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Editorial: Madigan must end this Harvey school board outrage



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Updated: July 14, 2012 6:27AM

Attorney General Lisa Madigan has a job to finish.

In 2004, the attorney general’s office went after a Harvey school board member and teacher for felony theft and state benefits fraud.

Janet Rogers was convicted, earning a jail term. Her felony convictions also knocked her off the District 152 board.

Fast forward a few years and, amazingly, Janet Rogers is back where she started. She was re-elected to the District 152 board in 2011 and was then appointed president, the Sun-Times’ Steve Warmbir reported in Tuesday’s paper.

Doesn’t Harvey deserve better?

Madigan’s office is investigating, her chief of staff telling the Sun-Times that Rogers “was convicted of very serious crimes. Her current position raises significant concerns for us, and we are reviewing this quickly to determine our next steps.”

Those steps could include going to court to have Rogers removed from office.

It’s hard to see how Rogers can stay on the board. It’s no place for a woman convicted of two felonies, in this case for vastly understating her income when she applied for college financial aid for her son.

Despite her background as a former board member and teacher, she is not fit to serve. She betrayed the public trust and has forfeited her right to a seat on the board, much less be appointed its president. Rogers did her time but that doesn’t erase her misdeed. If she wants to give back to her community, there are endless other ways to contribute.

Attorneys for Rogers and the school board argue her re-election is legal but other legal experts, including the Illinois appellate court, disagree. The appellate court ruled on in this topic in May, saying felons don’t belong on school boards.

In that case, involving a man with a nearly 30-year-old felony conviction, the court said state law barred the man from running, let alone serving, on a school board.

The AG’s office is right to carefully review the law in this area but shouldn’t delay in going after Rogers. Harvey’s students deserve nothing less.

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