By Michael S. Hoey

Correspondent

The Delavan-Darien School Board is still considering if it should change how its seats represent the district in an effort to generate more interest in serving on the board. Board President Jeff Scherer again suggested a plan for reorganizing and asked for other ideas from board members June 12.

Board member David Reinhart announced his resignation June 12. The board did not discuss how it will replace him. In the past, the board has appointed someone from the departing board member’s district to serve until the next election. Reinhart represented the Village of Darien. Even though Reinhart has only served 18 months of a three-year term, anyone appointed to replace him would still have to run for election in April to retain the seat.

Two other board members chose not to run for re-election in April. Chad Kort decided it was time for someone else to serve, and Steve Logterman moved out of the district he served. Both represented the Town of Delavan.

No one took out the official papers to run for the board in time to get on the April ballot, so the two positions were filled by write-in candidates Giovanna Moses and Ron Deschner. That generated much discussion, led by Scherer, about how the board represents the district.

Scherer said again June 12 that several people from the City of Delavan were interested in serving in April but could not because the two open seats both represent the Town of Delavan. Scherer’s suggestion is to reduce the number of seats that represent the city from three to two and the number that represent the Town of Delavan from two to one and make those two seats at-large. Scherer said those seats would not be limited to specific areas and might then be easier to find candidates for.

Retired teacher Doreen Grams cautioned the board that such a plan would be confusing to potential candidates and voters. Scherer said people are already confused by the fact that they can vote for all the candidates on election day, even if they don’t represent their area. He acknowledged that his plan could make things more confusing for some. He also said the district might simply have not promoted the openings well enough for the April election.

Scherer also said it is his goal to get more Latino representation on the board since roughly half of the district’s students are Latino. He said making two seats at-large might help with that.

Scherer said if the board wishes to make a change, a petition with 100 signatures needs to be submitted in favor of the change and the issue would then be put on the agenda of the September annual meeting. He asked the other board members for their opinions.

John Andreoni said he was hesitant to make a change while the district is still in the process of transitioning to the center-schools model. He also said he wants to make sure all the communities the district represents are represented fairly. Deschner agreed.

Roxann Kelton said she is in favor of having some at-large seats because it can be hard to get candidates from some of the smaller areas the district represents. She said if some people complain that at-large seats go to one area, they can always run in the next election.

Moses asked about the possibility of adding a seat or two to the board. Scherer said he did not think that was the goal of the board.

Reinhart favored some at-large seats and said the board should solicit comments from district residents.

No decision was made at the meeting. Scherer asked the board to think about it for further discussion in July.

Other business

      The board approved a new agreement with the City of Delavan to provide kayaks for the city’s recreational program on Lake Comus. Athletic and activities director Guy Otte asked that the agreement be for one year instead of three as it has been in the past, and he asked that a sustainability clause be added to better protect the equipment. Otte also wanted the agreement to allow students who have taken the outdoor education class that offers training in kayaking to be able to rent kayaks for free.

The board appointed Andreoni to replace Kort as the district’s representative on the Alternative High School’s board. The Alternative High School is in Elkhorn.

The board continued to move toward shifting control of the Dunwiddie, Arthur and Labonne scholarships from the district to the Delavan-Darien Foundation, which already controls many other scholarships. The board approved the move in May, but the foundation has some issues with the language involved. That language was addressed, and the board approved the changes. The foundation must now approve the changes for the transfer to take place.

 
 

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