New District 150 Board Member hopes to find "common ground" with Community

Published 07/31 2014 11:09PM

Updated 07/31 2014 11:18PM

PEORIA - The search to fill the vacant District 150 seat is over. After several interviews with eight candidates, Jon Bateman, a Richwoods High School parent, will be the new face of the district.
“First I'd like to thank the District 150 school board for the opportunity to serve the students and faculties of District 150," said Bateman.
Jon Bateman works with the PTO at Richwoods High School. Soon, his first action on the board will be to reach out to all PTO’s and parents.
 'I'm looking forward to it. There's a lot of good people on the board, a lot of good people out there in the district, "said Bateman.  
Bateman says he is surprised to win given the qualifications of several fellow candidates. Of those not chosen are former board member Laura Petelle, who eventually withdrew from the candidacy, and Dan Adler, the candidate of choice by the group Change 150.
Board President Debbie Wolfmeyer says the decision was not difficult despite Bateman living within the district for little more than a year.
"But you've got to understand, we have people on the board that have never even had children in District 150 or in public schools. So to me that wasn't an issue," said Wolfmeyer.  
Wolfmeyer says a new pair of eyes is good for the board. Bateman emphasizes standards and accountability, gained from nearly 30 years of military service.
"And my education is also industrial engineering. So it's very much a problem solving oriented type of education," said Bateman.  
He will need to put those skills to use. In a tumultuous year, community relations have taken a hit.
"Does that mean we are always going to agree on what needs to happen? Probably not,” said Bateman. “That's kind of human nature, but at the end of the day, you try and work with people and find the best source of common ground that you can to advance and improve the situation as whole."
Bateman already predicts an “interesting” ride. At the end of the day, he wants to help the board and the community discover common ground.
Change 150 spokesperson Sea Stipe issued this statement following the district's announcement:
"The leadership of change 150 is disappointed that Dan Adler was not chosen. We look forward to open and empathetic dialogue and are hopeful that Bateman will bring fair and accurate representation of the experiences and needs of the many fine teachers, administrators, support staff, parents and students within District 150."
Bateman says he's willing to work with change 150 under the right circumstances.
He will be sworn in on August 11.Bateman will serve one year before next year’s election for June 2015. He says if all goes well, he plans to run.


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