CHICAGO | Former Thornton Township High School District 205 School Board President Kenneth Williams filed an appeal Tuesday with the Illinois Appellate Court in an effort to return to his post.
Williams was ordered removed from his position last month by a Cook County judge, who ruled that his 1985 conviction in Indiana for assisting in a felony qualified as an "infamous crime," which makes him ineligible to hold an elected post on a school board.
Glenn Harston, a spokesman for the high school district, said Williams' attorneys filed an intent to appeal at the Appellate Court offices in downtown Chicago. However, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office said a hearing is set for Wednesday before Judge Rita Novak in Circuit Court at the Daley Center courthouse on the matter.
Appellate court officials on Tuesday confirmed the legal motion had been filed, but said no hearing had been scheduled.
"We expect there will be a hearing," Harston said.
Williams was unavailable for comment.
Williiams' attorneys had been expected to file a motion before Judge Rita Novak asking her to reconsider her Oct. 23 ruling that removed Williams from the post. But Harston said, "this essentially takes the case out of Judge Novak's jurisdiction" by going directly to the appellate court.
“The last communications the attorneys had with Judge Novak, she made it clear it would be a waste of time, so we’re moving on to the appellate court,” Harston said.
Williams was elected to the School Board in 2009, and re-elected in 2013 with more votes than anyone else on the ballot. In 2011, he was named by his School Board colleagues to be president.
But the state's attorney's office sought his removal because people with felony convictions are ineligible to hold a school board post, they argued.
Williams' attorneys argued before Novak that his eligibility to run for electoral office was restored when he completed his sentence for the forgery conviction. Williams was sentenced to a five-year prison term, and wound up serving 22 months. He has not been convicted of any felony offenses since then, and created a business, the Silk 'n' Classy Barber College in Dolton.
Novak disagreed, saying Williams would need a gubernatorial pardon for his offense to have his eligibility for electoral office restored.
The School Board is also accepting applications from people interested in filling the vacancy if Williams is not restored to the board.
The School Board is accepting applications at the South Holland district offices through Nov. 13. The School Board would then interview applicants and pick a new member at a future meeting.