Endorsements: Giolls, McLean, Rivera, Banasiak for West Chicago Dist. 33 school board

Five candidates are running for four-year terms on the West Chicago District 33 school board in the April 6 election.

Felicia Gills, Chad McLean and Christian Rivera are running for reelection. Morgan Banasiak and Sandra Garcia are running for the first time.

As elsewhere, District 33 students, parents, teachers and the school board faced challenging times in the past year. Incumbents Rivera, McLean and Gills believe the board performed well during the pandemic and made the best decisions possible given rapidly changing guidelines from the county, state and CDC officials.

Challengers Garcia and Banasiak agree the board did the best it could at the beginning of the pandemic, given all of the unknowns. But Banasiak believes the rollout of hybrid learning has been slow this semester. Garcia says there should have been more parent involvement via Zoom meetings.

All agree that getting students back to in-person learning is the No. 1 priority. That is easier said than done, they agree, because of the safety guidelines, since most schools do not have the room to spread out all of the students.

The current District 33 board has had the best interest of the students and teachers in mind when they have made tough decisions over the past year, so we feel that incumbents Christian Rivera, Chad McLean and Felicia Gills have earned the chance to finish what they started at the beginning of the pandemic.

Newcomers Sandra Garcia and Morgan Banasiak are both passionate about the district and would be fine additions to the board, but we feel Banasiak, given her specific reasons for running - including to focus on the fiscal health of the district, improve communications with parents and collaborate more with community groups - would be a better fit.

Felicia Gills, Chad McLean, Christian Rivera and Morgan Banasiak are endorsed for the West Chicago District 33 school board.

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