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Lake Forest Caucus Urges District 67 School Board to Authorize Middle School Investigation

Caucus has no power to recall, impeach or remove school board members.

 

The mission of the Lake Forest Caucus is to serve the community by recommending qualified individuals to fill volunteer positions and to promote the process of civic involvement.

The Caucus serves the first function by recruiting, interviewing and recommending candidates for elective and certain appointive offices in the Lake Forest City government and School Districts 67 and 115.

The elective offices include the City Council and the District 67 and 115 School Boards. The appointive offices include various City Boards and Commissions. The Caucus consists of 42 committee members elected by the community.

The Caucus is nonpartisan and does not take specific positions on issues. While all candidates recommended for elected office are subjected to a rigorous vetting process and multiple interviews, this is no guarantee of future performance. For this reason, the Caucus utilizes Monitoring Committees that regularly attend board and commission meetings to evaluate the effectiveness of the boards and individual members.

Consistent with its mission and the limitations of the By-Laws under which it operates, the Caucus uses the information obtained by the Monitoring Committees when considering whether to recommend candidates for reappointment.

The revelations of the past week about the inappropriate conduct of the Deer Path Middle School principal and the way in which the matter was handled by the Administration and the Board have caused concern in our community. Like the community at large, the Caucus was not informed of his arrest, prosecution or subsequent guilty plea.

We share the community's disappointment in his human failures and the significant breach of trust by such a senior member of the school administration. Institutions, particularly those entrusted with the care and development of our children, must act swiftly, openly and decisively when reacting to such serious allegations.

The Caucus is working to investigate, understand and comprehensively review all of the relevant facts and circumstances with a particular emphasis on the involvement and performance of the elected and appointed officials in positions for which the Caucus recommends candidates. The Caucus assures the community that the information obtained will guide its decisions as to whether involved Board members should be supported for re-election.

The Caucus is encouraged by the City Council's expression of deep disappointment in the actions and what has happened at the District 67 School Board. The Caucus applauds the City Council's decisive action in directing the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners to investigate the circumstances involving the SRO and the Lake Forest Police Department.

The Caucus urges the School Board to authorize a comprehensive, independent evaluation of the actions or omissions of the Superintendent and the Board in the handling of this serious matter.

In furtherance of its role to promote civic involvement, the Caucus will continue to be responsive to questions from the community and will provide information it hopes may be helpful to Lake Forest residents. After members of the Caucus attended the November 21 District 67 School Board meeting, and in response to questions citizens posed during that meeting and to the Caucus thereafter, the Caucus conducted a review of relevant Illinois law concerning school boards.

It is our understanding that there is no provision under Illinois law permitting recall, impeachment, or removal of a school board member by direct public action or decision during a term of office.

On November 22, our Caucus President Susan Franzetti spoke with the Regional Superintendent of Schools, Roycealee Wood, who confirmed that our understanding is correct. Under its By-Laws, the Caucus lacks authority to take action until candidates come before it seeking support for election.

Throughout all of these events, the Caucus is working to protect and nurture its purpose of promoting the process of civic involvement so that qualified citizens who can best serve the Lake Forest community will continue to step forward to do so. Each year, the Caucus seeks volunteers to run for election to the Caucus Committee.

Three members of the community in each of its four wards are elected annually to serve a three year term. We encourage all interested members of the community to complete a Volunteer Profile Sheet on this website so they can take an active role in promoting these efforts.

The next meeting of the Caucus Committee is Nov. 29. We will report further after that meeting.

Gary November 28, 2011 at 05:08 PM
The Lake Forest Caucus is a partisan organization... in the last election cycle they featured an endorsement by Democrat State Senator Susan Garrett. The Lake Forest Caucus does not "promote the process of civic involvement"... they discourage any independent candidates from running by engaging in the politics of personal destruction and slander against anyone who dares to challenge them. Democracy is effectively dead in Lake Forest. The Lake Forest Caucus independent status is questionable... they took money in the last school board election cycle from the Lake Forest Bank, which lists Superintendent Griffith as one of it's board members. So the LFC was essentially a conduit used by Harry Griffith to help him choose which board members he wanted to work with, and which ones he wanted to keep out. On one issue the Lake Forest Caucus is telling the truth. They don't get involved in issues. But how is that supposed to work? They recommend "qualified candidates" but don't vet them for their stance on the issues? So we get highly qualified people who don't have an opinion on anything. We weed out anyone who believes strongly in their convictions. It's a ridiculous concept and no one should expect it to work... and it isn't. The Lake Forest Caucus should come out and say where they stand on all the issues facing our community so we can judge them fairly and decide if we want their brand of leadership. The decent members of the LFC have some house cleaning to do.

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