In-person school debate sparking interest in District 70 school board election

A vacancy has been created on the Libertyville Elementary District 70 school board, and interest in filling it could serve as a barometer for the April election, when that and four other seats will be on the ballot.

Four candidates running as a slate already have announced their candidacies, with more expected. The period to file nominating petitions is Dec. 14 to Dec. 29.

For District 70, the immediate need is a short-term vacancy.

Linda Lucke, who was elected in 2015 and was serving her second 4-year term, resigned effective Sept. 26. A former teacher and district Learning Center director, Lucke cited a family move outside the district as the reason for leaving.

"The entire school community benefited from her dedication and teacher perspective," said board President Tom Vickers. "Linda brought a calm and insightful perspective to every issue."

Applicants are being sought to fill the vacancy. The appointed person would serve until the consolidated election April 6, when voters will fill the two remaining years on Lucke's term. Applicants must be 18 or older, a registered voter and U.S. citizen, and have lived in District 70 for at least a year.

Applications and letters of interest can be mailed or dropped off at the Education Resource Center, 1381 W. Lake St., Libertyville; emailed to; or faxed to the attention of Rose Bourgeois at (847) 362-3003.

The deadline for applications and letters of interest is noon Oct. 21. A new member is expected to be appointed in time for the Nov. 23 school board meeting.

Interested applicants also are encouraged to file to be on the April ballot for the remaining two years on Lucke's term or a 4-year term.

At least two of the four incumbents will not be running for reelection. Vickers said he won't seek a fourth term and board member Chris Coughlin said he'll be running instead for the Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 school board.

Interest in how the district is governed has risen in recent weeks as some parents have questioned the decision to begin the school year with virtual learning. A Facebook group called Libertyville for In-Person Schooling has formed, and about 200 attended a Sept. 21 rally in favor of returning students to classrooms.

This past Tuesday four candidates running on a slate called "Parents Delivering Leadership" announced plans to run for the school board. The group includes rally organizer Evan Williamson, a health care data and analytics expert and co-founder of the in-person school group.

His running mates are Lauren Marks, a speech language pathologist; Travis McGhee, an executive with a global trading firm; and Callie Johnson, a school nurse in Oak Grove Elementary District 68.

The four felt compelled to run, according to the announcement of their candidacy, to deliver leadership for the current coronavirus crisis and beyond.

The school board has failed "by not acting quickly, decisively and creatively to get Libertyville kids and teachers safely back into the classrooms," Williamson said in the announcement.

Elementary districts in Libertyville, Vernon Hills choose remote learning

Parents rally for in-person learning at Libertyville District 70

Libertyville Elementary District 70 school board candidate Callie Johnson.
Libertyville Elementary District 70 school board candidate Lauren Marks
Libertyville Elementary District 70 school board candidate Travis McGhee.
Libertyville Elementary District 70 school board candidate Evan Williamson.
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