Exceptional candidates for extraordinary times

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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In the upcoming April 2 elections, three local candidates need and deserve your support: Steve Lefko for River Forest District 90 and Fred Arkin and Sara Spivy for Oak Park and River Forest High School District 200. These candidates are vying for positions on boards undergoing dramatic changes, and their qualifications and backgrounds make them particularly important voices for our communities. 

Fred Arkin and Sara Spivy are incumbents. D200 faces equity issues highlighted in America to Me, facilities issues raised by the Imagine OPRF plan, and finance issues resulting from a growing student population in communities already groaning under the weight of high taxes. 

Fred, a lifelong community member who has been active at the school for many decades, understands the history and traditions of the school like few others. His local background, combined with exceptional common sense and business acumen, serves as a critical stabilizing force on the board. 

A lawyer, a future Huskie parent, and a passionate community leader, Sara's sense of social justice has been the hallmark of her service. 

Together, Sara and Fred have exceptional accomplishments, including hiring a superintendent committed to equity, implementing a gender equity policy, drafting a racial equity policy, beginning a capital campaign to support facility needs, and negotiating a groundbreaking collective bargaining agreement with the Faculty Senate, all the while holding the tax levy to its 2013 level and thereby abating over $32 million of property tax authority. 

Fred and Sara have served our communities well, and we need to return them to the District 200 Board. 

Steve Lefko is running to fill the last two years of a term on the River Forest D90 Board of Education. D90 is considering dramatic changes to curriculum and scheduling. Whether such changes are advisable in such a high-performing district is subject to debate. Outgoing board president Ralph Martire spearheaded these changes, and his expertise in educational policy is comforting. However, the debate over these changes has been too often characterized by consensus, raising the prospect that group-think will forestall the critical analysis needed to properly evaluate the wisdom of this approach. 

Steve Lefko is a stunningly intelligent, informed, proactive, and outspoken neighbor. Steve will make sure the D90 board considers the hard questions necessary to keep our schools on a course consistent with the values of River Forest. I encourage all to get out and vote for these exceptional candidates.

John Phelan 

River Forest 

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