Six individuals, including three incumbents, are running for four open school board seats in Maercker School District 60. The newcomers seeking to serve on the board include Hinsdale resident Art Andersen, Westmont resident Pradeep Tekkey and Darien resident Michael Gombosi.
The K-8 school district serves students in Westmont, Willowbrook, Clarendon Hills, Darien and Hinsdale.
Andersen, 43, has three children, with two in the district. He said he wants to review spending in the district and to cut costs without impacting teachers and students.
"We need to look at everything (in the budget)," said Andersen. "I think the district can run more efficiently without raising fees on parents."
Tekkey, 47, said he believes that the district needs to reduce costs, too, but added that he sometimes feels that the district isn't up to par academically with neighboring schools. "I would like to see more of a focus on academic achievement," he said. "We have to keep up with our neighbors and other high-achieving schools."
Tekkey has three children in the district and has lived in Westmont since 2007. He has also been involved in the PTA and is also a scout leader for his children.
Gombosi, 54, has three kids who went to district schools. He said he wants to go through the budget with a fine-toothed comb to find more ways the district can save money. He also added that the current board needs an infusion of new board members who may potentially have fresh ideas.
He questions some decisions made by current board members.
"The administrative offices used to be at Maercker School (in Westmont), but they recently moved to a separate location," said Gombosi. "Why was that necessary? Now we have to pay rent costs. Decisions like that make me upset."
The incumbent president of the board, Paul Watkiss, said the board is now in deficit spending, but added that they are looking for areas in the budget to cut. "We need to find savings, but we don't want to cut teaching jobs and programs," said Watkiss.
However, he said the district may consider putting a referendum question on the ballot to ask for more money. "Finances are tough, and we still don't know what will happen with pension reform."
Watkiss said he also decided to run for two main reasons. Those include assisting the board in finding a new superintendent and to help negotiate a new teacher's contract.
The two other incumbents, Lisa Bishop and Patty Dieball, could not be reached for comment. Board member Tim Casey decided not to seek another term, according to district officials.
Bishop has a bachelor's in food science and food and nutrition from Iowa State University. She is the owner of Lisa Bishop Food Stylist Inc. and is a consultant to the advertising and food industries.