7 seek Lake Bluff school board seat
Updated: December 11, 2012 10:20AM
LAKE BLUFF — While the village and library board nominations are uncontested so far — the candidate petition-filing deadline is Dec. 26 — the Lake Bluff Elementary School District 65 race is turning into a duel.
District 65 Board President Mary Jane Brady, school board member Eric Waggoner and newcomer Kate Amaral have joined together as Smartchoices 65 to run against the slate of candidates endorsed by the Lake Bluff School Caucus.
While not running together as a slate, the Smartchoices trio have joined forces because they have “a nice, synergistic dynamic,” Brady said.
“We’re not exactly campaigning together. We’re not going to tell everybody to vote for all three of us,” she said.
The Lake Bluff School Caucus has endorsed a slate of newcomers to the District 65 School Board: Julie Gottshall, a current library board member; Richard Hegg; Christine Letchinger, current village president; and John Marozsan, current library board president.
There are four positions opening on the District 65 school board.
The caucus also endorsed incumbent Todd Burgener for the Lake Forest High School District 115 board.
Lake Bluff School Caucus President Kathy Blahunka said the caucus considered seven applicants for the District 65 board, and three for District 115.
“We had an excellent group. It was really tough,” Blahunka said.
Established by the local League of Women Voters in 1956, the Lake Bluff Schools Caucus is a group of non-partisan volunteers who must be on the caucus for at least six months before voting to avoid any “stacking the vote to get someone on the ballot,” Blahunka said.
The caucus’ intention for the April election was to find a blend of candidates representing different geographic areas in Lake Bluff and Knollwood, and those who have children in the school system and those who do not, Blahunka said.
Anyone who is a registered voter in District 65 can volunteer for the caucus on a first-come, first-served basis.
“The whole goal is to get to know people who want to run for the school board and, as a group, select people who will do the best job for the community,” Blahunka said.
Though they were approached by the caucus to be considered for its endorsement, Blahunka said the Smartchoices candidates did not choose to participate in the vetting process.
Brady, who has served on the District 65 School Board for the past five years including that last two as president, said she chose not to seek the endorsement of the caucus for several reasons.
“People don’t understand the caucus process,” Brady said. “What typically happens is people vote for whoever is on the ballot.”
With four spots open on the District 65 School Board, Amaral, Brady and Waggoner wanted to give residents an alternative.
“Elections are about choice,” Brady said.