District 128 board candidates debate new pool for Libertyville High
As plans to build a new swimming pool at Libertyville High School proceed, candidates for the Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 board are divided on the project.
Most support building the pool now, but two don't.
Five candidates are running for four seats with 4-year terms. They are incumbents Pat Groody, Karin Lundstedt and Ellen Mauer, and challengers Kevin B. Huber and Jeffrey Harte.
Additionally, two newcomers -- Mackenzie Thurman and Kris Hoult -- are running for a seat with a 2-year term.
The candidates addressed the estimated $21.5 million pool proposal and other issues in interviews with the Daily Herald and candidate questionnaires.
Groody, the board's president and a member since 2005, strongly supports replacing the pool now and paying for it with district savings.
"The longer we wait, the more it's going to cost," he said.
The current pool is too small and has inadequate spectator space and other problems, Groody said.
Thurman, a 2011 Libertyville High graduate, said the pool is in a "decrepit state" and believes replacement is needed -- but he doesn't think this is the right time to build.
Ongoing talk about state legislation that could freeze property tax rates and shift pension costs concern him. So does the project's potential impact on the district's savings.
"(It's) too much of a risk to take," Thurman said.
Lundstedt, a board member since 2009, believes the district should move forward with the new pool. Officials can use savings to pay for the project and not raise taxes, she said.
"The time is now," she said.
Mauer, a board member since 2005, agrees. She acknowledges the district's financial future is uncertain but said officials "have to do the best we can in spite of that."
Hoult said a new pool should be built soon, too. "I don't know what waiting gets you," he said.
Huber, a 1986 Libertyville High graduate, said he swam in the pool when he was in school and supports its replacement.
"Most capital assets are not expected to live 40-plus years," he said. "The current board has planned to make that replacement and set aside reserves to do so."
Harte doesn't support the plan.
"I will have to be convinced of the necessity before supporting any large spending projects," he said.
The election is April 4. Voting by mail and early voting at the county clerk's office begin March 10, and early voting at sites countywide begins March 20.