SHABBONA – Residents of Indian Creek School District 425 along with the candidates running for a position on the Board of Education met face to face Wednesday to discuss the biggest issues facing the district.
The six candidates running for school board visited with parents, teachers and district residents at Indian Oaks Country Club in Shabbona.
The Indian Creek Education Association hosted the meet and greet, during which the candidates had the opportunity to talk with residents individually.
The issues addressed included the district’s need for more advanced technology, better communication with the community and transparency.
Peter Senkowski, who is vying for one of the four open seats on the board, said the main reason he decided to run is because he wants to bring the community into the discussion. Right now it seems the board is dictating to the community, he said.
Kelsy Hart, who also is seeking a position on the board for the first time, agreed the board needed to be more transparent.
“Many people of the community have voiced concern about not being able to get in touch with the board,” she said.
Hart said she did not agree with the board’s 8 a.m. Dec. 26 meeting, during which they approved a contract extension with a 6 percent raise and $15,000 retirement bonus for the district’s superintendent.
But the board’s current vice president, Cheryl Palombo, who is seeking re-election, said she understands the community’s concern but defended the board’s decision to hold the meeting at that particular time.
“For me, I wasn’t as alarmed because we were discussing it the meeting prior,” she said.
Board President Vaughn Boehne echoed Palombo in that the board had held early morning meetings in the past, so it wasn’t uncommon for them to do so Dec. 26.
Both Palombo and Boehne said they simply agreed on a time that would work for the most board members.
“It wasn’t trying to hide anything,” Boehne said.
If re-elected, Boehne said better technology was at the top of his list, while Palombo said she wants to improve the communication between the board and community,
The candidates agreed the district is in decent shape with its balanced budget and surplus, and incumbent board member James Hicks said he would like to keep it that way.
“I see no reason why that cannot happen,” he said.
Candidate Paul Delisio said he would work to keep the level of education strong while being fiscally responsible.
Delisio said he would like to give more opportunities to the students who will not be attending college after graduation.
“I’d like to see what they could offer more in trades,” he said.
District 425 candidate bios
James Hicks Affiliation: Independent Age: 75 Town: Shabbona Education: Other, certificate of advanced studies – education Administration, NIU Career: Retired school administrator, Sandwich D-430 Marital Status: Married
Peter Senkowski Affiliation: Independent Age: 36 Town: Shabbona Education: High school, DeKalb High School Career: Carpenter Marital Status: Married, Chandra
Paul Delisio Affiliation: Republican Age: 53 Town: Waterman Education: Bachelor’s degree, agriculture, Western Illinois University Career: Law enforcement, DeKalb County Marital Status: Married