I see that Ed Jepson mentioned that he talked with me while deciding to run for a seat on the Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208 Board of Education (“Candidates surface in RBHS board race,” News, Nov. 14). This is accurate. I enjoyed talking to Mr. Jepson about my board experience, and I hope he found the discussion valuable.

I could not be more disappointed in Mr. Jepson’s decision to run as part of a team with incumbents Matt Sinde and Mike Welch. Since Mr. Jepson connected my name with his candidacy, I feel it’s only fair for me to clarify my opinions regarding this team:

Do not vote for Matt Sinde. Do not vote for Mike Welch.

Sinde and Welch have proven over their wasted terms to be incompetent, ineffective, disrespectful to community, staff and fellow board members, and destructive to the high school.

They have failed to learn the job of being an Illinois public school board member, and fail to respect or even acknowledge the line that separates governing from administration. For all the noise they and their cheerleaders have made about “integrity” and “trust,” they have utterly failed to gain or even seek the citizen support the school needs to thrive.

You don’t need to take my word for it. Watch the YouTube videos of this board in action to get a taste of the endless, aimless, inconclusive bickering that has characterized Sinde’s board presidency.

Welch’s inquisitions of the volunteer parent group leaders have been embarrassing to watch. Whatever his intentions, Welch’s “audit” (or was it?) of the successful construction project turned out to be a boon for scanner manufacturers but a waste of time for the rest of us. Real auditors issue reports and express opinions. Welch did neither.

He named a lot of names, but Ed Jepson didn’t mention if he talked to Jerry Buttimer or Chris Robling about running. Every local institution these two have touched in the time I’ve lived here has wound up more miserable and less effective, including the 208 board.

Candidates that Buttimer and Robling have propped up – Robling himself, David Hilpp, Sinde, Welch, and most recently the shockingly rude and incompetent John Keen – have turned the atmosphere of our Board of Education into a toxic stew that threatens any hope that talented candidates with a genuine appreciation for the privilege of board service and the value of our public schools would even run for a seat.

What will it take for the citizens of District 208 to rescue Riverside-Brookfield High School from the incompetence, willful neglect and political cowardice of its current board?

Will you please elect better board members, because you deserve better stewardship of your public schools? Will you please consider running for the board for the sake of the RB students of today and tomorrow? They get only one chance at high school and none of them deserves to be robbed of the best we can give them by this board that is warped by money and avarice and hopelessly mired in trivia.

The people of District 208 deserve so much better than this. At the very least, we owe ourselves board members who actually show that they believe in public education and want to make it better. If that describes you, please, please consider running for the District 208 Board of Education. Candidate paperwork is available at the school office, and the filing deadline is Dec. 24.

Please help save RB.

Jim Marciniak is a Riverside resident and a former president of the District 208 Board of Education.