About 30 people, including one school board member, staged a protest outside the Lyons-Brookfield School District 103 administration building on the night of March 23 after a school board meeting scheduled that night was abruptly cancelled due to a lack of a quorum.
Some protesters held signs, saying things like “Save My School.” Some motorists driving by honked their horns in apparent support.
Gloria Medina of Stickney came to the protest to blast the decision to cancel the meeting.
“No respect for parents, no respect for anybody,” Medina said of the administration and school board majority.
An email sent to board members at 12:04 p.m. on March 23 by Char Latronica, assistant to Superintendent Carol Baker, was brief.
“Good Afternoon,” the email said. “Unfortunately we do not have a quorum for tonight’s board meeting and therefore the meeting will need to be cancelled and rescheduled at some point next week. Thank you.”
The hiring of two kindergarten aides at Costello School was on the agenda for the cancelled board meeting.
The cancelled meeting comes less than two weeks before a hotly contested school board election. Members of the board’s majority, backed by Lyons Village President Christopher Getty, were apparently the ones who were unable to make the meeting.
Two board members who spoke to the Landmark, Sharon Anderson and Joanne Schaeffer, who are not part of the Getty-backed majority, said they had planned on attending the meeting.
Schaeffer, who was present at the protest, blasted the decision to cancel the school board meeting, calling the board majority “chicken,” and saying that she believed the meeting was cancelled because many parents were planning on attending the meeting.
“I’m fit to be tied,” Schaeffer said of the decision to cancel the meeting. “Bills cannot be paid because they can’t be paid until the board approves it. There’s two people who are supposed to start work Monday. They cannot be hired, because we didn’t vote on it. I think four members backing out six hours before the board meeting is outrageous.”
Anderson also was upset that the meeting was cancelled at the last minute.
“It’s ridiculous,” Anderson said. “There is no reason to cancel a meeting. They’re planned a year in advance.”
The previous school board meeting on March 9 was filled with angry parents who during the public comment period berated Baker for her handling on an incident at George Washington Middle School where a student was discovered one morning with brass knuckles and a switchblade before he entered the school.
Some parents said that student should have been expelled from the school instead of being given a brief suspension.
More angry parents were expected March 23 in the wake of a power outage at Robinson School in Lyons the previous week. On March 20, Sarah Carr, the treasurer of the of Robinson School Parent Teacher Council (PTC), hand-delivered a letter to the superintendent and the school board, complaining about the way the district handled the outage, particularly in failing to notify parents that the power was out at the start of the school day, leaving the building without heat on a cold day.
“The power outage itself was not their fault, it was how they handled everything else,” Carr said.
Carr said that she and other parents planned to speak at the March 23 school board meeting and that she believed that the board meeting was cancelled to avoid hearing from more angry parents so close to the April 4 election.
“I’m just very disappointed,” Carr said. “They thought they could quiet us down before the election.”