Fisher enthusiastic about four more years

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I appreciate Wednesday Journal's view of me as an "excellent and dedicated" board member. I respond nonetheless to its concern that I made a relatively belated decision to run for reelection. Personal and professional considerations always weigh heavily on such a decision. Ultimately, my decision to run was made for the very reason about which the Journal expressed concern?#34;enthusiasm for the job, and by extension, the students, the school itself and the very critical position occupied by Oak Park and River Forest High School as a cornerstone of our communities.

My experience drawn from the past seven years of board service will be invaluable during the pivotal next four years:

? OPRFHS faces the retirement of its superintendent during the next board term. I co-chaired the search process which culminated in the hiring of Dr. Bridge. I am the only current board member or candidate with superintendent search experience.

? As District 200 works to make its 2002 referendum last as long as possible in a strapped financial environment, my experience negotiating two faculty union contracts will be essential.

? As board president, I signed an intergovernmental agreement with the Village of Oak Park, which is already returning revenue to the high school from Oak Park's TIF district. Last week, the Village of Oak Park approved an extension of the TIF district until 2018, so the intergovernmental agreement has already proven critical. My experience working together with boards of other taxing bodies to maximize the use of precious local tax revenue is essential as the need for intergovernmental cooperation grows.

? As OPRFHS works with its feeder districts to improve transitions for incoming students, relationships I have built with our communities' elementary school boards will serve that process. As 3-year chair of the Parent Human Relations Advisory Committee, I learned to listen to parents and value partnerships among parents, students, faculty, administration and Board.

As OPRFHS focuses above all on academic excellence with emphasis on minority achievement, I particularly appreciate the recognition I recently received from the OPRFHS faculty. It is well known that some faculty members were not pleased with the most recent contract, in which I participated as a member of the board. I believe the faculty's endorsement says that nonetheless, I listen and consider issues fairly and fully. In an environment of competing but meritorious demands upon limited resources (where there will never be unlimited funding), fairness is a very difficult thing to achieve. My commitment to thoughtful consideration of the complex issues before the Oak Park and River Forest High School Board of Education is a promise with a seven year track record behind it.

There is more to be done and I look forward to keeping my sleeves rolled up for another four years.

Valerie Fisher
District 200 Board Candidate

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