R.I. tells names of board candidates - Quad-Cities Online: Local

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R.I. tells names of board candidates

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Posted: Wednesday, August 12, 1998 1:00 am

ROCK ISLAND -- School board members changed their stance Tuesday and released names of the candidates vying for a vacant board seat.

The board previously declined to identify the candidates, citing legal provisions allowing it to keep such information confidential. Board members said at that time the names were being withheld to protect the applicants' privacy and perhaps spare them any public humiliation if they were not selected.

Critics of the decision -- including Lilla Burnett, a former school-board candidate, and Dan Miller, Rock Island Education Association president -- believed candidates should be named and felt the board was protecting its own interests by withholding the information. Mr. Miller also expressed concerns about having two appointed members named to the board in the same year.

Although members received no phone calls or letters criticizing the selection process, the board felt it was in the community's best interests to make some changes and release candidates' names, president Steve Clark said.

``Open communications and trust are essential ingredients between the school district and its residents,'' Mr. Clark said. ``In light of the tremendous trust shown in the district by its citizens, as represented by the recent passage of our building referendum by an overwhelming 80 percent `yes' vote, it is especially important to this board to keep that trust at a high level.''

Releasing the names of candidates -- after getting their permission -- was another step taken by the board to further open the selection process, Mr. Clark said.

By Tuesday, 11 of the 13 applicants had given the board permission to release their names, Mr. Clark said. The other two candidates, who could not be reached to give permission, may have been under the impression that their names would be kept confidential and deserved the courtesy of being asked, he said. If they do permit it after being contacted, their names will be released later.

The candidates named Tuesday are: Timothy Bino, Bill Cleaver, Adrianne Doeckel, Kent Ferris, DeLano Gilkey, Joel Keim, David Levin, James Pauley, Robert Reed, Sue Sambdman and Mike Thoms.

A couple of the candidates did express some concern about having their names released, but agreed to be named, Mr. Clark said.

Mr. Gilkey, who attended Tuesday's meeting and was interviewed by the board in executive session, said he had no problem with having his name released.

``It's a public position,'' he said. ``And it wouldn't be an ego problem for me if I weren't selected.''

By law, the board needs to appoint a new member by Aug. 21 to replace former board president Bob Swanson, who resigned last month to become the new high school athletic director. Board members agreed to meet at 7 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18, at the superintendent's office, 541 21st St., Rock Island, to select the new member.

Before naming the candidates, Mr. Clark reviewed the selection process, saying it was used twice before to successfully fill board vacancies. Board members decided to follow the same procedure again because of its proven success, he said.

Prior to the board meeting at Audubon Elementary School, board members toured Rock Island High School to examine the progress of renovation work. More than $16 million of work is being done at the high school, mostly during summer breaks.

Board members also approved more than $860,000 worth of drywall-plastering, painting, science laboratory renovation and an auditorium cooling system.

In other action, the board filed its 1998-99 budget for public review and scheduled a Sept. 22 public hearing on it. Expenditures of more than $60 million were listed, while revenues totaled about $47.9 million.

Anticipated expenditures of money raised by the bond sale for construction projects is responsible for the approximate $12.7 million difference between revenues and expenditures. District operating expenses will show a $162,000 surplus by year's end.

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