Big field for long-awaited EC school contests
By Carole Carlson email@example.com/648-3154 October 17, 2012 11:08AM
If you go
6-8 p.m. Thursday
St. Mark A.M.E. Zion Church, 4200 Alder St., East Chicago
East Chicago School Board candidates
At-large (Select 3)
Kenneth R. Clark
John C. Gomez
Emmett Karl Mosley
Mariecruz (Segura) Perez
Stephanie D. Ramos
Wanda L. Gordilis
Updated: November 19, 2012 2:55PM
EAST CHICAGO — No one can say there isn’t interest in the first School Board election in decades.
Candidates filed in droves for nine seats on the board, and all nine members will take office at the same time Jan. 1. Three will be elected at-large by all the voters and six will come from districts.
When East Chicago voters cast their ballots Nov. 6, Valparaiso will be the region’s lone school district with an appointed school board.
Because East Chicago’s board was appointed, the City Council has approved its budget. Now that it has an elected board, the East Chicago City Council will no longer approve the district’s budget.
Sen. Lonnie Randolph, D-East Chicago, authored the bill that finally gave citizens what they’ve been clamoring for — an elected board.
“We’ve been trying to get an elected school board for a long time,” said Randolph who’s proposed legislation since the 1990s. It’s been a difficult accomplishment for Randolph who navigated the bill through the GOP-dominated Senate.
After his initial bill passed with nine elected members, Randolph tried to tweak a subsequent bill to reduce the elected members to three, with one member appointed by the City Council and another by the mayor.
“But the people wanted nine elected,” Randolph said.
“My hope is that some good solid competent people with experience in education are elected to that School Board. Education is the key to everything — careers, development, the economy.”
Because there are 24 candidates, voters need to do their homework.
“It’s a very exciting process, it will be a challenge for everyone,” said the Rev. Cheryl Rivera, executive director of the Northwest Indiana Federation.
“It will give them more of a voice, it will give them the opportunity to help shape direction for public schools and public education for the community in a way that has not existed before.”
Rivera estimated the city hasn’t had an elected board in at least 50 years.
“When people are elected, it’s clear they are accountable to the public,” she said.
Among the field of candidates, three are now serving on the School Board — Constance El-Amin, Frank Rivera, and Emmett Mosley.
Only one, District 2 candidate Joel Rodriguez, is running unopposed. Rodriguez worked as former Gary Mayor Rudy Clay’s special assistant for economic development.
Jesse Gomez, a District 5 candidate, served two terms on the City Council.