Now that the April election isn't so far off, civic-minded residents in Lake Bluff are reminded of the value of our governmental institutions. We are also re-invigorated by the prospect do exercising our collective voice at the polls in ensuring good governance. But it's difficult to meaningfully exercise our collective voice at the polls when the Lake Bluff School Caucus, which vets candidates for 115 and 65 school boards, isn't giving us representative candidates to choose from. Enough already.
Failure #1: As a resident of Knollwood (yes, we count too), I was disappointed to learn last Fall that the School Caucus neither endorsed nor actively recruited any candidates for the 65 board from among our little neighborhood's residents west of Route 41. I use the term "little" somewhat loosely, as we are quite numerous out here and deserving of electoral representation. And, it turns out, our 65 board representation will be diminished to zero come April, when the last remaining Knollwood school board member on 65 is attending his last board meeting after 8 years of faithful service. Why didn't the School Caucus address that vacuum last year when recruiting and screening candidates? Why didn't they do their job? Suddenly our neighborhood's collective voice sounds fairly faint. Enough already.
Failure # 2: I was later shocked to learn that the School Caucus slated a group of 65 school board candidates (with one glaring exception) whose children haven't seen the inside of a Lake Bluff classroom in decades, if ever. The majority of mid-term candidates are close to seeing their kids graduate from the district shortly. For those district residents who have students in 65, how does that affect their collective voice? That voice has gotten pretty hard to hear.
Failure # 3: Now, I've learned that Lake Bluff's slate member, isn't even a resident of Lake Bluff any longer (living in his newly deeded home south of the border). Todd Burgener, newly vacated from his former LB home, made that fact clear in his recent letter to the editor of Gazebo News. In Mr. Burgener's letter he didn't waste any time throwing the Lake Bluff School Caucus under the proverbial bus in his own defense. According to Mr. Burgener's confessional, he refused in advance of his candidacy to resign upon his re-location, in direct conflict with the School Caucus' by laws . . . And the Caucus blinked! My fellow readers, think about this for a minute. Didn't the Lake Bluff residents of District 115 deserve at least SOME explanation of their rule-breaking arrangement with Mr. Burgener? Especially when the School Caucus (according to Mr. Burgener) had full notice of his intentions prior to his submission of candidacy? Aren't they supposed to be making decisions ON OUR BEHALF? It thus appears that the Lake Bluff School Caucus' by laws aren't worth the paper they're written on. The Caucus is apparently eager to pick the man over the sanctity of the institution and the value of community representation. C'mon folks - enough already!
At this point there is nothing left to do with Failures # 1 and # 2. But the Lake Bluff School Caucus still has the opportunity to do the right thing with Failure # 3. Todd Burgener has educated us all on hype School Caucus bylaw rule whereby if an elected member of the 115 board moves from Lake Bluff to Lake Forest after the election, he must resign. We're lucky to have a few months left before the election, just enough time for the School Caucus to undo the damage done before a special election becomes necessary. They can and must demand his immediate withdrawal from the race, recruit another Lake Bluff candidate, and mount a successful write-in campaign to get him or her on the ballot in time for the Spring election. If not, we risk losing our collective voice altogether, faint as it is. Barring their decisive action, they also risk what's left of our eroded public trust in the institution of the Lake Bluff School Caucus.
Seriously, isn't that enough already?