District 304 school board looks to move forward and fill open seats

 
Updated 2/15/2022 6:38 PM

Geneva District 304 officials hope to have two school board vacancies filled within the next two months.

School board President Taylor Egan and board member Alicia Saxton resigned last week after the district called an emergency day off school on Feb. 7 following a downstate judge's ruling on the mask mandate in schools.

 

"We have a lot in play because of COVID, and we want to get these positions filled as soon as we can," said Michael McCormick, who stepped in as school board president after Egan's resignation.

Roughly 100 parents attended Monday's school board meeting, with some criticizing the district's decision to call an emergency day on Feb. 7.

"The district did what was easy for the district, and they didn't care about the students," said John Kraunak. "I don't think we should have to make up the day."

In her resignation letter to board members, Saxton blamed what she said was poor decision-making on District 304's leadership for using an emergency day so the district could respond to the judge's ruling.

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She said district officials had two weeks to formulate a plan before the judge's ruling but did nothing to prepare.

"As a board member and a member of this community, I am embarrassed at the decision and lack of planning from Geneva 304," Saxton wrote.

Board member Larry Cabeen, who was elected board vice president Monday, said he spent the weekend reviewing the letters he received from parents on masking and the decision to cancel school. And though letter writers were split on the issue of masks, 70 supporting a mask optional policy and 67 supporting continued masking of students and staff, there was agreement about the decision to cancel school.

"There was total agreement on Monday's no school day with 61 letters saying that was a bad decision," he said, adding only one person had written a letter supporting the move.

Cabeen said he believed that masks would continue to be optional and that the district needs to move forward.

"I want to focus us on all working together," Cabeen said. "We're Genevans, and we love each other, and we all care about good schools and want to make that happen."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

McCormick said the board hopes to begin seeking applications from interested candidates for the board soon and name new board members in the coming weeks. Though he acknowledged that serving on a school board is one of the "toughest political gigs," McCormick that the turnout at recent meetings is an indicator of potential interest in the open seats.

"I'm really hoping that a lot of these community members who seem to be really interested will apply," he said Tuesday. "I feel like we'll have a little more interest than we have had in the past."

A district spokeswoman said she expects the district will have information available later this week for people interested in applying for the two open seats.

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