RPS 205 board president admits campaign error

Jude Makulec is seeking re-election.
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 6:57 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The president of the RPS 205 school board says she did not intend to violate electioneering laws Tuesday when she displayed a campaign sticker during the panel’s regular meeting.

Makulec, who’s been president for the last two years, says she wore a campaign button and displayed other images to promote her run for re-election earlier in the day. She didn’t plan to keep those images in in view during the meeting, and put most of them away. But, she forgot one thing: a campaign sticker on the back of her iPad.

Public access TV caught footage of the sticker as cameras rolled.

“I removed everything else because I know that’s electioneering, and we can’t do that,” she said. “I am in buildings all of the time.”

According to Illinois election law, a political candidate is prohibited from distributing or displaying campaign material in public buildings or during public meetings.

“I always take my stickers and everything off,” Makulec said. “I just hadn’t removed that from the back of the iPad.”

Makulec says she owns the mistake.

“The mistake was mine. I am not discounting it.”

Makulec’s Subdistrict D opponent Nicole Bennett released a statement Wednesday questioning her intent.

“I was surprised to see Board President Makulec with campaign material during the RPS School Board meeting last night,” Bennett’s statement said. “Campaigning during a taxpayer funded meeting at a taxpayer funded building is unethical. I would hope someone who has been on the School Board for 14 years would know that.”

Makulec said she could receive a fine from the Illinois State Board of Elections.