Voters should reject failed leadership in Lyons School District 103
In a heated election contest in the west suburban Lyons School District 103 where controversy, scandal and excessive spending dominate the board majority’s focus, voters need to take an active role in sweeping out the failed leadership and electing new trustees to restore the educational concerns of the district 2,400 children as the district;s priority on April 2 by electing Jorge Torres, Olivia Quintero, Vito Campanile, and Winifred Rodriguez
By Ray Hanania
In the past two years since Marge Hubacek and her politically focused school board took over control of Lyons School District 103, we’ve seen nothing but controversy after controversy.
Hubacek, with the backing of the politically controlled “Landmark “Newspaper,” are pushing one slate of candidates to keep control of the contracts, revenues and the jobs.
Just look at the headlines that the Landmark tries to hide or ignore:
The School district hired a man who is charged with 9 counts of attempted felony murder to serve as a 6th grade teacher, and only took action to remove him from his job after parents stormed a board meeting demanding answers last October. But instead of giving answers, Hubacek and her arrogant board majority not only ignored their concerns, they cut the parents off from voicing their concerns.
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Attorney Martin Stack who was at the board’s meeting which drew more than 200 concerned parents filed a complaint with the Illinois Attorney General against Hubacek’s board pointing out her actions violated the State of Illinois Open Meetings Act which guarantees that citizens have a right to address board concerns and the Illinois Attorney General reprimanded Hubacek saying the board violated the state law.
Who was the person who recommended the hiring of Andreas Rodriguez, who is facing felony attempted murder charges, to become a 6th Grade teacher. Parents want to know but the secrecy if the Hubacek-led school board has prevented that question from being answered.
We have a suspicion, though. The district has hired two superintendents to serve only half of the year at outrageous salaries topping $200,000. Their salaries are on top of the outrageous pensions they receive that top $300,000. The Hubacek-led board’s spending is out of control. Instead of spending money to improve the educational quality of the schools, the Hubacek Board is spending it to reinforce its political controls and their own benefits. They went from a $2.5 million surplus to a $1.4 million deficit in two years.
If that wasn’t enough, to solidify their control of the schools and suppress the queries concerned parents, the Hubacek Board has maintained a policy of shutting parents out of the decision-making process by failing to provide up-to-date information on a regular basis. The Hubacek-led board majority has intentionally shifted board meetings barely making the state required two-business day notice, in order to discourage parents from attending meetings. There is no easily identifiable pattern to the board meetings which bounce around to different days of the week each month.
That is part of the policy of keeping parents uninformed and uninvolved in the school’s business.
Instead of sending out newsletters or information about the educational concerns facing the district’s children, the Hubacek-led political board has instead turned the school district’s website into a platform for political propaganda, attacking board members like Jorge Torres who has challenged the board’s failed leadership at every opportunity. The website is shameful and focuses on the board’s concerns, rather than on the educational concerns of the children.
Worse is that the district has engaged in punitive politics, firing five school principals during the past two years in order to pander to the needs of the teachers — almost all of whom live outside of the school district but are a part of the union that has been funneling support to the Hubacek cronies and candidates in this election.
Principals who have held the union leadership in check, have been ousted so that the board can get their support in the election. But in exchange, the teachers have made their personal agenda the priority, demanding more benefits, wages and perks, rather than fighting as champions for the educational excellence of the students.
Hubacek and the Landmark are concerned that the slate of educational candidates of the Parents for Student Excellence — incumbent board member Jorge Torres, Olivia Quintero, Vito Campanile, and Winifred Rodriguez will win on April 2 and throw out the incompetent and failed leadership of the Hubacek-led board. You need to reject the re-election of Joanne Schaeffer, and the election of Hubacek-appointee Tom Weiner.
As voters, you can’t avoid politics because this is an election, after all. But that doesn’t mean that you have to be misled by a failed school district that is not doing its job to protect the interests of the district’s school children. You can vote on Tuesday April 2 to put the focus back on the safety, education and concerns of your children, or you can allow Hubacek and her board majority to continue to drag the district through controversy after controversy.
Lyons School District 103 includes six elementary schools, Costello, Edison, Home, Lincoln, Robinson and Washington, located in Brookfield, McCook, Lyons, Stickney and Forest View. Don’t let the Hubacek-led Board push you out and deny your children the best possible education.
This election is too important. Vote for the Parents for Student excellence slate by re-electing Jorge Torres, and electing Olivia Quintero, Vito Campanile, and Winifred Rodriguez on April 2 and take a stand for the educational rights and safety of your children.
Get more information on the District 103 Education slate on their Facebook Page by clicking here.
(Ray Hanania is an award-winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and columnist covering Chicagoland’ Southwest and West suburbs for nearly half a century. He is the father of a high school senior. Email him at email@example.com.)
Hanania also writes about Middle East issues for the Arab News, and The Arab Daily News criticizing government policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
A critic of mainstream news media bias, Hanania advocates for peace & justice for Israel & Palestine, & the empowerment of Arabs in America.
Click here to listen to Ray's Political Podcast.
Hanania's columns are archived on his personal website at RayHanania.com. Hanania was named "Best Ethnic American Columnist" by the New America Media in November 2007, and is the 2009 recipient of the SPJ National Sigma Delta Chi Award for column writing.
Email Ray Hanania at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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