MONEE - Monee resident Heather Farquhar submitted the appropriate paperwork to get on her local school board's April 9th ballot, but school board officials in Crete Monee District 201-U rejected her petitions. Instead of abiding by state law and opening the choices for all seven school board seats for voters to decide, candidates for only four districts will appear on this year's ballot.
Farquhar is appealing the school board's decision. She is seeking to represent District 1, but the school board says that the current board member's term will end in 2015. Farquhar contends the law requires all seats to be open following the U.S. Census every 10 years.
Citing Illinois School Code (105 ILCS 5/9-22), Farquhar pointed out in to the Crete-Monee Record-Monitor that "school districts that elect their board members by separate districts (like wards) rather than at-large are required to follow specific actions every 10 years following decennial census," including: reapportionment of the district maps so that each board member 'district' (will have) compact, contiguous and substantially equal population counts; and, by lot, divide the board 'districts' into two groups, so that half of the board 'districts' would have terms of two years, four years and four years, while the other half would have four-year, four-year, two-year terms.
Farquhar's challenge will go before a circuit judge, similar to legal action by a candidate who is removed from a ballot by a local electoral board. The school board's attorney wants the dispute heard before federal court, where the decision could be delayed past the April 9th election.
While the federal courts may not render any verdicts before the April election, Farquhar also said she is "glad to have done my part in bringing the problem to light, but I am disappointed that the school and their legal counsel have ignored state law."