This letter is to explain why I elected to step down as president of the District 200 Board of Education last week.

I respect the decision of the majority of the board to reopen negotiations with Dr. Attila Weninger, superintendent of the district, for a one-year extension of his contract. However, the discussions that occurred before the board meeting were held without knowledge of the entire board of education, despite there being plenty of time and opportunity to talk with me and other board members. In my view, this defies the process of open discussion and inclusion of all board members in decisions that affect our district. By failing to alert the president, they also impeded my ability to bring an important agenda item to the board’s attention in advance of the meeting.

In the interest of full disclosure, I had discussions with a couple of community members and even one board member about the possibility of renewing negotiations a month ago, after Dr. Weninger announced his retirement in mid-October. But I had heard nothing about this in the interim. The recent actions of some board members betrayed the democratic process and tarnished the trust I had in our membership to abide by honorable standards of conduct. Under these circumstances, I felt obligated to step down as president.

I will continue to serve as a board member and hope that we can move forward with renewed commitment to inclusive, open and democratic communications and decision making. As stewards of a school that professes excellence, we should settle for nothing less.

Dietra Millard
Oak Park
Member, District 200 Board of Education

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