Retired teacher wins appeal to run for school board, ‘will not be bullied’
The name of a retired District 205 teacher seeking a seat on the Rockford Board of Education will be on the April ballot, in spite of objections to keep her out of the running.
Jane Hayes, an 11-year District 205 teacher, submitted a petition to run in Sub-District C, only to have the petition denied by the Electoral Board.
The objection to Hayes’ candidacy claimed that many of the signatures on the petition were illegible and were those of residents living outside the city limits.
Hayes challenged the objection, filed by Haskell Elementary teacher Dione Baldwin, and presented evidence that her petition was above-board.
Hayes does not deny that some of the signatures are of registered voters living outside of the city limits. However, she claims, the voters do live within Sub-District C, making them eligible to nominate and vote for her in the spring election.
The Electoral Board agreed and approved the petition Wednesday, Jan. 12.
“They didn’t expect me to do my homework,” Hayes said. “They didn’t think I would come in prepared or have two attorneys.”
Hayes, a leader of the Watchdogs for Ethics in Education (WEE) group, presented her case through Rockford attorneys Kevin Sommer and Dan McGrail.
While her name will be on the April ballot and she faces incumbent Alice Saudargas, Hayes has a lot of work to do to notch a true victory.
“Because I am an outspoken member of WEE, I don’t think they want me on the board,” she said. “But, I think we are doing something right. We want to hold the district accountable.”
If she doesn’t win in April, Hayes said she will not stop being involved in the issues surrounding the school district.
“I will always have an interest of the district and community at heart,” Hayes said. “I will keep being a watchdog. It’s not about power and money for us. It’s about accountability.”
Hayes now begins the process of building a platform. Led by campaign manager Colleen Magee, she will focus on several issues, including the district’s spending plan of more than $400 million for fiscal year 2012.
“I will not be bullied,” Hayes said.
Ken Scrivano and Mickey Simmons also are in the race for the Sub-District C seat.
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