Chew on this: Incumbent D218 president knocked out by Kats

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

Bon appetit.

With a couple of recent food controversies surfacing in District 218, the lone contested board member spot found Board President Marco Corsi knocked out by Carol Kats in District 5. Unofficially, Kats garnered 784 votes, which beat out Jennifer Bylut (489) and Corsi (319). Corsi has served for 15 years on the board.

“I am very surprised, I thought this would be a lot closer,’’ Kats said Tuesday night. “A lot of people were trying to get the word out in Chicago Ridge and Worth. I was knocking on a lot of doors . I thought Jennifer ran a great campaign as well. I think people were ready for a change. Marco was there for a lot of years and people wanted a change.”

Corsi did not return a phone call Tuesday night seeking comment.

The election came five days after the Chicago Tribune revealed investigation results that the district spent $10,000 since July 2010 on food for its board members, mostly for board meetings.

Corsi defended the expense to the paper by saying that on meeting nights, members are coming in from their regular jobs and putting in long hours.

“Is a sandwich too much to ask?” he was quoted. “I would say no.’’

Kats, a teacher who wrapped up her duties serving as a member of Worth School District 127’s board, said the food issue may have swayed some votes.

“People may not have appreciated the way Marco responded,” she said. “The attitude is that a lot of boards have that practice and I don’t think that’s true. I can see a few pizzas once in a while. On our board, we had a few instances when we knew we were going to be running long and we had snack bags with a bottle of water.’’

Retiring Superintendent John Byrne rationalized the spending in an it’s-always-been-done-this-way vein.

“My only reasoning, excuse, rationale is it’s historical,” Byrne told the Tribune. “It’s been that way all the time I’ve been here. If I ask people to stay until 10 … at some point I’m thinking they should have a hot dog.’’

Byrne told the paper this practice has gone on for more than two decades.

This recent investigation came on the heels of the district making headlines after it announced on its agenda that it was hosting a special meeting March 9 to choose a superintendent at Louie’s Chophouse in Oak Lawn.  After media pressure, the board changed plans and had the meeting at the district’s administrative offices.

Robert Stokas ran unopposed in District 6 and Johnny Holmes ran unopposed in District 1 and both kept their seats on the board.