The North Judson-San Pierre School Board last night deferred a request to voluntarily relinquish their appointed status to clear the way for the establishment of the first elected board in the corporation’s history. That happened after an hour’s worth of discussion and public comment before an audience of 150 or so people in the high school cafeteria. The board reconvened there after North Judson Town Marshal Frank Thomas advised them the administration building was beyond its capacity as audience members spilled from the meeting room into the hallway and out the doors.
Following the public comments, N.J.-S.P. School Board President Pat Goin raised numerous procedural questions about how a transition from an appointed to an elected board would work.
“We certainly don’t want to have a separate election and incur additional costs,” Goin said. “We need to be cognizant of our money here at the school corporation, of your taxpayer dollars. How is it going to be phased in? Is it going to be phased in in July or January? What would be the new seating of board members? If a special election petition occurs, who is responsible for the cost of this, because there is a cost?”
Goin added the school board is willing to sit down with a few members of the group leading the charge to change from an appointed to an elected board and talk things over before the board takes a position.
Matt Bailey is one of those spearheading the effort. After the meeting adjourned he said the comments offered by Goin were positive.
“We would love to just give our input. We know they have the final say. We know that they make that final decision. If they’re the ones that vote yes to have a new plan drafted, then they have that final say, but it would be so important. I think we have a great group of people that could be a part of that to see a new plan drafted and really do what the people want.”
Bailey added the majority of those in attendance favor a change to an elected school board. Most just came to listen, but 17 people spoke. Of those who did, several spoke in favor of changing to an elected school board, while others support the current appointed system. WKVI will present the comments in their entirety Sunday at noon on Kankakee Valley Viewpoints.
Bailey says he’s going to see what the board does next before making any decisions. He adds he’s prepared to take the issue to a referendum if necessary.