Although nine candidates are crowding the race for four available seats on the Palatine Elementary District 15 school board, the tenor of this contest isn't nearly as acrimonious as some past campaigns have been in the district. That's not necessarily because all problems have been solved and the financial outlook is rosy. They haven't, and it's not. But the district is moving ahead in positive ways with a greater sense of collaboration at various levels -- between the board and teachers, for example, who made major concessions in order to settle a contract this year; between the board and the community, as evidenced even in emotional town hall-style meetings that might not have occurred at all in previous years; and showing in more respectful but still lively interactions among board members themselves. Amid such a backdrop, the three incumbents seeking to return -- Peggy Babcock, Richard Bokor and David Seiffert -- should be re-elected. Even among the six remaining challengers -- Ramnath Cidambi, James Ekeberg, Abdul Javid, Donna Johnson, Matt Lyons and Jennifer Zold -- one finds a strong strain of cooperative independence with a generally high-level of familiarity with both academic and financial challenges facing the district. We particularly appreciate the comprehensive and intelligent approach of newcomers like Lyons and Cidambi, but we're also swayed by the willingness of Ekeberg -- a former board member ousted in 2011 -- to speak some unpleasant truths about the budget and the need for revenues that are not popular in the current environment yet to do so in a way that will not disrupt the fragile cooperative spirit growing on the board. District 15 voters can make many good choices for school board on April 9. We think the best combination is Babcock, Bokor, Ekeberg and Seiffert.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.