Presently Highland Park/Highwood District 112 faces a number of critical issues, including financial challenges, declining student enrollment, aging facilities, classrooms under capacity, and increased costs for building upkeep/maintenance. Additionally, today’s political landscape has never been more polarizing, not only on the federal level, but the state and now local levels as well. In this election for School Board 112, we find ourselves with nine candidates with very unique perspectives.
My wife and I have three children (in three different schools), and we decided to form a committee (consisting of neighbors and community members) dedicated to finding the best candidates that will represent our entire community, and who have no personal agendas. We all agreed that we need to elect individuals who are fiscally responsible, committed to education, and active listeners with transparent ethics.
Each candidate has great presentation skills, is very intelligent, and can concisely articulate his or her point of view. Our candidates differentiated themselves by their actions “in the trenches.” By serving on a variety of committees and volunteer opportunities in the District, they went beyond the thirty-second speeches professing expertise and understanding. I watched their decorum and listened to their responses: how they treated fellow team members; how they addressed opposing views; how well they worked with others; how they interacted with staff members and the public; and, how versed they were on diverse community perspectives rather than just their own.
With the above considerations and observations, I would like to endorse the following candidates for your vote:
Dan Jenks: Dan really shines when bringing information together, explaining it and building consensus. He is not loud or demanding but earns evident respect. Dan is well-intended and very committed to improving the school district; his decisions reveal sound logic based on reliable statistics. He also developed the financial model that is currently used by the 2.0 Committee and has the most in depth knowledge about finances.
Art Kessler: Art shows true leadership skills and an understanding of the issues our district faces by being a leader on the Reconfiguration 2.0 Committee. Electing Art will streamline and expedite the actions needed for our community’s next step. He is collaborative, respectful, decisive, and will make the tough, but ultimately the best, decisions for all of District 112’s children.
Bennett Lasko: Bennett is far and away the most non-confrontational candidate of the group. He has the temperament to work with all members of the board and administrators, and I believe this to be his strongest attribute. He listens, carefully considers the information, and makes reasonable and educated decisions. Although active in the first referendum, he did not allow the school configuration debates to singularly define his candidacy. Bennett is clearly running for the betterment of our children’s education.
Alexander Brunk: New to Highland Park, originally from Deerfield, and with two children that will soon be attending school in District 112, Alexander is the candidate who has the most “skin in the game.” While conversing with him, I realized he is one of the most well-rounded candidates in terms of understanding and experiencing all issues facing D112. He currently serves on the 2.0 Committee and takes the initiative to deeply educate himself and relies on data and details to draw conclusions.
With nine candidates vying for four openings, voters are feeling overwhelmed. We need to educate ourselves! Roughly 35% of your tax dollars, or 1% of the value of your home annually, goes to District 112. I believe the candidates I have endorsed will best utilize our tax dollars for our entire Highwood and Highland Park community. I encourage you to meet with all of the candidates as well. Please join me in voting for:
I am confident that these four candidates will be our strongest, most effective representation.
Thank you for your consideration, and please remember, your vote counts!
Mayor City of Highwood
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