The Landmark will be celebrating its 30th anniversary as a news publication in November. That’s a lot of election coverage.
And we’ve gotta be honest: We’ve never seen anything quite like what went on in Lyons-Brookfield Elementary School District 103 in the past week.
Not just the brazenness of a group of candidates to simply feel the need to shove aside any person, policy or decent impulse in order to stake a political claim — on a small-town school board, for crying out loud — but the outrageously obvious insertion of municipal politics into the school board process.
This is how little the Lyons political establishment thinks it has to fear from voters in Lyons and District 103 generally. They either feel they have widespread support in the district or that the miserable 25 percent voter turnout last month is all anyone reasonably can expect to show up every two years. And that 25 percent included a whole lot more establishment types than critics.
They believe voters are so dumb they’ll simply believe the words they mouth and ignore their actions.
“Take politics out of the schools.”
Those were the actual words on actual campaign materials distributed by the slate known as Parents for Student Excellence.
Yet on April 28, the four candidates, who were supported financially almost completely by Lyons’ village president, were sworn in privately by the village’s attorney inside village hall.
And the village president’s administrative assistant then walked into the school district’s office, demanding that the board members-elect be seated immediately, and ordered the interim superintendent to post an agenda for a special meeting to name the village’s attorney as the school board’s attorney and to hire the attorney’s pal as the new interim superintendent.
When that failed, the municipal employee posted the agenda himself — as if he had every right to do so. On the date of the purported meeting, the group was locked out of the building, so Lyons President Christopher Getty turned the event into a political rally, serving as the master of ceremonies.
And on Monday, as people filed into George Washington Middle School for the real meeting to seat the new board, the Lyons recreation director was handing out agendas that included an extra sheet of paper blasting the outgoing board. It was another campaign piece, despite the fact that the election was long over.
The sheet states these words in all caps: “The new school boards [sic] intent: Stop the waste and be accountable.”
Accountable to whom, exactly? To the voters who were lied to and told this new slate would take politics out of the schools? To the people this group has so far shown only utter contempt?
In two years, there will be four seats up for election in District 103, enough to reverse what was done on April 7 — or further deepen the district’s descent into becoming just another political fiefdom.
Our advice would be to ignore the scripted words and focus solely on the actions of this board. Those actions begin in earnest on Thursday, but they won’t end Thursday.