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Two file for three open Kaneland school board seats

MAPLE PARK – Pedro Rivas likes his chances of securing a seat on the Kaneland Community Unit School District 302 board.

As one of two candidates who filed nominating petitions to place his name on the ballot for the April 9 election, Rivas – who has run twice before for Kaneland school board – is virtually assured of securing one of the three open seats on the board.

“I’m going to get out there, and do what I need to do,” Rivas said.

“But obviously, my chances are good,” he added with a chuckle.

While other local races will feature an abundance of candidates for open seats on school boards and city councils, the Kaneland school board race almost has been devoid of contention.

When the nominating period ended Dec. 26, only Rivas, of Blackberry Township, and current school board President Cheryl Krauspe of Elburn had filed for candidacy.

Krauspe’s fellow incumbents, Ken Carter of Maple Park and Elmer Gramley of Kaneville Township opted not to seek re-election.

Krauspe said she was “disappointed” by the lack of interest from prospective candidates. She said some people had indicated to her that they were considering running.

Krauspe said she’d like to think that the lack of interest in serving on the board indicates that people in the district believe the school district is “headed in a positive direction.”

The lack of candidates in 2013 would be a far cry from the heat of the 2011 campaign, when seven candidates ran for four open seats.

But Krauspe also acknowledged other factors likely were at play. She said some with whom she spoke worried about whether they would have the time to dedicate to serving on the board.

And others were limited by Illinois state law, which would effectively prohibit anyone from Sugar Grove Township from running for Kaneland board in 2013. According to that law, in districts such as Kaneland, where most residents live in cities but most of the district’s geography is rural, the board membership must be divided relatively equally among the townships that the district covers.

In practice, this means no more than three members of the board can come from any one of the seven townships.

And three current members of the board – Teresa Witt, Joe Oberweis and Tony Valente, none of whom are scheduled to seek re-election until 2015 – reside in Sugar Grove Township, blocking anyone from that township from seeking election.

Krauspe resides in Campton Township.

Candidates could have come from Campton, Blackberry, Virgil, or Kaneville townships, or the portions of DeKalb County within the Kaneland district.

Rivas said until the filing period ended, he was unaware that only he and Krauspe had filed to seek office.

“I had been sitting on the fence about whether to do this again, and finally, I said, ‘Aw, what the heck? Why not?’ ” Rivas said.

Rivas has continued to be involved in the district, despite twice failing in bids to win election to the school board. He now volunteers on the district’s financial advisory committee and volunteers elsewhere within the district because his children attend Kaneland schools.

“I think education is just so important, and this is another way for me to get involved,” Rivas said.

Krauspe said she is seeking a third term on the board, and she intends for this to be her final term.

“Everyone else on the board has only about a year and a half under their belt, so I feel my experience could be valuable, as we work on a lot of different issues,” Krauspe said. “With Elmer [Gramley] and Ken [Carter] retiring from the board, it only strengthened my own feeling that I needed to run again.”

According to Illinois election law, write-in candidates still could mount a campaign. But write-in candidates must notify the Kane County Clerk’s office no later than 61 days before the April 9 election of their intent to run as a write-in.

Should no one else seek election, Krauspe said she expects the Kaneland board likely would advertise the vacancy on the board and meet later in the spring to interview and appoint a board member from those who apply for the position.

The board most recently completed such an appointment process in 2010 when it selected Witt to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of Robert Myers.

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