Oak Park’s District 97 elementary school board will get three new members even as it retains its current board president, who was up for reelection.
Challenger Jung Kim was the top vote-getter in a field of five candidates vying for four seats on the board. Kim garnered 24.5 percent of the vote, followed by challengers Cheree Moore and Gavin Kearney, who garnered roughly 23 percent and 21 percent of the vote, respectively. Challenger Barika Grant garnered around 10 percent of the vote and was out of the running.
The infusion of new blood onto the D97 board comes as veteran members Bob Spatz and Jim O’Connor depart. The loss of Spatz — a 12-year member who was widely respected for his deep institutional knowledge — will be particularly felt.
Spurlock and the three newcomers will almost immediately confront the task of implementing the district’s new racial equity policy, which the current board approved unanimously last month.
During interviews last month, Kim, Moore and Kearney — all of whom have experience serving on PTOs in the district — said that the district could improve how it communicates and engages with families, particularly those who are marginalized by race, income status, ability and other factors.
Incumbent Holly Spurlock said that she sees communication and stakeholder engagement as areas of improvement for the district, adding that the district can be more effective in those areas “by making all of our students and families feel more welcome at our schools.”
None of the candidates could be reached for comment late Tuesday night.