CHICAGO HEIGHTS | The regional school superintendent for south suburban Cook County hopes to fill a vacancy on the Thornton Township High School District 205 board by the end of next week.
Vanessa Kinder, the executive director for the regional superintendent’s office based in Chicago Heights, said Friday that officials have spent this week trying to figure out the process to pick a new board member.
“The school code is silent on this matter, other than to tell us we have 30 days to act,” Kinder said.
The school code gives school boards a 45-day period in which to fill vacancies. But the District 205 School Board failed to meet that deadline to pick a replacement for Kenneth Williams — the School Board president whom a Cook County judge determined was ineligible to serve because of his 28-year-old criminal conviction and 22-month prison term in Indiana.
Now, it is in the hands of the regional superintendent’s office, which has until Jan. 6 to pick a new School Board member.
Yet Kinder said officials are hoping they can have a new board member named by Friday.
“Our goal is for them to have a January meeting with a full board,” Kinder said. The District 205 School Board is scheduled to have its next regular meeting Jan. 8 at Thornton High School in Harvey.
Kinder said state officials were not sure whether they would interview people interested in applying for the post, or merely take the highest vote-getter from among the losers of the April 9 election for the School Board.
If the latter route is chosen, then the new School Board member would be Ray C. Banks, the executive director of Restoration Ministries of Harvey, who received 9.06 percent of the votes — finishing fifth among the 11 candidates on the ballot.
“It can be argued that we’d be respecting the 'voice of the community' by doing it that way,” Kinder said.
Banks said he is still interested in becoming a School Board member.
“We need to get back to the bottom line. It’s about the kids,” Banks said. “We need to provide an education for the kids.”