PEORIA -- The Peoria District 150 School Board began its new year on July 1 with two minute public comments, and with the election of Debbie Wolfmeyer as board president, even though she did not attend the meeting.
Wolfmeyer defeated Martha Ross 3-2, with only Ross and Costic voting for Ross.
Linda Butler who nominated Wolfmeyer, was elected vice chair.
Sue Wolstenholm, who was elected to the board in April, was inducted onto the board then resigned, as predicted. The board will take applications for her seat until July 11.
The board allowed only two minute comments, saying that was OK because it was a special meeting. Activist Terry Knapp complained, saying last year at the reorganization meeting, five minute comments were allowed.
Nevertheless, Knapp had plenty to say. He criticized board members and the administration for their attacks on comments at the previous meeting made by Sharon Crews.
"She was personally attacked," Knapp said. "I was appalled that the chair would allow members of the audience" to comment on Crews, he said.
Here is a recording of the public comments.
Crews said she was taken aback by the attacks at the last meeting about seeing race through black eyes. That metaphor refers to the title of a book, she said. Her comments will be posted below later.
Sevino Sierra said that despite what administrators have said, the steps at Peoria High School have not been fully repaired, and the lions there are deteriorating.
Greater Peoria League of Women Voters president Cheryl Budzinski asked the board to allow high school students time off to be election judges, as Dunlap allows.
Then in an odd comment, former Manual High School English teacher Timothy Gorman attached unions, saying he quit teaching rather than join the Peoria Federation of Teachers. "If you do excellent work, you do not need a union. Only lesser performers and employees need unions," he said.
(Why does he think teachers earn a living wage? That didn't happen before they formed unions, and it still may not happen in non-union and private schools.)
He urged the board to "push back" against unions.
Guess he hasn't seen the charts which show the decline of US income that tracks exactly the decline in union membership.
-- Elaine Hopkins