I went to last night’s school board reorganization meeting in Lyons. As I approached the entrance to the building there were six people, several of them Village of Lyons employees, passing out copies of the agenda with a flyer attached. The flyer was designed to make the current board of education look bad, with gross inaccuracies, lies and statements like “STOP THE WASTE & BE ACCOUNTABLE!” Why did they felt the need to rub salt in the wound? Give a parting shot to those who were leaving the board? Getty’s henchmen were now the majority of the board and they don’t need to intimidate anyone to do whatever Getty wants them to do. Kyle Leonard, Getty’s flunky assistant, was passing out the flyers and I pointed out one of the inaccuracies on it and he told me, “Don’t take that too literally.” When I pointed out another inaccuracy he pointed to the door and said, “Go inside and take a seat!” When I persisted, he started to get angry at me and again told me to go inside.
Once inside I was amazed at the number of people there – probably 300 (we may never know the exact number as Mayor Getty took the sign-in sheets so he could check off who was there). Some were Village of Lyons employees, others had yellow t-shirts with “Mom” on them, staff members formed clusters toward the back. The Village of Lyons’ photographer was there snapping pictures. I sat down beside two guys with union logos on their shirts. I asked them why they were there and one replied, “I was told to be here. I’m like a lemming and I go where I’m told.” He wasn’t from the Lyons area.
Shortly before the start of the meeting four people in front of me got up from their chairs and the newly elected board members were escorted in and were seated in the front row. The Village of Lyons attorney (soon to be the school district’s attorney) Bert Odelson sat next to the new board members.
First order of business – public participation. Twenty-three people got up and addressed the old board and new board members. Comments were split with more than half thanking the outgoing board for their service. Several got up and recited some of the inaccuracies enumerated in the flyer distributed at the door. Many gave advice to the incoming board members. They asked the new board to keep children foremost in their minds. They implored the new board to keep politics out of the district.
Right before the new board members were sworn in flunky Kyle came up and gave them Mayor Getty’s last-minute instructions.
The rest of the meeting was rather anticlimactic. The new board members promptly voted each other in as president, vice president and secretary although this was only the second board meeting they’ve ever attended. They put forth their board meeting schedule without consulting with the other three board members to see if they could make the meetings.
In a violation of Roberts Rules of Order they added an Action Item to the agenda to set a special meeting for Thursday. The purpose of the meeting is to fire the interim superintendents (who’ve already quit in disgust), hire Kyle Hastings as interim superintendent, fire the district’s law firm, and hire Burt Odelson’s law firm.
I wandered around the room after the meeting ended. There was Mayor Getty making the rounds and congratulating his four henchmen. As I talked to parents and staff members I sensed their fear of the future. I was told some staff members were putting their houses up for sale so they could move away from the district. Parents vowed to keep an eye on the new board but they realized they were powerless to stop Getty from making whatever change he wanted.
I am saddened by the events in District 103. I don’t think the new board members are bad people, nor do I think they will speak for the parents and children within the district. They will speak for person – Mayor Chris Getty.
Odelson and Getty congratulate each other after the board meeting.