I was both surprised and disappointed to see the Daily Herald endorse District 15 school board incumbents Gerald Chapman, Jim Ekeberg and their running mate Dave Seiffert. The Daily Herald editorial cited "demonstrated competence, firm judgment and an important range of skills" as supporting rationale.
At the risk of stating the obvious, "competence, firm judgment and an important range of skills" are only useful to taxpayers if they are actually employed on our behalf. I hope readers will review the facts and decide for themselves.
In 2007 Dist. 15 employee unions contributed a whopping $31,000 in goods and services to elect board members Chapman and Ekeberg.
Once elected, Chapman and Ekeberg and the board majority proceeded to approve a 3-year union contract granting teachers union members an average 5.5 percent increase in the first year alone. Six months later they approved a 4 percent increase for the bus drivers' union.
The board majority then voted for a very expensive bond issue to help cover the looming deficit. A handful of concerned citizens, with tremendous effort and expense, were able to put this on the ballot last November where it was rejected by voters 2-1. Consequently, the teachers union contract (which should have never been approved in the first place) will have to be reopened. These are just two examples of many.
At a District 15 candidates forum last week, Mr. Chapman said that he doesn't know if accepting money from the D15 unions is a conflict of interest, but "perception is what counts." Readers can judge for themselves whether union support is a REAL conflict of interest for an elected official or merely perception.
Taxpayers are wise to do their homework and vote for independent candidates not affiliated with the unions and therefore free to represent our interests. Manjula Sriram, Scott Herr and Gerard Iannuzzelli are three such candidates. Union members have representation. It's time taxpayers had some. Vote 1-3-5 on April 5th.