According to Illinois School Code (105 ILCS 5/9-22), 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:
1. reapportion the district maps so that each board member district to be compact, contiguous and substantially equal population counts
2. by lot, divide the board districts in two groups, so that half of the board districts would have a terms of 2 years, 4 years, 4 years and the other half would have 4 year, 4 year, 2 year terms.
This matter has now been escalated to the federal courts who held jurisdiction in a civil rights lawsuit (90C7049) against the school district in 1990 involving allegations of discrimination, conspiracy and election schemes. Ultimately the school board went from at-large to a standard map with seven single-member districts with a special election in 1994.
Since the provision of the federal judgment order was to use an alternate voting district configuration that is standard within llinois School Code there seems to be no contradiction to also fully comply with the rest of the state law relevant to this configuration.
It makes you wonder why a school board would retain a law firm that is oblivious to or just ignores relevant state law. It also makes you wonder why the voters should retain school board members that don’t do their own homework or ask questions so as to protect the rights of the voters and follow the law.
This situation was brought to a head when Heather Farquhar, submitted paperwork as prescribed by law to run for school board member district 1. It was her desire to bring diligence, insight and accountability to the school system. Holding local government officials accountable is nothing new to Heather. Her husband, Jay Farquhar, currently a trustee in the village of Monee, has consistently fought for the rights of constituents to have transparency and efficiency in government. Jay is a candidate for Mayor with the Positively Monee party.
While the federal courts may not render any verdicts before the April election, Heather is glad to have done her part in bringing the problem to light but is disappointed that the school and their legal counsel have ignored state law. Meanwhile, she is glad to be helping other worthy candidates in the upcoming village and township races.