The signs read Kodama/Perry. In the past week yard signs promoting school Riverside District 96 school board candidates David Kodama and Art Perry have popped up.
Kodama and Perry have decided to pool their resources and help each other out as they vie with two other candidates in the District 96 school board race.
They purchased 50 signs bearing both their names at a cost of about $250, Perry said.
“Dave and I talked, and we decided that we have some similar ideas about where we’d like to see the district going, and thought we’d team up and pool our resources as far as getting our names out there,” Perry said Monday.
In the Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208 school board race, Garry Gryczan and John Keen are also running together as team.
“John and I chose to run because we have similar ideals, ideas,” Gryczan said. “We don’t agree on everything. Together we have a good pulse on the community.”
Some have claimed that running together as a team is illegal or unethical because school board races are non-partisan in Illinois.
But Melinda Selbee, the general counsel for the Illinois Association of School Boards, said there is nothing illegal about school board candidates teaming up.
“Running cooperatively doesn’t violate the non-partisan nature of a school board election,” Selbee said. “I know of nothing that would prohibit two or more people from running together. I don’t believe that’s in violation of the ethics act.”
In 2009, there were two competing slates of candidates in District 96. And that same year three candidates, Dan Moon, Matt Sinde and Mike Welch, teamed up to form the so-called SWiM team in the District 208 race.
In other communities school board candidates frequently team up and run as slates.
This year in District 102, which includes the southwest portion of Brookfield, five incumbents have banded together and are distributing campaign brochures featuring information about all five of them.
They also have professional campaign signs featuring all five names. The two challengers in District 102 have also teamed up. Peter Daniels and Matt Scotty have signs with both their names together and also have a joint piece of campaign literature.
Despite not being a problem with the IASB, some candidates are still critical of the practice. In the District 208 race, all of Keen and Gryczan’s opponents – Lenora Giurini, Louis Surprenant, Laura Hruska, Tom Powers and Time Walsh – said at a recent candidates’ forum that they think school board candidates should run independently.
“I think the board should be individuals,” Hruska said. “Everybody should be an independent thinker. If we’re not listening to all of the groups that all of us represent them we’re amiss. When we as a block vote for our own personal agendas, that may not represent all of the people in this community.”