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Eight candidates are seeking seats on District 65 School Board. The four who win the election will help decide how to allocate funds in the District’s $140 million annual budget. About 80% of the operating budget comes from property tax revenues, of which District 65 receives about 41%. District 202 takes 26% of the property tax bill, and the City itself, 17%.
The District has begun discussions about addressing a structural deficit that is projected to grow to $12.5 million by 2025-26 unless changes are made. An article about this can be found here.
The Board is also planning to consider a new student-assignment system, new school boundaries and a new school in the Fifth Ward. An article about this can be found here.
The eight candidates – Angela Blaising, Joseph “Joey” Hailpern, Elizabeth “Biz” Lindsay Ryan, Soo La Kim, Ndona Muboyayi, Donna Wang Su, Katie Magrino Voorhees, and Marquise Weatherspoon – are vying for only four open positions. Three of the candidates, Mr. Hailpern, Ms. Lindsay-Ryan, and Ms. Kim are incumbents, but this is the first election for Ms. Lindsay-Ryan and Ms. Kim, as they were appointed to the board when vacancies were created after the 2017 election.
The RoundTable asked all candidates to complete a questionnaire that includes their education level, civic activities and connections to the District. In addition, candidates are invited to answer the following four questions:
- Describe what would be your three top priorities as a District 65 School Board member.
- Name the top two things the current board has done in the past two years that have benefitted all the children of District 65.
- Results from the 5Essentials survey, conducted in 2020 before the schools were closed by the pandemic, showed the district lost ground – scoring in the “less implementation” range – in the areas of effective leaders and collaborative teachers, yet the current board did not discuss the results publicly. What do you think should be done to remedy the situation?
- The report on the Joint Literacy Goal of District 65 and 202 shows that almost 60% of Black and Latinx students enter the high school reading below the proficiency level defined by the two Districts. What needs to be done?
Their answers to these questions, along with a thumbnail sketch and their reasons for seeking election are found in the RoundTable’s Election Guide, available here.
The RoundTable does not endorse any candidates for public office but encourages all voters to become familiar with the candidates, their backgrounds and what they offer, and to vote in the April 6 general election. Early voting begins March 22.