School board called out for violating Open Meeting Act

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MAHOMET, Ill. (WCIA) — Tensions ran high at a packed meeting of the Mahomet-Seymour school board. It wasn’t just with concerned parents, but also with members of the board.

We told you about a Mahomet-Seymour school board member, Ken Keefe, who came under fire for profiting off of a percentage of fundraising from a PTO event.

But several people who spoke say that’s distracting from bigger issues at hand.

As one board member put it, people are concerned that board members are picking and choosing policies to follow and ignore…thus violating the open meetings act.

Visitors who came to the meeting echoed this.

One spoke about the 5 minute time limit, saying some speakers were cut off at 5, while others were allowed to go longer.

Several board members talked about the fact that a budget they’re supposed to be voting on wasn’t posted in its entirety until Friday.

Then, it all came back to Ken Keefe, and how he profited off of proceeds from a PTO charity event.

He resigned from the PTO, but he’s still on the school board.

People had mixed feelings about that as well.

“I just think he mislead the voters. I think he mislead the community. And I think there’s obviously some real trust issues,” said Jason Tompkins, who is frustrated with Keefe’s lack of transparency.

Katrina Roberts doesn’t understand why people still hold issue with Keefe, saying “getting someone to apologize is impossible. It just really is. So the fact that he was willing to own what he did, the mistake that he made, and apologized and made it right…I just don’t know what else you want.”

A lot of this debate was caused by the fact that, as public record shows, Keefe didn’t list his “Fund for us” business in his “State of Economic Interests” form…which he was required to file before running for school board this term.

Board member Meghan Hennesy says if we’re going to look at the way he improperly filled out a form…we should look at a stack of other forms filled out incorrectly by people with the school district.

One man did call for an investigation into whether or not Ken Keefe is fit to stay on the school board, and for Keefe to suspend his seat until investigations are done.

But the school board said they don’t have the authority to do that. It has to be handled by the Regional Superintendent’s Office, it would involve a court process, and it’s rare they vote someone off.

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