The Examiner U-46 News Feed
District U-46 Board welcomes new member
By Seth Hancock
The new Board of Education in School District U-46 was seated while the board’s leadership mostly stayed the same on Monday, May 1.
Miguel Rodriguez, chief legal officer, said there are 128,054 total registered voters within U-46 and 15,601 voted in the board race meaning a turnout of 12.2 percent. Board members Donna Smith and Veronica Noland retained their spots on the board while newcomer Melissa Owens unseated outgoing board member Cody Holt, and newcomer Enoch Essendrop was also unsuccessful in his bid.
Smith, nominated by Traci Ellis, retained her spot as the board’s president but with a 5-0-2 vote as both Phil Costello and Jeanette Ward voted present. Sue Kerr, nominated by Noland, was unanimously approved to continue as vice president but the board will have a new secretary pro-tempore as Noland, nominated by Ward, was unanimously approved replacing Costello at the position.
Costello told The Examiner he did not vote for Smith because “I feel that leadership should be rotated to take advantage of each of our respective styles and create depth in our deliberations. At a broader level, I feel that we should be challenging each other and our district administration to explore preferred options to the status quo and evaluate new opportunities as they arise.”
Rodriguez will continue as the board’s secretary and Jeff King, the district’s chief operations officer, as treasurer, both approved with 7-0 votes.
The board also has a new student advisor, Bartlett High School student Casey Pearce who will replace Streamwood High School student Eric Loera who said at the meeting he will be attending the University of Illinois-Springfield next year with “pretty much a full ride.” Larkin High School student Emily Renteria will be Pearce’s alternate if she is unable to fulfill her role.
In the 2015 election Holt was elected to a two-year spot along with Costello and Ward, both who won four-year seats, on a ticket seeking reform in the district. When that board was seated, some outgoing board members implied at the 2015 meeting that those three did not have the student’s best interests at heart simply for holding a different governing philosophy.
Holt said in 2015 the “outgoing board members had some stern words for some of the incoming board members. Tonight I offer nothing but well wishes and prayers for Melissa Owens and the rest of my colleagues.”
Philosophically, Holt laid out his governing philosophy of “adhering strictly to the principles of individual liberty” by quoting Barry Goldwater, a former five-term United States senator from Arizona and the Republican presidential nominee in 1964.
“I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is ‘needed’ before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ ‘interests,’ I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can,” Holt said in quoting Goldwater.
“That quote itself eloquently describes my philosophical foundation and the way I approach the issues while governing in office,” Holt said. “I know that the majority of American citizens prefer their government limited in scope as not to intrude into their lives or pocketbooks.”
Holt added that there’s still change he’d like to see and “it should not be business as usual” while adding he’s “still shocked at the massive amount of power and influence that organized labor has in the governing and negotiating power of our school district. Taxpayer funds should never be used against the taxpayers.”
Holt also advocated for a balanced budget with reforms from the state as U-46 school marquees have recently stated “Pass Illinois Budget.” Holt said that House Speaker Michael Madigan (IL-22) “and the Illinois Democrats have manufactured this crisis by refusing to compromise or meet (Republican) Governor (Bruce) Rauner on middle ground.”
Loera thanked several members of the district and board while also taking an apparent shot at President Donald Trump. He said his parents are immigrants and “we are not all ‘bad hombres’” while continuing: “It is important that as a district we continue to celebrate our diversity. We can learn so much from one another when we build bridges, not walls.”