All hands on deck for Unit 4 board

All hands on deck for Unit 4 board

Champaign's school board members have their hands full.

After filling a vacancy last week, the seven-member Champaign school board is back to full strength.

The board appointed Kerris Lee, a 30-year-old businessman, to fill the vacancy created by the surprising and disappointing resignation of Stig Lanesskog. We used those adjectives to describe Lanesskog's leaving because he was just re-elected to the board in April.

For him to turn around and vacate a post to which he was just re-elected and to do so without public explanation is no way to do business.

We hope and trust Lanesskog's resignation from the board will be the last for a while because the board's credibility has been undermined by a flurry of unexpected vacancies.

The vacancy created by the death of veteran board member Greg Novak was, obviously, unavoidable. Two other members, Sue Grey and Thomas Lockman Jr., resigned their posts to pursue professional advancement — Grey as the head of the local United Way and Lockman to fill a post as the school district's in-house counsel.

Lanesskog's departure marked the fourth sudden vacancy on a seven-member board.

Instead of having veteran board members who have established credibility with the public through multiple elections, we now have a board made up largely of people not well known to the public. That, of course, is not their fault; with the exception of Lee, they all were elected, albeit in a disappointingly low-turnout election. Nonetheless, five of the seven board members are relative novices.

Given the challenges current board members face, most particularly making plans for a hugely expensive school building construction program, they will have to work hard to establish public support. It will not be an easy job, and they had best get at it. Getting a full slate back on the board is the first step.

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