

Superintendent John Byrne wouldn’t comment on the possible resignation and said he knows only as much about Pratl's seat as Cook County election officials have made public.

“We’re waiting for whenever the election process completes,” Byrne said. “It would be unfair to say anything before we know the resolution of that situation.”

Although the April 5 election results were certified to the Illinois State Board of Elections on Tuesday, Vahl has said she will pursue a discovery recount of two precincts in D218's 6th District. 

About the possible misuse of school contracts, Byrne said, “I don’t know nothing about that.”

Before the regular meeting, the board entered into a 90-minute executive session. The contents of those discussions are confidential for the time being.

Settlement Reached

In related board news, a settlement has been reached with the family of a special education student.

The contents of the settlement are also confidential “because it’s all attached to the name of one child,” Byrne said. “It was paperwork that wasn’t completed the first two years. The child was placed, and it’s a residential placement, so we would have paid that all along.”

The settlement required Byrne’s signature, not board approval.

Officers Elected

The board shuffled new board officers by vote, and with it the old board was sine die.

Randy Heuser took over as president, while Marco Corsi assumed the role of vice president. Karen Burmeister replaced Pratl as board secretary.

District 218 board officers are not bound by term limits, but they are aware of the importance of changing perspectives, Heuer said.

“As you can see our board, there’s one person that’s changing, and that’s nice we have continuity,” he explained. “We have great administrative staff and (this will) give them a fresh set of eyes ...”

Jesse Marx April 28, 2011 at 12:56 AM
Matt, sine die means "without day" in Latin, and it signifies adjournment. My editors and I respect the privacy of our sources and you have to trust us when we say they're close to the situation. We've been trying to contact Mr. Pratl for weeks now, and we've done everything except show up at his door. Anytime he wants to talk, we're here to listen.
Michael April 28, 2011 at 10:31 PM
Jesse, how do I contact you personaly? I have some information for you. Likely about your ' source"s information.
Jesse Marx April 28, 2011 at 10:40 PM
Michael, e-mail me at jessemichaelmarx@gmail.com and we can go from there.
LincolnLounger May 02, 2011 at 04:04 PM
This is most curious. Pratl may be dodging you, but the School Board and School District are public bodies who have an obligation to disclose changes in their membership. They are required to do so when they accept public funds.
Sheet of Integrity May 02, 2011 at 04:30 PM
Mr. Pratl is no longer listed as a board member and his photo has been removed from the district website. This may be all the confirmation needed!

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