Alex Arroyo

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Alex Arroyo
Alex Arroyo.jpg
Board member, East Aurora School District 131 Board of Education, At-large
Term ends
Elections and appointments
Last electionApril 7, 2015
First electedApril 7, 2015
Term limitsN/A
High schoolAurora Central Catholic High School
Bachelor'sSouthern Illinois University at Carbondale
Place of birthAurora, Illinois
ProfessionFlight attendant
Office website
Campaign website
Alex Arroyo campaign logo
Ballotpedia's school board candidate survey
Alex Arroyo is a member-elect of the East Aurora School District 131 Board of Education in Illinois. He was first elected to the board in the general election on April 7, 2015.[1][2]

Arroyo participated in a candidate forum hosted by the DuPage County NAACP prior to the election with the other eight candidates in the 2015 school board race. They discussed their future goals for the district, the need for more staff diversity and discipline and safety issues.

See also: What was at stake in the East Aurora School District 131 election?

Arroyo was a 2012 Democratic candidate for District 84 of the Illinois House of Representatives. He was defeated in the primary election on March 20, 2012.


Arroyo earned his bachelor's degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.



See also: East Aurora School District 131 elections (2015)


Four of the seven at-large seats on the East Aurora School District 131 Board of Education were up for general election on April 7, 2015. Only two incumbents, Raymond Hull and Mary Louise Peryea, ran for re-election. They faced the following seven candidates: Alex Arroyo, Kenneth Darby, Julie Garofalo, Mary Garza, Kimberly Hatchett, John Laesch and Anita Lewis.

Both incumbents lost their bids for re-election. Newcomers Arroyo, Darby, Hatchett and Laesch won seats on the board.


East Aurora School District 131, At-Large General Election,
4-year term, 2015
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngAlex Arroyo 18.6% 1,336
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngKenneth Darby 13.1% 937
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngKimberly Hatchett 12.4% 893
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Laesch 11.7% 837
     Nonpartisan Mary Garza 10.6% 764
     Nonpartisan Raymond Hull Incumbent 10.5% 751
     Nonpartisan Anita Lewis 9% 643
     Nonpartisan Mary Louise Peryea Incumbent 7.5% 537
     Nonpartisan Julie Garofalo 6.7% 479
Total Votes 7,177
Source: Aurora Election Commission, "2015 Consolidated Election April 7, 2015 Results," accessed April 28, 2015, Kane County Clerk, "2015 Consolidated Election Contest Results," accessed April 28, 2015


School board candidates in Illinois are only required to file campaign finance reports if they accept contributions or make expenditures in excess of $5,000 in a 12-month period.[3]

Arroyo reported no contributions or expenditures to the Illinois State Board of Elections in this election.[4]


Arroyo did not receive any official endorsements for this election.


See also: Illinois House of Representatives elections, 2012

Arroyo ran in the 2012 election for Illinois House of Representatives District 84. Arroyo was defeated by Stephanie Kifowit in the Democratic primary on March 20, 2012.[5][6]

Illinois House of Representatives, District 84 Democratic Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngStephanie Kifowit 48.6% 1,657
Alex Arroyo 26.3% 895
Carol Cheney 25.1% 857
Total Votes 3,409

Campaign themes

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Arroyo's 2012 campaign website listed the following issues:[7]

  • Economy/Job Creation
Excerpt: "My top priority as your state representative is the creation of new jobs in our district and the preservation of jobs that are already here. A job is the cornerstone of a healthy family."
  • Taxes
Excerpt: "Born and raised in the 84th District, I have seen the value of my house drop while my property taxes have continued to rise. As the only candidate who lives in the district, I do not have to sell my house and move if the voters elect me to represent them."
  • Education
Excerpt: "Education is the key to so much of what we do in Illinois. Our children truly are our future."

What was at stake?


Issues in the election

Candidate forum

All nine candidates who ran for a seat on the East Aurora School District 131 Board of Education attended a candidate forum hosted by the DuPage County NAACP on March 17, 2015. The candidates discussed future goals for the school board, the need for more staff diversity and discipline and safety issues.[8]

Future goals
Incumbent Raymond Hull

When asked what their main goals would be if elected to the board, incumbents Raymond Hull and Mary Louise Peryea and challenger Mary Garza discussed plans to improve school board relations. Hull said he was proud to serve on a board that makes informed decisions without making assumptions. He said he helped bring "decorum" to the school board and made sure all members were allowed to share their opinions.[8]

Challenger Mary Garza

Peryea said her main goal was to make sure all school board members embrace their roles. Garza's goal was to make sure the board works together with open minds. She also said she would like to bring "professionalism" into board discussions.[8]

Challenger Kimberly Hatchett spoke on money-saving techniques. She said her goal would be to improve the district's contract and vendor negotiation process to save money. She said the money saved could then be invested in the students.[8]

