Meridian to vote on three school board seats


photo by District 15 News

Screenshot taken by Victoria Muller from a School Board Meeting at Meridian High School, in May 2020 from the NFHS network. A presenter showed the new Agricultural program his project to the School Board members on the left. On the right, a picture of the president of the School Board, Chris Jones.

Elections for the Meridian School Board will be held on April 6. Three seats on the seven-member Board of Education will need filled at that time. Monte Hogan, Adam Herbert, and Chris Jones are up for reelection.

“The voters elect the members of the Board of Education to represent public interests and to ensure that the school is being run in a manner that reflects the wishes and expectations of the public,” School Board President Chris Jones said.

Any local American citizen who is older than 18 years can vote for the election or reelection of the board members.

“Many voters are […] property taxpayers, and property taxes are a major funding source of a School District,” said Jones. “It is imperative that the Board of Education and everyone involved within a School District treat taxpayer dollars in a way that demonstrates fiscal discipline and a high-value return.”

The superintendent is responsible for the vote process and organization. He’s not a member of the school board, but he works closely with them.

Although all three members who are up for reelection plan to run again, there may be others who want to run as well. 

To appear on the ballot for school board, candidates must meet certain conditions, according to the district: 

  • Be a citizen of the United States of America
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a registered voter
  • Be a resident of the State of Illinois and the Meridian School District for at least one year prior to the election 
  • Complete a statement of candidacy 
  • Submit nominating petitions bearing the signatures of at least 50 citizens who are registered to vote in the district, with notarized signatures of the petition circulator
  • A receipt from the County Clerk showing that you have filed a Statement of Economic Interest (this may be done at the time of filing)
  • The school board election is nonpartisan, and board candidates do not run under a political party affiliation

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“Anyone that runs for the Board for a perceived personal gain, or for personal agenda, is doing that for all the wrong reasons, and those people will likely end up exposed, frustrated, and ineffective since the Board of Education is composed of seven members,” Jones said.

The seven members of the Meridian School Board meet once a month. The goal is to make decisions about the school district. But what decisions do they make?

As far as decisions go, it is really what time of the year we are in,” said school board member Rebecca Kraft.

The members have to make financial, staff, policy, deletions, additions, building, and maintenance decisions. It varies each month; this month, for example, the board made the final vote to approve the budget for the fiscal year.

“I want to ensure that we are providing those that the District serves the best level of education for what the District’s finances are able to responsibly provide,” School Board President Chris Jones said. “If our District does not produce students that are prepared with the necessary skills & capabilities to have high ceilings within the workforce, then that is everyone’s problem.”

The district’s financial issues are the greatest concern of the board. Despite the fact that not all problems have a solution, the board must balance the financial challenges faced by the school district.

The board makes sure all members can achieve their goals and can express themselves freely to make the system evolve.