The race for trustee of the Lyons Township School Treasurer’s office, commonly known as the Lyons TTO, will not be competitive. Although two candidates initially filed for the position in the April 6 election, one of those candidates, Brian Anderson, has withdrawn.
Anderson, a LaGrange Park resident, has two years remaining on his term as a member of the LaGrange-Brookfield District 102 Board of Education.
“I want to fulfill those,” Anderson said.
That leaves Shakana Kirksey-Miller, a 38-year-old resident of McCook who works as a social interventionist at Oak Park and River Forest High School as the only candidate.
Two years ago, Kirksey-Miller ran for a seat on the school board in Lyons-Brookfield School District 103, finishing last in a nine-candidate race and receiving a little more than 1 percent of votes cast.
Kirksey-Miller, who ran as an independent, said she didn’t campaign very much for the school board after she realized that she didn’t stand a chance in a race that was a battle between two competing slates of four candidates each.
“I did try, but I think people had already made their choice between the two factions,” Kirksey-Miller said.
Last fall, Kirksey-Miller applied to fill a vacancy on the Lyons Township High School District 204 Board of Education but was not chosen. She considered running for the LTHS school board this spring before deciding to run for the TTO board.
“When I weighed my options between the school treasury or LT, I felt that the township treasurer is the better fit for me,” Kirksey-Miller said.
Kirksey-Miller joined the U.S. Army after graduating from high school. She served as an MP during two years of active duty and seven years in the reserves.
She went on to earn degrees from Triton College and Governors State University before going on to earn a master’s in social work from Loyola University. She is currently enrolled in a doctorate program in education at Concordia University.
After leaving the Army she worked in numerous security jobs. From 2016 until 2018 she worked as recreation supervisor for the Summit Park District.
While some see the TTO, which is the midst of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Lyons Township high School, as a useless anachronism, Kirksey-Miller said she thinks the office provides necessary services to local school districts.
“I do believe it should stay in existence,” Kirksey-Miller said. “As far as the lawsuit that is something that was way before me. There’s really is nothing I can say or do about it. … Eliminating the township’s role in education would severely curtail the managing and the disbursement of education funds to the community, and I think that would be disastrous to our schools.”
Established by state law, and now existing only in Cook County, TTOs invest the money held by local school districts, run payroll for local school districts and issue checks. Some believe local school districts could better handle those functions themselves. Kirksey-Miller disagrees.
“I do think that the treasurer’s office does a better job of handing the funds,” Kirksey-Miller said.
The TTO is governed by a board which is made up of three trustees who serve staggered six-year terms.
Anderson said he remains interested in the TTO and plans to run for the board in 2023 when TTO board Chairman Michael Thiessen’s term is up.
“I think I’m definitely going to run,” Anderson said.