State education officials will have to pick new D.205 school board member

2013-12-11T22:30:00Z 2013-12-11T23:36:09Z State education officials will have to pick new D.205 school board memberGregory Tejeda Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
December 11, 2013 10:30 pm  • 

DOLTON | Because officials from Thornton Township High School District 205 were unable to fill a vacancy on the School Board within a 45-day time period, the task will now fall to state education officials.

The seven-member School Board has had a vacancy since late October when a Cook County judge ruled board President Kenneth Williams was ineligible to serve because of a 28-year-old felony conviction in Indiana.

The board in early November posted a notice on its website for people interested to submit an application, and notices were sent by mail last week asking applicants to attend Wednesday’s board meeting. According to the board’s agenda, candidates were to be interviewed during a closed session.

But no such interviews took place. Board member Bernadette Lawrence said the 45-day period called for in the state school code expired last week. School Board members were quick to lay blame on each other.

Lawrence, who along with board members Edward Crayton and Lauren Green, had opposed Williams during his leadership stint, said the other School Board members refused to meet with them to discuss the issue.

But board member Toni Williams, who is the wife of Kenneth Williams, said she believes the Crayton-Lawrence-Green faction deliberately dragged the process out so that a deadline could not be met.

Board Vice President Darren Robinson, who was allied with Kenneth Williams, expressed a similar thought.

“The three members refused to work with us,” he said. “We did our job.”

Superintendent Stacey McJunkins was unsure when the regional school superintendent for South Cook County, based in Chicago Heights, would fill the vacancy. She urged people who previously had contacted her office about the post to contact the state to ensure that officials knew of their interest in the vacancy.

Errel Mayes, of South Holland, one of the people interested in serving on the School Board until a special election can be held in 2015 to elect someone to fill the remainder of Williams' four-year term, was upset with the way the situation turned out.

“It seems like the School Board is not interested in us. What is going on here,” she said.

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