The Lake Forest Caucus applauds the District 67 School Board’s decision to appoint Ronald S. Safer as special counsel to review the process concerning the Deer Path Middle School principal matter, and for its express commitment to make public the independent counsel's findings.
It is also commendable that certain members of the District 67 School Board have voluntarily recused themselves from this process. Although not expressly stated in the District’s public statement, we trust that Superintendent Harry Griffith also has been excluded from participation in any capacity other than as a witness.
We also trust that the use of the term “wrongdoing” was not intended to limit the scope of Mr. Safer’s inquiry. Any act or omission that contributed to the failure to identify and to address appropriately the crime committed by the Deer Path Middle School principal should be evaluated regardless of whether it constitutes "wrongdoing."
Only with a comprehensive review will the District and the community have the necessary foundation to ensure that these events do not happen again.
Whether as part of the independent review or otherwise, there are also fundamental governance issues that warrant the District 67 School Board’s consideration going forward.
These issues include (1) the definition of and adherence to the proper roles of the School Superintendent and School Board members; and (2) the presence and appropriate use of legal counsel by the School Board, particularly when criminal matters are involved. These issues merit careful review and the answers should be clearly communicated to the community to address concerns raised based on the recent events.
The Caucus is also committed to doing its part, consistent with its purpose and role of promoting civic involvement and recommending qualified candidates for election to the District 67 and 115 School Boards.
The next School Board elections are in April 2013. The Caucus already has formed a School Board Search Committee to seek out qualified candidates. The Caucus also is developing a School Board candidate application and interview process that will further improve the quality of its candidate selection process.
The Caucus also seeks the help of the residents of this community. Many of you have already given of your time and insights by talking with members of the Caucus about the Deer Path Middle School principal matter. We thank you for doing so and urge you to continue your civic engagement.
Like so many others in this community, we strive to do the best job we can. We don’t have all the answers. We can do better, but the success of the Caucus is predicated on the robust involvement of the community, so your input truly makes a difference.
In a couple of months, you will be receiving the annual mailing of the “Caucus Connection.” In that mailing, you are asked to vote on the candidates for your Ward Caucus Committee. Three new members of each of the four, nine-person Ward Caucus Committees are elected each year by you. We typically receive back very few of the thousands of ballots distributed with the Caucus Connection to the community.
In 2012, we hope that you will take the time to fill out and return your ballot. If you are willing to do more and serve on the Caucus, there is still time to contact your Caucus Ward Chair (who is listed on our website) and to complete a Volunteer Profile Sheet (VPS) in order to be considered as a candidate for the Caucus in the 2012 election.