When a school district has 96 percent of its students meeting or exceeding state standards, itís hard to find much wrong with the elected officials who are helping to make that happen. Thatís not to say a school board has a direct impact on achievement, but its policies, financial decisions and appointments matter a great deal. In Kildeer-Countryside Elementary District 96, four board members would like to keep their seats in the five-way race. Greg Smith, as the sole challenger, shows ambition, understands the issues and is well-prepared to answer questions. But we see no reason to change things up on a high-functioning, collaborative board that serves both students and taxpayers well. Part of the boardís success is serendipity: A referendum that passed in 2006, before the economy dropped, left the district in good financial shape for years to come. But the current incumbents, led by an insightful board president, Marc Tepper, have kept the district on track. Renee Klass brings experience as special needs teacher to the board, and Robert Gauthier contributes his financial know-how toward innovations like a new bonus structure for employees. James Strezewski was appointed to the board only last May but already demonstrates a practicality that will help the district face future challenges appropriately. While we see great potential in Smith, we endorse Tepper, Klass, Gauthier and Strezewski for four more years.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.