The revolving door on the Brookfield-Lyons Elementary School District 103 board keeps spinning. Last week, Michele Visk announced her resignation, making her the third school board member to walk away from the school board in the past 12 months.
School board President Joanne Schaeffer said Visk’s last day on the board was July 24, and that the board had begun the process to replace her. According to state law, a replacement must be named within 45 days of the resignation. Schaeffer also expressed regret at Visk’s departure.
“She was willing to learn and was a team player, which is so important with school boards,” Schaeffer said. “I’m very sad to lose her.”
Visk, who won a four-year seat on the board in the spring of 2005, said that she was leaving the board because the time commitment needed for the position was far greater than she was originally led to believe.
“It just got to be too much,” said Visk, who has one child in the district and whose husband, David, is the president of the Village of Lyons. “I was spending more time there than I was at home. I loved it, but I have other commitments that are being left behind.”
Since being elected in the spring of 2005, the District 103 school board has wrestled with the resignation of its vice president, Felicia Chandler in July 2005 and of board member Humberto Andrade last December.
Andrade was re-elected to the board in 2005 as a write-in candidate after failing to submit the proper paperwork to be placed on the ballot. Following the election Andrade’s challenger filed a lawsuit challenging the election result, forcing a recount. Andrade eventually prevailed, but announced just three months later that he was moving out of the district.
On top of that, the school board last fall voted to not extend the contract of Superintendent Raymond Lauk and spent the fall and much of early 2006 searching for both an interim fix and Lauk’s replacement.
District 103’s new superintendent, Michael Warner, officially took the reins on July 1.
Visk said that while the workload was heavy, she was happy to be part of the board during that turbulent period.
“I’m kind of glad it all happened,” said Visk, who is a real estate agent for ReMax Properties in LaGrange. “I got four to eight years of experience in 15 months. There were a lot of meetings.”
Anyone interesting in serving on the school board should send a letter of interest including information on their background. Candidates must be at least 18 years old, have lived in the district for at least one year and be a registered voter.
The letters should be sent to Joanne Schaeffer, School District 103 Board of Education, 4100 Joliet Ave., Lyons, Ill. 60534 by Aug. 15. Board members will interview candidates and expect to name Visk’s replacement at their Aug. 28 meeting
6 of 7 seats up for election
Visk’s resignation also means that nearly every seat on the District 103 school board will be up for election next April. Two of the three candidates elected to four-year terms in 2005-Visk and Andrade have resigned, meaning their unexpired terms will go back on the ballot. The seat occupied by Stephen Mazur, who won a two-year term in 2005, will also be up for election as a four-year term.
In addition, three other four-year spots will be on the ballot, including those of Schaeffer, Gregory Frana and Deanna Huxhold, who took over for Chandler last year.
The only board member whose seat will not be up for election in 2007 is Judith Petrucci, who was elected with Visk and Andrade to a four-year term in 2005.
Back in 2005, District 103 had trouble finding candidates for four open spots. In 2007, it will have six.
Schaeffer, who has been a board member for nearly 30 years, said she’s never seen so much turnover on the board, adding she’ll run again in 2007 in the hopes of maintaining stability on the board.
“Never in my years on the board has it been like this,” Schaeffer said. “I wasn’t going to run again, but with a new superintendent and six seats up for election, it terrifies me what would’ve happened.”