Guest Column: District 205 leaves voters behind
By Barb Dent
District 205 School Board is again violating the constitutional rights of its residents. This time its the voters in Sub-Districts D & F. Board members, Mike Williams, Nancy Kalchbrenner, Jay Nellis and Robert Evans voted to illegally lengthen the terms of Kalchbrenner and Nellis. They also voted to deprive the voters in the new sub-districts D & F not only of their right to vote for a new school board member in April 2003, but to also deny these voters the right to run for these board seats as well. Whats even worse is that the school board who promised to focus on the classroom, not the courtroom, is going back to court and hopes one of our Circuit Court judges will ratify their illegal plan AND grant an injunction to prevent anyone from challenging school board elections until 2011.
Imagine you are speeding, and a policeman is behind with you with his lights on. You refuse to stop, keep speeding and now break the law by running stop signs. The school board with their vote on Tuesday, Aug. 13th has chosen to ignore the law on how redistricting is to be done, wants to continue their violations of the election law and also have decided to commit another illegal act by extending fellow board members terms.
The facts are:
1. In April 2001, all seven board seats should have been up for re-election. Redistricting should have taken place and lots should have been drawn to determine the length of each sub-districts terms.
2. Because Ted Biondo and Patti Delugas were elected for a FULL four-year term beginning in November 1997, Kalchbrenner and Nellis didnt begin to serve until November 2001. Kalchbrenner and Nellis were elected to serve less than four years.
3. The school district is bound by law to redraw all of the sub-districts boundaries because of the growth in Sub-districts D & F.
4. The Illinois school code provides for ALL seven seats TO BE UP FOR RE-ELECTION if you redistrict. It also requires at the same time the board votes to approve a new map, the board must draw lots to see which sub-districts will serve the first two-year term and which one will serve the last two-year term for the next decade. The law requires at least two two-year terms. Kalchbrenner tried to legitimize her unethical vote by stating that the board would be breaking a law if all seven seats are up and if there are multiple two-year terms. Obviously, she is wrong.
5. The school boards solution VIOLATES MORE OF THE ELECTION CODE than it complies with it. The boards solution violates the election law by picking the sub-districts, which will serve a two-year term instead of drawing for it. They also violate the law by not having all sub-districts serve a two-year term in the next decade. They continue to violate the law by not having all seven seats be up together during this decade. The board violates the law by lengthening the terms of Kalchbrenner and Nellis. The board wont be in compliance with the law until 2011.
The closest solution to compliance is that the board should vote to have all seven seats up in April, 2003. They should also redraw the map and draw lots to see which sub-districts will serve the two-year terms. In less than eight months, the board would be back in compliance with the law.
This boards actions are no different than when the board chose to illegally tax the taxpayers using the Tort Fund. This time, they want to discriminate against the voters. Hopefully, the court will reject their illegal plan and put them on a lawful path. Visit http://www.r-e-a-ch.org to be kept informed about District 205.
Barb Dent is the president of R.E.A.CH.Rockford Educating All Children.