Vito Campanile (File)

Lyons-Brookfield School District 103 school board member Vito Campanile has not attended a school board meeting since April and has only attended five out of 21 meetings since June of last year. 

Campanile has attended only two school board meetings this year, on Feb. 22 and on April 26. That has prompted some speculation on social media that Campanile has moved out of town.

When contacted by the Landmark by telephone last week, Campanile had another explanation for why he hasn’t been attending many school board meetings lately. 

“I’ve been out of state for some business and some family emergencies,” Campanile told the Landmark on Aug. 26. 

When asked if he had moved out of state Campanile replied, “Not yet.”

Campanile was asked if he was planning to move out of Illinois.

“I may be forced to, let’s put it that way,” Campanile said. “It’s all personal stuff which I’m not a liberty to talk about right now.”

Campanile says he still lives in Brookfield as he did when he was elected to the school board in 2019.

If a school board member stops attending meetings, Illinois law allows the executive director of the regional office of the Illinois State Board of Education to remove that person from office. 

That happened in District 103 in 2018 when Mark Klaisner, the executive director of the West 40 Intermediate Service Center, booted Coleen Shipbaugh from the District 103 Board of Education. Shipbaugh had attended only six of 25 school board meetings that year. 

She, like Campanile, was elected to the school board as part of a slate supported by Lyons Village President Christopher Getty. However, when Shipbaugh was removed from office, the board majority was not made up of Getty-backed members.

Klaisner told the Landmark he usually only acts to remove a school board member who stops attending meetings if someone complains about it. Klaisner said he does not monitor school board meeting minutes in the 38 school districts and three special education cooperatives that West 40 oversees in west suburban Cook County.

Klaisner said he typically doesn’t act to remove a school board member unless that person has been absent for six months or more and doesn’t have a good explanation for the absences.

“In the cases where I have used that power it’s absolutely no contact for six months,” Klaisner said. “They haven’t responded to emails, they haven’t responded to phone calls, they haven’t attended meetings, they’ve skipped out on committee meetings or things like that.”

If a school board member moves out of the district, they must resign from resign and the school board must pick a replacement within 60 days of receipt of the letter of resignation.

Campanile’s term expires in April 2023. As a practical matter, his absence has had very little impact on the school board. Since the 2021 election all seven members of District 103 Board of Education were elected with Getty’s backing. 

Most District 103 school board meetings are perfunctory affairs rarely lasting more than 30 minutes. There is typically little or, more commonly, no discussion or debate before agenda items are voted upon and almost all votes are unanimous.