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posted: 3/18/2013 5:00 AM

Endorsements: Engelkemeir, Gatta, Mueller for Hawthorn Dist. 73 board

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Hawthorn Elementary District 73 stands at a crossroads. Three of the district's four schools don't meet Adequate Yearly Progress standards for the second year in a row. To continue to receive federal Title 1 funds, the district must offer parents with students in schools not meeting AYP a choice to attend one that does. It's a complicated issue in a district where families already enjoy some amount of school choice and a challenge that must be addressed by a board facing large changes of its own. No incumbents will be on the April ballot. Instead, four newcomers -- Jeanne Engelkemeir, Lou Gatta, Ghita Mueller and Sangita Parande -- will be competing for three seats. All are passionate, involved parents. All understand the difficulties the district faces. All advocate taking community input into account. All would be strong additions to the board. We like Gatta for his realistic approach to the issues at hand, Engelkemeir for her enthusiasm and background in education and Mueller for her experience in dealing with budgets, business plans and negotiations. We admire Parande's qualifications as well, but are concerned that her hard line against seeking concessions from teachers in contract talks is unrealistic. We endorse Gatta, Engelkemeir and Mueller.

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