With a contested election looming and four board seats up for grabs, the situation at Komarek School District 94 got a little more complicated last week with the resignation of one of its school board members.

Michael Dropka, who was elected to his first term in April 2009, announced he had moved out of the district and was leaving his post immediately. The announcement was a complete surprise, said district officials.

“We didn’t know this was coming,” said Deborah Czajka, president of the Dist. 94 school board.

In a letter sent to the Landmark, Dropka alluded to “changes happening in my life,” related to his engagement to a woman he plans to marry in 2012. Dropka has moved to LaGrange and out of the Komarek School district.

“I am sad to leave only two years into my term, but I am very happy that the voters of the school district gave me the opportunity to serve our community,” Dropka wrote.

In his letter to the Landmark, he said his resignation was effective Feb. 1. The school board plans on accepting his resignation at its meeting on March 8.

The board must appoint someone to replace Dropka within 30 days after that date, said Czajka.

By that time, district voters will have gone to the polls to elect four school board members. The election on April 5 features five candidates for those four seats. The school board has a meeting scheduled for April 12.

Incumbents Chris Waas, Patricia Martinson and Al Sarro are seeking another term on the board. Also on the ballot are Jon Hoadley and Diane Little, both Broadview residents.

The board could elect to choose whoever finishes fifth in the election or appoint someone else. According to Czajka, board members have not yet talked about how to deal with the appointment.

“That’s something we’d have to caucus,” Czajka said. “We have not even gotten that far.”

Dist. 94 is in the midst of a strategic planning process, an exercise the district undertakes every three years, according to Superintendent Neil Pellicci. A committee comprising district administrators, board members, staff and community members is crafting goals related to four areas – curriculum, community, buildings and finance, with an emphasis on prioritizing school programming, said Pellicci.

Among the members of that committee are two candidates for election in April, Martinson and Little.

Three years ago a similar committee focused on space use and planning for peak enrollment. Some of those recommendations already have been implemented.

In March the strategic planning committee is expected to bring a set of recommendations to the school board for approval. It will be up to the next board to see to it that the district achieves those goals.