Welcome!

Welcome! My name is Ken Keefe, and I hope to serve our community on the Mahomet-Seymour school board. I am dedicated, motivated, and enthusiastic about contributing to the success of our school district. My aim is to ensure the highest levels of public education for our children while maintaining responsible fiscal stewardship.

The election is coming up on April 2nd. You can vote at the county clerk’s office or at your local polling place. If you aren’t registered to vote, you can register to vote online, in-person, or via U.S. mail. You can even register the same day as the election, so get out and vote on April 2nd!

Please have a look around and comment on any of my pages to get involved in the conversation. Also, use the links on the right side of this site to contact me via social media or email.

For students. For teachers. For our community.

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Mahomet-Seymour School Board Endorsements

I have had many supporters ask for my opinion on the school board race. Now that early voting is here, I thought the time has come for me to officially state my endorsements.

As you can imagine, I’ve been paying very close attention to the race and have been carefully scrutinizing the ideas and plans of the other seven candidates. As this election will select 4 of the 7 school board members, I take this decision very seriously and I encourage every voter to do the same. In my opinion, the candidate forum provided the best opportunity to truly examine the individual perspectives of the eight candidates. For that reason, I will reference the forum as my primary source in discussing my choices.

Within Mahomet Township Candidates

There are four candidates from within Mahomet township and voters may choose up to 2 of them. I will discuss my choices in the same order as they will be found on the ballot.

Colleen Schultz – Throughout the campaign, Dr. Schultz has demonstrated, multiple times, her desire to work on the issues that I have heard echoed from the many voters I spoke with during the campaign. I think her perspective as an economics professor often clarifies a discussion so nicely. Take her response to the question at the forum about her plans for managing the district’s crowded classroom sizes. She brings the audience back to the fundamental problem, a problem that is vitally important for a school board, how do we value the different aspects of the educational experience the district provides our children and how do we prioritize our funds to match those values. One important thing that I especially love about her answer is that she does not talk about what she values. Instead, she talks about discovering what our community values by having a dialog with the community. This kind of engagement is exactly what we must expect from our school board.

Meghan Hennesy – When asked about how the school board can provide valuable opportunities for students who choose not to pursue college after high school, but another educational route to a valuable career, Mrs. Hennesy provides a truly outstanding answer. She argues that we need to rethink the role of college education and recognize that our school district’s goal should be to “build complete people that go out into the world and make a difference.” She goes on to explain that a major shift we need to make is how we talk with our children about this. We need to talk with our children about how they can be “whole people and not just the sum of test scores.” I marvel at the wisdom of her answer and her passion for recognizing that the important work our district must do is to develop competent, well-rounded adults and not just pop out as many college-accepted kids as possible.

Townships Other Than Mahomet Township Candidates

There are four candidates from outside of Mahomet township and voters may choose up to 2 of them. I will discuss my choices in the same order as they will be found on the ballot.

Ken Keefe – Obviously, I encourage my supporters to cast their vote for me. If you are taking the time to weigh my analysis about the other candidates, I’m going to assume that I don’t need to make any further argument for your vote.

Julie Cebulski – I continue to be impressed with Mrs. Cebulski’s passion for advocating for the needs of children, parents, and families. I think her skills in mediation and team-building will be a tremendously valuable asset for the board. I think you can see much of this in her answer to the question posed at the forum about what the board and district can do to improve the lunchtime culture and experience for students and families, especially at Lincoln Trail. She immediately got to the root of the problem by discussing the need for the district to build a sense of community among students. She said that this needs to be communicated directly from the staff. I also really appreciate that she doesn’t jump to punishments or reducing lunch time as a response to bad behavior. Instead, she asks that we seek the root causes for any misbehavior that is happening. Children are not inherently bad. When they exhibit bad behavior, there is almost always a reason and we must understand and address those causes. I truly believe that our school district will be blessed to have her join the school board.

This is just a small sampling of the reasons I will be voting for these individuals. They have each demonstrated commitment, diligence, compassion, engagement, honesty, and kindness throughout the campaign. I wholeheartedly endorse these wonderful women and I ask that when you head to the ballot box, you vote for Colleen Schultz, Meghan Hennesy, Ken Keefe, and Julie Cebulski.

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Vote By Mail Registration Is Now Open!

Vote By Mail is now open for registration. You do not need a reason to vote by mail and it lets you vote from the comfort of your own home. Here are the details that the county clerk emailed out this morning:

You can now request a ballot to vote by mail for the April 2, 2019 Consolidated General Election. No excuse is required to vote by mail, and it’s convenient and easy.

To request a ballot to vote by mail, please visit https://www.champaigncountyclerk.com/vbm. Ballot requests will be fulfilled beginning February 21, 2019, as required by statute.

If you need to update your name or address, please visit https://ova.elections.il.gov/.

Thank you, and please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,
Aaron Ammons
Champaign County Clerk

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The M-S School Board Vote Explained

The school board election in our community can be a little confusing, but hopefully my brief explanation will clear things up.

There are a total of four board seats up for election on April 2nd and eight candidates running. Two of the new board members must reside within the Mahomet Township and the other two must reside outside of the township. However, every voter gets to choose four candidates to fill the four seats. If you live ANYWHERE in the Mahomet-Seymour school district, you can vote for up to two candidates among those running for the Mahomet Township seats AND up to two candidates among those running for the outside of Mahomet Township seats.

Here are the candidates running for the two seats within Mahomet Township:

Here are the candidates running for the two seats for outside of the Mahomet Township:

On April 2nd, you can choose up to two names from both of those lists. If you haven’t registered to vote, you may do so with the Champaign County Clerk. Also, you can register the same day you vote!

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Why this time is different…

In the past, I have run for the school board simply because I wanted to serve my community and I believed that I could make a positive contribution. This time, my motivations have expanded. I still believe that I will be an effective member of the board.

However, I believe that the current board is in need of a major changing of the guard. I have carefully observed the board for years, personally witnessing countless meetings with no public discussion or critical debate. For years, board members have not asked obvious questions like, “How will this impact our students? Is it worth the cost or can this money be better used elsewhere? What are the alternatives and what are the tradeoffs? What more can we do to improve?” Either these questions are being asked privately, or they are simply not being asked at all. Either option is not good!

It is also remarkable that in the past six years, at least, there has not been a single non-unanimous vote by the board. This is a huge red flag that the board is not functioning as a representative body of our community.

We need new board members that are energized and engaged. We need new board members that will ask difficult questions and listen to parents, students, teachers, and administrators. We need new board members that will challenge one another and work hard to find the best solutions. I can and will be one of those members.

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