Palatine Township Elementary School District 15 faces unenviable challenges in the next four years. Its financial condition threatened, it must work to build and protect programs while preparing for what are sure to be difficult contract negotiations with teachers and other employees. In such an environment, the board needs demonstrated competence and firm judgment. It has it, with an appealing mix of talents and personalities, in the three incumbents seeking re-election, David W. Seiffert, Gerald D. Chapman and James G. Ekeberg. Both elected in 2007, Chapman and Ekeberg have weathered a turbulent first term, including brutal economic conditions, a controversial failed referendum and an often deeply divided board. But both also bring an important range of skills and experiences that will be especially valuable in the next term -- Chapman as a former school superintendent with a long resume of community leadership, and Ekeberg as a local physician and businessman with solid insights into the needs of the district. Seiffert, a former planning commissioner whose years of experience leading youth activities include heading the District 15 Educational Foundation, is a recent board appointee, but he clearly offers fresh ideas and an independent spirit. Running as a slate, Scott Herr, Manjula Sriram and Gerard Iannuzzelli -- all accomplished professionals in their own rights -- offer reasoned criticism of the board's financial position and sincere ideas for leading the district forward. But the incumbents -- while they may interpret some of the numbers differently -- share the challengers' sense of urgency on financial matters and many of their best ideas on the district's educational needs. Seiffert, Chapman and Ekeberg offer the best mix of business and school experience, commitment to community and independence, and they are endorsed.
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