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Editorial: School board should investigate Pesek

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

The carnival in Cicero and Berwyn continues.

Too bad no one is having fun, and kids in these communities are stuck riding the equivalent of a broken down bumper car.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported last month that the president of Morton High School District 201, which covers these two west suburban communities, was tied to a drug dealer and a motorcycle gang member.

Despite public outrage and calls for his resignation, President Jeff Pesek refused to step down.

That was his mistake.

Then on Thursday, his school board colleagues re-elected him as president, a move that reeks of contempt for those in the community who have raised deep concerns about Pesek’s ability to effectively lead the school board.

That was the school board’s mistake.

Though Pesek asserts he has done nothing wrong, he should step down as president. His associations are inappropriate for a school board president and undermine his ability to lead, even if none of his actions was illegal.

Pesek testified under a grant of immunity from prosecution in a mob-bombing trial of a reputed Cicero mob boss and a high-ranking member of the Outlaw motorcycle gang. Both men were convicted. Pesek also has been in business ventures with an admitted wholesale cocaine dealer. He has not been charged with any crime.

The Pesek sideshow is a major distraction for a struggling school district that must devote its full attention to improving its schools.

Undeterred by these arguments, Pesek and the school board are soldiering on, hoping this will all blow over.

We call that wishful thinking.

At a minimum, the board should hire an outside, independent counsel to fully investigate Pesek’s actions and associations. The final product and the board’s response should be shared with the public.

Then, and only then, might the district be able to put this behind them and focus on the real work of the school board — successfully educating their kids.

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