Elwood Schools Propose $73M Budget; 4 Candidates for 2 Seats

The Elwood school district has four people running for two seats in Tuesday’s election, and a proposed budget of $73,077,631 on the table.

Two incumbents, Tom Scarola and Dr. Sara Siddiqui, are seeking re-election, with two challengers, Erin Aebisher and Chris Fox, vying for seats. Another candidate, Scott Sharfman, withdrew from the race five days ago, saying that “As we are of similar viewpoints, I do not wish to draw attention away from the incumbent candidates messages.”

Aebisher has been particularly vocal on social media. She has challenged the use of  two books, “Melissa,” which is about a young transgender girl, at Elwood Middle School and “Flamer,” about a boy struggling with his sexual identity, at John Glenn High School, and said there are better choices for students.

When Siddiqui, a pediatrician, signed a Change.org petition in support of the books, joined later by board vice president Heather Mammalito,  Aebisher responded,  “Clearly, Dr. Siddiqui and Mrs. Mammolito have not surrendered their rights to advocate for their children due to their positions on the Board. However, I believe it harder to remove the Board trustee hat where, as here, Dr. Siddiqui and Mrs. Mammolito are responsible for two of the five final votes on an issue.

“Since Dr. Siddiqui and Mrs. Mammolito have already made their positions on this issue known, I believe that both must recuse themselves from the anticipated final vote by the Board of Education, should both be in service at the time of the vote. Since my position is also known, I pledge to do the same should I be elected as your new trustee.”

Both said they signed the petitions in their personal capacities, not as board officials.

Aebisher also noted that Siddiqui, who holds a co-chair position on the Legislative Advocacy Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics, had taken stands that she disagrees with, on masking during the Covid-19 epidemic and on vaccination. “As a true proponent of parental and student choice, I feel compelled to share that despite publicly proclaiming to be a proponent of choice, Dr. Siddiqui’s actions have proven otherwise,” Aebisher said.


The district also proposes spending  $500,000 from the its capital reserve for districtwide security improvements. That does not involve raising taxes.



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