By Bob Skolnik
Next April there will be another battle for the control of the Lyons-Brookfield Elementary School District 103 Board of Education.
On Dec. 12, nominating petitions were filed for six candidates for the three seats up on the District 103 school board. Other candidates could emerge, as candidates have until Dec. 19 to file their petitions.
The race appears to be divided into two camps.
Veteran board member Sharon Anderson is teaming with longtime former school district secretary Marge Hubacek and Shannon Johnson, who teaches second grade at a school in Glencoe.
They are attempting to wrest control of the board from the current majority, which includes four board members elected in 2015 with the backing of Lyons Village President Christopher Getty
On the other side are incumbents Katie Broderick and Kendra Pierce along with newcomer Olivia Quintero, although Pierce says that she is not part of any slate.
When the four Getty-backed candidates were seated in 2015 they immediately dumped Anderson as board president in favor of newly elected Michael Bennet and instituted a host of other changes, such as hiring a new superintendent, a raft of new central office administrators and a new law firm.
Hubacek, who has lived in Forest View for 38 years, worked for District 103 as a secretary for 33 years. For the last nine years she was secretary to the superintendent, retiring in 2015.
She applied for a vacancy on the school board earlier this year when Mark Camasta died, but was passed over in favor of Pierce, whose father-in-law works for the village of Lyons.
Ridding the school district of political influence will be the campaign theme for Anderson, Hubacek and Johnson, who are running under the Putting Students First banner. If all three are elected, they can join with board member Joanne Schaeffer to form a board majority.
"I'm running because I don't like what's happening now. I think our kids are losing out. I think that the decisions that have been made are political."
Hubacek, who served one term on the Forest View Park Board in the 1990s, is 68 years old.
"I didn't think at this age I'd be doing this, but that's how sad I am about what's been going on in my school district," Hubacek said.
Johnson, who teaches second grade at a school in Glencoe, has lived in Lyons for 28 years. Her husband, Earl, ran for a two-year term on the board in 2015 but was decisively defeated by Broderick.
Johnson, 37, said that she is running because she is distressed by the actions of the current school board.
"They are doing nothing for the kids; they are spending money on upgrades to the admin building, they are hiring friends, they're creating positions," Johnson said. "I've seen nothing go towards the curriculum."
Johnson graduated from Washington School in Lyons when it was a K-8 school and said that her experience as a teacher will be an advantage to her in the campaign and on the school board, should she be elected.
"I'm well trained in Common Core," Johnson said. "I know how the educational system works. I have that teacher perspective. I know what those kids need."
Anderson, who backed two unsuccessful candidates in the election two years ago, said that she is proud to run with and support Hubacek and Johnson.
"I think that they both would be great board members," Anderson said. "I think that they both are completely interested in the children and the district and doing what's right for them and not any additional motive."
Pierce said that she is not part of any slate.
"I'm running on my own," Pierce told the Landmark. "I haven't talked to Katie about it or anything."
Pierce, who was appointed to the school board in April, said that she wants to be an advocate for children and parents.
"I want to be there for the children," said Pierce. "And I want to be there for the children's parents as well, making sure that their questions and concerns are addressed."
Broderick and Quintero could not be reached for comment prior to deadline.
The Putting Students First candidates say that they know they will probably be outspent, but say they are ready to campaign hard.
"We're fiercely determined to do this," Johnson said. "The kids need us. The kids need those people out of there. We're definitely the underdogs."
Hubacek agrees that her slate is the underdog, but she is optimistic.
"I think it's going to be difficult, but it feels good because the people I've talked to personally don't want to the village of Lyons running our schools," Hubacek said. "It's certainly going to be a struggle, it will be, but I think we can prevail.
District 103 includes the southeastern part of Brookfield, most of Lyons, Stickney, Forest View, and McCook.