A vision for education in D90

Opinion: Columns

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By Barbara Hickey

Candidate One View

Elementary School District 90 is among the gems that draw new residents to River Forest, the reason parents of school-age children become embedded in the community, and the primary factor why property values remain strong over time, essential when the time comes to sell one's home! 

D90 school board service, then, is critical to the entire spectrum of village residents. What should voters look for in a crowded field of candidates? A vision for education, historical community and board perspective, a deep understanding of the board's responsibilities and processes, a strong familiarity with, and commitment to, D90 schools, and fluency in the impact of fiscal policy on school decisions and community finances. As an incumbent candidate, I believe I possess these qualities and ask for your support.

Community perspective and commitment to schools: As a 30-year resident and parent of five D90 graduates, I volunteered actively at our schools, extensively outside of the schools, and consequently have a keen grasp of the community culture and history.

Board perspective: As an incumbent board member, I have developed a rich understanding of the process that goes into board decision-making and have used my grasp of the community to ensure my vote balances both the needs of the district and the broader village.

Vision for education: Our five children, age 23-32, are successfully "launched" and this perspective has allowed me to evaluate D90 curricular issues in the arc of an overall educational journey and not merely the first nine years of that road.

Board responsibilities and processes: The board has one employee and holds the superintendent to a high standard, expecting him, in turn, to hold his administrators to the same standard. Community input, however, is also essential to our decision-making and I believe strongly in bringing divergent perspectives to the table. The board has worked to improve outreach over the past four years, recognizing improvements can always be made, but we are proud of our increased engagement.

Financial impact: As the only board member without children in the schools, I especially appreciate that the schools belong to our whole community, not just the 22% who presently have children in D90 schools. The entire board works to hold the line on cost so that the 78% of residents without kids in D90 can afford to stay in the community they love.

Understanding process and thoughtfully incorporating lessons of the past are valuable traits in a board member. Curiosity about unknown, future educational challenges our children face is critical. I have demonstrated commitment to our school children, community and my board obligations in each action taken in my first term. I hope the voters will support me on April 2, so I can once again deploy my experience for the benefit of D90 schools in a second term.

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