A Democratic candidate for the state legislature is running TV commercials and sending out mailers suggesting her Republican opponent believes schools shouldn't be required to check if potential employees are child sex offenders.
Her opponent says the ads are not only a stretch but a fabrication.
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Democrat Deb Conroy, an artist from Elmhurst and former Elmhurst Unit District 205 school board member, began running the TV spot this week and two print advertisements late last month that accuse Republican Dan Kordik, a Villa Park attorney and current York Township clerk, as being "dangerously out of touch."
The 30-second commercial features two parents and a grandmother, who asks, "Don't you want your children to be safe at school?" One of the fliers features a child backed into a corner.
The two candidates are running for a 2-year term to represent the 46th House District, which covers parts of Addison, Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn, Glendale Heights, Lombard, Oakbrook Terrace and Villa Park.
The ads cite minutes from a Sept. 14, 1992, meeting of the Villa Park Elementary District 45 school board, when Kordik was board vice president. At that meeting, a resolution was unanimously approved expressing opposition to unfunded state mandates to local school districts.
And though the resolution doesn't specifically mention background checks for new employees, Conroy said the "big picture" of the decision "can very seriously affect the future of our children."
"By painting with such a broad brush, Mr. Kordik took part in an official declaration that no matter how necessary a particular mandate may be, the state legislature has no business directing the school to do things such as provide adequate safety or adjust to new potential threats to children," Conroy said.
She says the ads aren't a stretch and believes they are honest campaign advertising.
Kordik called the ads "hit pieces."
"It's a total fabrication using scare tactics and smear tactics to try to win an election," Kordik said.
The resolution passed by the school board states, in part: "Legislation encroaching upon the local and lay control of schools should be curtailed and, therefore, programs or services mandated by the Illinois General Assembly or the State Board of Education should be opposed unless there is clear evidence of need for the mandate and the Illinois General Assembly provides supplemental revenues to fully fund the additional costs of those programs."
On the issue of unfunded mandates, Kordik said he believes in local school district control because districts "have the best idea of how to fund education for their children."
Conroy said she would like to go to Springfield to "bring the understanding of what can and can't be tolerated." For example, she said issues related to special education need to be funded.
"Unfunded mandates needs change from the state level," Conroy said. "They need to have an understanding of how that directly affects our schools and indirectly affects our students every day."
Conroy's TV commercial is the second one her campaign has put out, and she has sent about 10 mailings so far.
Since Aug. 27, her campaign has received a total of $61,475.96 in-kind from the state Democratic Party for printing and postage. The party has also donated $95,000 to her campaign, in addition to $20,000 from House Speaker Michael Madigan's campaign fund -- all in the month of September, according to filings with the Illinois State Board of Elections.
Kordik has sent four mailings.
The state Republican Party has paid for $29,441 for printing and postage, and the House Republican Organization funded a $5,100 opinion poll.
Kordik contributed $31,666.67 to his own campaign fund last December, before he defeated John "Chip" Humes in the Republican primary and made another $30,000 contribution in June.