I am writing today in strong support of the candidacy of Vic Guarino for election to the Elementary School Board of District 97 here in Oak Park on April 5.

I have known Vic for more than 30 years, having grown near him in St. Giles Parish. His mother even claims that there was an occasion when I was looking after Vic and his sisters one evening, when I may have placed them in the basement of their home until they behaved more appropriately. I don’t remember this incident, but if it is true, it evidently had the desired effect, as Vic is now in every way a model citizen and father.

In all seriousness, I know Vic to be a person who has the career experience, the familiarity with critical school issues such as the achievement gap, financial management and student discipline, and the personal dedication to make a well-rounded and responsible board member. He understands that recent board moves to increase bilateral communication like the Town Hall meetings at many of the district’s schools were an important effort. He has emphasized the importance of reaching out to all parents to seek their involvement in their children’s learning, and in particular he co-founded a highly successful program at Irving School to foster such outreach to African American parents.

This effort and others are intended the narrow the achievement gap in District 97, and Vic has made the depth and breadth of his knowledge on this issue clear during the campaign. He has also called for a reconstituted Finance Task Force, so that the same kind of financial experts who looked closely at District 97’s financial status three years ago can update that analysis and help the board and the administration to chart an accurate and responsible economic course in the coming years. Vic has additionally stated that welcoming and supporting incoming Superintendent Dr. Connie Collins, particularly as she puts into place new systems by which she may increase the level of accountability within the district, will be a priority for him should he gain election to the board.

For all of these reasons, and more too numerous to detail, I ask that you use one of your three votes to elect Vic Guarino to the Oak Park Elementary School District 97 School Board on April 5.

Bob Walsh
Oak Park

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