District 303 school board to continue to discuss board vacancy

Updated 11/26/2021 12:29 PM

The St. Charles Unit District 303 school board will meet in closed session again on Monday to discuss filling the vacancy on the board following last month's resignation of former board member Carolyn Waibel.

School board members earlier this week interviewed in open session the 13 candidates for the vacancy then went into a closed session to discuss the candidates.


"The school board felt it was important to interview all the candidates who applied," School board President Jillian Barker said in a news release. "The additional time will give us the opportunity to engage in deeper conversations that will assist us in choosing the best candidate to join us in serving the students, staff, and families in District 303."

The school board must fill the seat by Dec. 10. The person appointed to the vacancy will fill the seat until the next consolidated election, which is April 4, 2023.

Originally, 15 people had applied for the position. Two applicants -- Bryan Earl and Sean McAdams -- withdrew, leaving 13 applicants.

Those applying for the post include Mitch Bridges, Jeffrey Garrison, Christine Heck, Jake Hill, Carl King, Matthew Kuschert, Elias Palacios, John Pontarelli, Jennifer Schuh, Saurab Sood, Kelly Taylor, Charlie Uchill and Steven Wiersum. Their applications can be found on the district's website, district.d303.org.

Waibel cited "unrelenting harassment" by community members in announcing her resignation. She believes the harassment began because of her stance on COVID-19 mitigation measures.

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"I was vocal about following the mandate because it's the right thing to do to follow policy," Waibel had said. "But it's certainly gone past following the mask and quarantine policy at this point. It's very personal. So I really have no idea anymore."

She was first elected to the school board in April 2017 and was reelected this spring. During a recent St. Charles school board meeting, she described some of that harassment to her fellow school board members.

"Someone has harassed me in my face walking into meetings when I was on a walker, I've had dead animals thrown into my driveway, my house has been vandalized, I've been followed and videotaped in a grocery store shopping with my son, my home was broken into, my car was vandalized and these people continue to libel me," Waibel said during the public comment period of the meeting.

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