On Tuesday April 5, the residents and taxpayers of Community Consolidated School District 15 will be selecting fellow community members to the Board of Education.
Three of the candidates currently are incumbents and have not demonstrated their worthiness for re-election. Two of the candidates Gerald Chapman and Jim Ekeberg along with fellow board members Richard Bokor and Peggy Babcock are directly responsible for financial problems that face the district. You see, they approved contractual obligations with District employees knowing that these obligations would result in deficit-laden budgets as far as the eye can see.
This school year that budget is almost $4 million out of balance and by school year 2015-16 the annual deficit will exceed $14 million and district reserves will be completely depleted.
Last year the board majority, including Chapman and Ekeberg, attempted to increase taxes for the residents of the community via a $27 million bond issue. This is known as a "Back Door Referendum," because it did not allow residents to cast their vote on whether or not to take on this debt.
Fortunately, a group of civic-minded residents came to the rescue, organizing a successful petition drive that forced the board to put the request for bonds on the ballot. District 15 residents voted overwhelming, by a 2-to-1 margin, to reject issuing the bonds.
At the last board meeting Chapman and Ekeberg vote "NO" to a motion put forward by retiring board member Sue Quinn that would have required the video taping of all special board meetings, an action that would have provided residents with a complete view of board deliberations.
This refusal by Chapman and Ekeberg to provide for more transparency is just another reason they should not be retained.