Four vying for District 15 board seat; Quinn won't run

Updated 12/14/2010 6:28 PM
  • Sue Quinn

    Sue Quinn

The Palatine Township Elementary District 15 school board will lose one of its more outspoken voices with Sue Quinn's decision not to seek a second term in office.

Quinn voted against the district's $27 million bond issue and teachers' contract, in both cases protesting the board needed to be more fiscally responsible. Both stances pitted her against a board majority.

It comes as no surprise, then, that Quinn already has endorsed two new candidates who are challenging Gerald Chapman and Dr. James Ekeberg, incumbents often on the other side of her on issues.

"I've always tried to make sure another viewpoint gets represented up there," Quinn said. "Whether a vote goes my way or not, at least we've had a hearing."

Joining Chapman and Ekeberg on the April 5 ballot are Scott Herr, a board meeting regular who actively fought the district's $27 million bond issue, and Manjula Sriram, a technology professional and PTA member.

Three, 4-year board seats are at stake.

Palatine Plan Commission member and former District 15 Foundation Chairman Dave Seiffert said Tuesday he also plans on running. The deadline to file is 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20.

Seiffert decided against running two years ago due to multiple obligations, and only last week started circulating petitions at the behest of friends and neighbors.

Seiffert said that while he sees himself at times aligning with the board majority, made up of Chapman, Ekeberg, Peggy Babcock and Rich Bokor, he'd have an open mind based on what he thinks is best for the kids. He's also friends with Mark Bloom, the most independent board member.

Chapman, the current board president, is a former District 211 superintendent, an Inverness resident and a consultant. Both he and Ekeberg, a medical doctor from Palatine, were elected in 2007.

Quinn said she decided not to seek re-election in order to spend more time with her three children and focus on her budding career as a children's author.

Her first published novel, "Life, Liberty, and Pursuit," was released last summer, and she has paranormal and science fiction books in the works.

"I didn't feel I could do justice to both commitments and not have my kids get left behind in the process," she said.

Quinn, who doesn't rule out a future run, said she is proud of several accomplishments as a board member, including her role in launching a financial report card for the district.

She said District 15 is better leveraging technology it purchases, and believes that despite the flak it gets, strides toward transparency have been made.

"Before I got on the board they'd say we're voting on item 102A and no one in the audience knew what it was," Quinn said. "Now, the board packet is on the website and there's more discussion at meetings."

She said she'll make herself available to her successor and recommends new board members do their homework and stand up for what they believe.

"Keep your moral compass strong," Quinn said. "I've always voted my conscience and have never regretted voting the way I did."