Well, here it is, practically Election Day. I never would have thought it, but, the race for U-46 School Board has been hard fought, and some people have turned somewhat negative late in the race. Negative facebook posts appearing, then disappearing, robo-calls Sunday evening. I assume the need for robo-calls signifies lack of a record to run on. I personally don’t think we need people telling us how to vote; I have faith in the U-46 electorate. Apparently those in favor of maintaining the status-quo feel threatened. I, on the other hand, do not fear change, I embrace it. It is time for the U-46 community, parents, teachers, community members, all stake-holders, to look at themselves and ask, is this the District we want, are we getting our money’s worth, do we want to spend our hard earned tax money on make-believe administrative positions? I hope you believe as I do, we can do better, we MUST do better.
While U-46 has a lot to be proud of, academy programs, national board certified teachers, SWAS and gifted programs, an excellent food service program, after school programs, etc. But yet, something is missing; COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT!!!!! Contrary to what the Board and the Administration say, involvement does not exist, or, it is minimal at best. They view silence by the U46 community as acquiescence, I view it as apathy. Examples abound; high school student busing a few years ago, attempts by CAC to work with area legislators on transportation funding issues, attempts by CAC to look at, and fix, school boundaries to relieve overcrowding, the Veteran’s Day issue, input into the school calendar change, all these initiatives were stopped, and stopped cold. As a matter of fact, during the recent debate on the calendar change, I actually had a sitting Board member message me privately, telling me that if I didn’t change my behavior, I would find it very hard to work with the current Board, if elected!!! Whatever happened to civil discourse? An honest exchange of ideas?
Then you have Board members voting on, and approving curricula without reading, or researching it, voting yes just because the author is a Nobel Laureate. What about the after school SAFE program? It is a much needed program, it is a worthwhile program, but, as a parent-funded program, has it ever audited? Was an independent audit ever done?
At a recent Board meeting, when the new calendar was approved, it was mentioned that only 1.4% of eligible respondents sent in comments or questions, or otherwise made their opinions known. I am proud to be part of that 1.4%. However, one could tell by the tone in some people’s voice, they viewed that as a victory, which must mean 98.6% of our U-46 community approve.
At the recent League of Women Voters Candidate Forum, a question was raised, allow me to paraphrase; given the rain tax issue in Elgin, is there a need, and should the Board of Education communicate with the Elgin City Council? The answer by one candidate floored me, the answer was, no, we have administrators who are in contact with, and should communicate with the city council. My opinion is that our elected school board should communicate with all levels of elected government on issues relevant to U-46; not leave it to unelected administrators.
It is time to put the rhetoric aside. What direction do we, as a community, want our school district to go? I am the candidate of the middle. I have the support of right of center groups, independents, and an endorsement from the Elgin Teachers Association. I believe I have the skill, knowledge and beliefs to help “center” this school district. Having served on an NCLB/Education Advisory Committee, a local Legislative Roundtable, CAC for approximately 7 years, looking at various District issues, including boundaries, I know what it takes to move forward. We need to focus on what we spend the taxpayer’s money on; will it make our children independent thinkers, or drones? It’s your voice, your vote, make it count. If you want a voice in U-46, I ask for your vote.