Before January of this year I can honestly say I had never attending a Deerfield Public Schools District 109 Board of Education meeting. Needless to say, things have changed.
With a Teachers Strike looming, it was important to me to see what was going on and try to get the facts on the situation. While I understand the situation with the Deerfield Education Association teachers union has caused significant strife, the meetings have been negative, angry, divisive, uninformative and left me incredibly frustrated.
I have felt this from both parents in the community as well as the Board members. I thought the Board’s responsibility was to have open and honest communication with the community. This is clearly not occurring.
But before I get too far ahead of myself in my own anger and frustration over our chosen elected officials...they are our own elected officials. Let’s think about this for a moment.
1. Did you vote in the last election for District 109 Board of Education members?
2. Were you aware of the priorities and stances of those Board of Education members you chose to vote for?
Good for You if You Said Yes
If you answered yes to both of these questions, then kudos to you. Unfortunately for many others, including myself, I was an uninformed voter. At that time, I had been happy with my District 109 experience and did not educate myself on the priorities or positions of those running for the Board. I assumed things had gone well thus far, so stick with the incumbents. My mistake. My bad. Definitely will not make that mistake again.
Our Board of Education has seven elected positions. They run for four year terms. Three of the current Board members are in their third term, two are in their second term and two members are in the midst of their first.
Four members’ terms are up in 2013. The other three are in position until 2015. The Board has many responsibilities, possibly the most important being the hiring of the District superintendent.
Many community members have stood up to speak at the recent Board meetings unhappy with what is happening with the negotiations, special education and air quality in our district among many other issues.
Many are quick to point fingers and judge our current Board members. I have to believe the current Board is doing the best that they can to resolve the issues at hand. I have to believe that they did not choose to run for an unpaid elected community position to run our school district into the ground.
Are You Unhappy? What Should You Do?
But, I, like many others, are not happy with the current state of our District. So where does that leave us?
In 2013, four slots will be open. It is an off-election year. Hopefully, the looming teachers strike is far from our minds. But not too far. I believe we will need some new faces, fresh energy and a different perspective on the Board of Education in 2013.
Are you ready to step up? When Mark Levitt resigned his position on the District 109 Board of Education in 2010 to become a judge, 25 applicants applied for the open Board of Education position. That is an amazing number.
Twenty five members of our community were willing to step up. I hope that come 2013, there are even more individuals willing to step up and create the change we need in Deerfield. And, I hope, we can all say we not only went to the voting booth-but we went with the information needed to make our own educated decision for the District 109 community. Don’t you?