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Board of Education Candidates Endorsed

The Lake Forest Caucus Committee endorsed candidates for District 67 and District 115 Board of Education, with no current board members endorsed.

The Lake Forest Caucus Committee met on Tuesday evening for its 2012 Annual Meeting where it endorsed candidates for the Lake Forest Elementary School District 67 and Lake Forest High School District 115.

The following candidates for Lake Forest Elementary School District 67 were endorsed: Mike Borkowski, Beth Clemmensen, Jeff Folker and Robert Lemke.

The following candidates for Lake Forest High School District 115 were endorsed: John Powers, Steve Reimer, Dave Schreiber.

No current members of either school board are running for re-election, with the exception of Todd Burgener, who is a member of the District 115 School Board. However, because he is a resident of Lake Bluff, the Lake Forest Caucus does not endorse him. Instead, he is endorsed by the Lake Bluff School Caucus.

“Our Caucus President, Gary Peet, was informed by Lake Bluff School Caucus President, Kathy Blahunka, that Todd Burgener is endorsed currently and was endorsed four years ago by the Lake Bluff School Caucus,” Lake Forest Caucus Communications Head Beth Laufenberg said.

“We have traditionally listed the candidate slated by the Lake Bluff School Caucus on our materials,” she said. “However, Mr. Burgener did not go through our candidate selection process because we, as the Lake Forest Caucus, only identify, recruit and slate candidates who are registered voters in Lake Forest.”

For more news about schools, make sure to 'like' the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Patch on Facebook. 

The process for selecting candidates began in almost a year ago when the School Board Search Committee was formed. The committee surveyed over 400 residents regarding the qualities they deemed important to quality service on the school board, including independence, honesty, integrity, transparency, time commitment, familiarity with the school system, the districts’ strengths and opportunities, communication skills, sound business/financial experience, strong academic credentials, dedication to community service and prior board or committee experience.

The committee identified or was approached by over 150 Lake Forest residents, with twenty-five residents submitting applications. Twenty-one candidates were selected for an initial round of interviews. Eight candidates were interviewed by the Caucus Committee for a final interview to fill the four open positions for District 67 and five candidates were interviewed to fill the three open positions for District 115. 

The Lake Forest Caucus is a non-partisan, no-agenda organization that was formed in the 1930s to help improve the caliber of volunteers that served in election positions throughout the city. The Caucus Committee is made of 42 members of the community, elected by the public and subjected to term limits.

 Those interested in running for either school board can still run without the caucus’ nomination. Nomination papers can be attained here and must be filed between Dec. 17 and Dec. 24. 

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Gary November 29, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Mike, Beth, Jeff, Robert, John, Steve, Dave, Thanks for volunteering for the School Board. It's a credit to our town that so many people are willing to commit so much of their time without compensation, especially during times of economic stress where tough decisions will need to be made which are sure upset some if not all parties involved. As a citizen with children in the school system I have some questions that you might not have been asked during the Caucus vetting process that I am sure will interest the greater community: 1. What is your plan for dealing with a teachers' strike? Do you know what all of our legal options are, and do you have a plan for replacing all striking teachers if necessary? 2. Will you continue to vote to raise property taxes by the maximum amount allowed by law, as has been the habit of previous Boards? 3. Will you continue to sign union contracts which spike salaries by 6% per year for four years before retirement to inflate pensions beyond what they have actually earned? This is a scam that is helping destroy Illinois. Will you help us to stop it? 4. Will you vote for a "Fair Share" clause in the union contract, which forces non-union teachers to pay union dues? If so, please explain how this helps our kids, our school, or our town. 5. What process will be in place to monitor administration spending?
Pat Lyon November 29, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Additional question for the BOE candidates to consider: - Will you carefully review the district policy to hire consultants and their lucrative contracts, especially when hiring consultants who are ex-district employees who already collect pensions?
Donald E. Russ November 29, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Hear, hear! Regarding your question 4, see article 7 of the high school teachers' contract: http://lfhs.pxxq.com/2012-2016.html
Nancy H November 29, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Yes, Chris! Good question. Our district really needs to be a lot smarter in the use of consultants. There are likely a lot of administrative functions that could be outsourced in ways that would both save money and allow us to tap current expertise and technology in ways we could never afford to do "in-house." And as for employees who "retire" and then come back as "consultants" and for individuals who are actually consultants but who are held out as employees, the whole process should be gone through with a fine-toothed comb and the reasoning for contracting with these individuals should be fully disclosed to the public.
LTH November 30, 2012 at 12:16 AM
It is important for any who see this to recognize that the link provided by Mr. Donald Russ in his post on 11/29, which claims to be a copy of the LFEA Contract, is in fact not. Rather, it is a biased commentary that should not be mistaken for serious analysis.
Donald E. Russ December 03, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Gary’s five questions are well taken. Unionized teachers often outlast the school board volunteers, so every new board member must be reminded of the single-minded self-interest of teachers’ unions. Regarding Question 4: Taft-Hartley allows the “Fair Share” clause but does not require it. There is nothing that requires the school board to allow the union to turn teaching at LFHS into a protection racket. Since LTH had difficulty following the links to Article 7 in my website, the direct link is: http://www.lfhs.pxxq.com/contract/07.htm In the past, the school board has agreed to deduct union dues from all teachers regardless of whether they wanted to be in the union or not. This was always wrong and the current contract should be the last time that we abet this coercion. In a spirit of comity, we went along with it in the past. The strike of September, 2012 changed that. Many teachers did not want to strike and now many more don’t want to be in the union. Why should the board force them to?

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