Things are destined to be different on the Lyons-Brookfield District 103 school board next month when four new members — all part of a slate backed by Lyons Village President Christopher Getty — are sworn in.
And it would have been fine with them if they had been seated at the board table Monday night for a meeting of the District 103 board’s committee of the whole.
All of the winning candidates on a slate calling itself Parents for Student Excellence appeared at the meeting, questioning when they’d be sworn in and reportedly demanding that the school board make no decisions until they are.
“They came in antagonistic and very demanding,” said school board President Sharon Anderson, whose seat was not up for re-election but who undoubtedly will be out as president after the new majority is sworn in, probably at a special meeting on May 4.
“I’m expecting them to come in and take over the board,” Anderson said.
Winning election to the board for four-year terms were Michael “Mike” Bennett (1,309 votes), Coleen “Dawn” Shipbaugh (1,243) and Jorge “Rene” Torres (1,218).
The single two-year term was won easily by Getty slate member Catherine “Katie” Broderick, whose 1,646 votes easily topped Earl Johnson (937).
The only incumbent left standing was longtime board member Joanne Schaeffer, who won yet another term on the board she’s served on since 1979. With all 16 precincts reporting, Schaeffer unofficially finished second in the race for four four-year terms with 1,265 votes.
Incumbents Kristen Goodman and Consuelo “Connie” Esparza, who were backed by Anderson, finished at the bottom of the pack for the four-year terms with just 718 and 425 votes, respectively.
“Connie and Kristen are both moms who cared about children’s education,” Anderson said. “No one donated to them or went out working for them. They were a long shot.”
Schaeffer recruited a slate of candidates, which included Johnson, to fend off the Getty candidates, but fell short of keeping control of the board. Her slate mates, Lori Schuler, Jacqueline MacDonnell and Antonie “Toni” Parker, finished sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.
The Getty-backed slate, which had its own fundraising committee and campaigned aggressively — though mostly stayed away from public events — chewed up the 12-candidate field.
It’s unclear how much money the group raised or how much they spent, since quarterly campaign contribution records hadn’t been filed by Tuesday’s press time. However, Citizens for Christopher Getty, the village president’s political fundraising committee, raised almost $41,000 in the month prior to the election.
Getty was not up for election and members of his political party running for village trustee in Lyons ran unopposed. It’s unclear if any of that money was used to fund the Parents for Student Excellence campaign, which sent out nearly a dozen slick mailers prior to the election.
Interim superintendents named
Despite a threat to undo any decisions the board makes prior to the new board being seated, the school board on Monday named two interim superintendents to fill the top administrative post until a new superintendent can be hired prior to the 2016-17 school year.
The board hired Patrick Patt and Griff Powell, both of whom have experience in the same capacities in District 103. The two served as co-interim superintendents following the departure of Ray Lauk in 2006.
Anderson said Getty called school board member Mark Camasta prior to Monday’s meeting questioning the meeting agenda and reportedly threatening that the new board would undo any decision made by the current board.
Anderson said the meeting agenda listing the naming of the interim superintendent was noticed properly.
“We have work to do,” Anderson said. “We can’t stop because we’re waiting for new board members.”
The school board also formally approved the retirement of Superintendent Mary Jo Vladika and the resignation of George Washington Middle School Principal Johnny
Billingsley on Monday.