Endorsements: Balgeman and Hernandez for District 33 school board

This endorsement is a consensus opinion of the Daily Herald Editorial Board.

Four candidates are running for three seats on the West Chicago Elementary School District 33 board: incumbents Tom Doyle and Rita Balgeman and newcomers Kathleen Fry and Janette Hernandez.

Balgeman, a board member since 2019 who has four children in the district, points out District 33 is different from many other DuPage County school districts in that it has a high population of low-income families and English language learners. She expresses concern over the low academic achievement scores on the district's report card and believes in data-driven decision making. She praises teachers' efforts to accelerate learning after the "hit" the district took during the pandemic, and she wants to work on engaging families more in their students' education.

Hernandez, who has lived in West Chicago all her life and worked in a special education department in another school district, wants to bring more diversity to the board and offer a voice to parents who have a language barrier, as well as help them to become more involved. Some of them, she says, work multiple jobs and cannot attend board meetings. She would like to create a social media page in Spanish to summarize information from the district and solicit parents' feedback.

Doyle did not complete a candidate questionnaire and declined to attend an online joint candidate interview. Fry did not respond to any invitations to complete a candidate questionnaire or attend an interview. Unfortunately, this limits our ability and that of voters to evaluate their candidacies.

Balgeman and Hernandez are endorsed. We make no endorsement for the third seat.

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