As an Oak Park resident and former member of the District 200 school board, I endorse Brian Souders as a candidate for the April 4 D200 school board election.

When I served as a member of the high school board from 1993 to 2003, I was proud to be part of a board committed to maintaining the “tradition of excellence” at Oak Park and River Forest High School and committed to fiscal responsibility and transparency to the residents of Oak Park and River Forest.

This was not a simple task then, nor is it a simple task 20 years later. Residents of Oak Park and River Forest want, and deserve, a public high school that offers a challenging and diverse academic curriculum and a highly competitive athletic program.

These two goals present difficult issues. How much of the school’s resources should be allocated for academic programs, art, music, classroom renovations, etc.? How much should be allocated for athletic programs and related projects such as locker room renovations and new athletic facilities?

What is a reasonable and prudent timeline for implementation of these improvements? More importantly, how do you pay for these improvements in a way that is financially responsible, transparent, and acceptable to the taxpayers of our communities? There are no easy answers to these questions. An informed and capable board must tap into the rich knowledge and resources available both in and outside of our communities to tackle these complex issues.

Brian Souders has a good knowledge of many of the issues facing OPRF as an involved parent of two OPRF students. He is also aware of many of the broader social, political, and economic issues affecting our communities through his interactions with various community leaders and through his community involvement. Brian has some thoughtful and progressive ideas for the issues facing OPRF in the coming years and is keenly aware of the need for community involvement.

I endorse Brian Souders for the District 200 school board.

John R. McCulloh
Former District 200 board member

Join the discussion on social media!