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Local Election

Lincoln-Way candidates endorsed by mayors

Area mayors have endorsed three candidates for the Lincoln-Way School District 210 Board.

New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann said he’s endorsing incumbents Joseph Kirkeeng and Joseph Kosteck, along with Aaron Janik. The three are running together and have a political action committee called Candidates For Lincoln-Way Excellence. 

Those candidates also are being endorsed by Frankfort Mayor Jim Holland, Mokena Mayor Frank Fleischer and Manhattan Mayor James Doyle. 

Kirkeeng, Kosteck and Janik are three of the 13 candidates competing for five seats on the Lincoln-Way board. 

Baldermann said in the time Kirkeeng and Kosteck were appointed to the board last year they’ve done a “really good job.” Kirkeeng and Baldermann have both previously served on the New Lenox School District 122 board.  

“They’ve done a really good job working with administration to right the ship,” he said. 

Some of the positive changes Baldermann said he’s seen at the district include the hiring of a new business manager and some financial gains made since last year.  He said he likes Janik’s approach to the school board and that he’s direct. Janik is board vice president for Mokena School District 159. 

Doyle said he’s endorsing Kirkeeng, Kosteck and Janik because they’re looking to move the district forward. 

“It’s a question of education for our kids. We get quality education for the kids. It’s a great school district. That hasn’t stopped,” Doyle said.

He said there are others in the community who want to close Central and West high schools and reopen North High School, which is closed this school year as part of the district’s plan to cut costs. 

Doyle said he feels bad that North had to close but it will cost too much for the district to re-open it. The closing of the school already has led to students being moved, and he didn’t feel they should be moved again, he said.

Holland said he’s endorsing the candidates because they have the knowledge and ability to enhance the educational experience for students and also be responsible for taxpayer money.

Calls to Fleischer were not immediately returned Wednesday.

Janik, along with board President Dee Molinare, board member Christopher Lucchetti and Beth Janus-Doyle, were recommended by the legislative body of the Lincoln-Way Education Association, the district’s teachers union. The recommendation followed a forum attended by all 13 candidates. 

Liz Sands, president of Lincoln-Way Area Taxpayers Unite, has stated her personal choices for the board include Robert Ripp, a former LWATU vice president; Janus-Doyle; Lucchetti; Janik and Cathy Pleasant, one of the five members of the Citizens For 210 slate. 

LWATU formed in 2015 after the revelations of the district’s dire finances and sued the district in an unsuccessful lawsuit to block the closing of North. 

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