Challenger Alex Arroyo

Challengers Anita Lewis, Kenneth Darby and Alex Arroyo all mentioned goals related to improving dialogue within in the district. Lewis said she would improve trust with teachers and students by listening to what they need. Darby said he wanted to see a "role model effect" in the district, and Arroyo said he wanted to get the board involved with school counselors to help teachers understand what their students' home lives are like.[8]

The focus for challengers Julie Garofalo and John Laesch was on communication between the district and the community. Garofalo wanted to implement a communication plan so the district can share its work with the community. Laesch suggested the district hold more forums in order to let the community know the issues affecting the district.[8]

Staff diversity needs
Challenger Kimberly Hatchett

One in five teachers in the East Aurora School District 131 was black or Hispanic in the 2013-2014 school year, compared to nine in ten students. Candidates discussed this fact at the forum, and many said the district should hire more teachers and administrators that reflect the student population.[8]

Hatchett said it was important for students to see role models who look like them. Arroyo and Darby suggested the district set up an incentive program to bring in new teachers or to bring students back to the district as teachers after they have graduated college.[8]

Garofalo highlighted the need for training. She said teachers need the opportunity to improve their practice and training them to work with minority students would help with that. Hull supported lobbying at the state level to change how teachers are tested, as previous qualifying exams disproportionally affected teacher candidates who were minorities.[8]

Discipline and safety issues
Challenger Anita Lewis

On the subject of school safety, Hull asserted that the district's schools were safe.[8]

"There are some challenges, but they are safe," he said.[8]

Lewis disagreed. She suggested the district hire more staff to monitor the hallways, a suggestion that was also put to the board by a teacher in a March board meeting. Laesch agreed with Lewis and also suggested the district set up more uniform discipline policies at the middle school level. That way, students would be familiar with the rules before entering high school.[8]

Challenger Kenneth Darby

Both Darby and Arroyo said the district should take a harder stance with students who do not cooperate. Darby said the district should not "babysit" students who do not want to be in school.[8]

Incumbent Mary Louise Peryea

"We need the kids who want to be there to have the environment that encourages them to learn and that can't happen if there's disruptions in class," said Darby.[8]

Garofalo and Hatchett spoke on the importance of understanding the problem before expelling a student. Garofalo said the district should focus on training teachers in classroom management and to make sure discipline policies are consistently enforced. Hatchett said there should be an alternate education program in the district that focuses on a student's behavior issues. She said real learning cannot happen until the heart of those issues are addressed.[8]

Hull and Peryea both agreed that zero tolerance policies were not the right answer to address the district's discipline problems.[8]

Issues in the district

New superintendent hired

The East Aurora School District 131 hired Dr. Michael Popp as its new superintendent in March 2015. Before accepting the position Popp served as the executive director for teaching and learning at the Indian Prairie School District 204. He replaced the district's former superintendent Dr. Jerome Roberts on April 1, 2015.[9]

Popp grew up on Chicago's south side. He earned his bachelor's degree in special studies from Cornell College in Iowa in 1988. He went on to earn both a master's degree in educational leadership and a doctoral degree in education from Aurora University. He began his career in education teaching English at St. Rita High School, where he graduated. He later worked as a dean and a principal before taking on other administrative roles.[9]

After Roberts announced his retirement, the board of education asked the community for input on selecting the new superintendent through surveys, forums and in-person interviews.[9]

About the district

See also: East Aurora School District 131, Illinois
East Aurora School District 131 is located in Kane County, Ill.

East Aurora School District 131 is located in Kane County in northeastern Illinois. The county seat of Kane County is Geneva. Kane County was home to 523,643 residents in 2013, according to the United States Census Bureau.[10] During the 2011-2012 school year, East Aurora School District 131 was the 12th-largest school district by enrollment in Illinois and served 14,502 students.[11]


Kane County outperformed the rest of Illinois in terms of higher education achievement in 2013. The United States Census Bureau found that 31.7 percent of Kane County residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 31.4 percent for Illinois as a whole. The median household income for Kane County was $69,530, while it was $56,797 for the entire state. The poverty rate in Kane County was 11.1 percent compared to 14.1 percent statewide.[10]

Racial Demographics, 2013[10]
Race Kane County (%) Illinois (%)
White 87.2 77.7
Black or African American 6.0 14.7
American Indian and Alaska Native 1.0 0.6
Asian 3.9 5.1
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or more race 1.7 1.8
Hispanic or Latino 31.2 16.5

Presidential Voting Pattern, Kane County[12]
Year Democratic Vote Green Party Vote Libertarian Vote Republican Vote Other Vote
2012 70,028 723 1,767 79,122 2
2008 106,756 351 856 83,963 1,373
2004 58,673 - 1116 81,302 -

Note: Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" percentage, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off. Read more about race and ethnicity in the Census here.[13]

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