Endorsements: Vroman, Crabtree, Gambaiani for Dist. 200
The Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 school board continues to struggle with regaining the trust of the community, and events over the past couple years haven't made it easier.
In April of 2013, for example, voters overwhelmingly defeated a referendum proposal to borrow $17.6 million to build a new Jefferson Early Childhood Center -- a defeat officials now blame, at least in part, on a failure to communicate.
In late May 2014, Superintendent Brian Harris stepped down with four years left on his contract to accept a position with Barrington Unit District 220, raising questions about the district's image and ability to retain talent.
Officials have moved to address some of those issues with their Engage200 campaign, a program aimed at making more people aware of what's going on in the schools and getting them more involved.
That's a welcome step, but there's still a way to go. So, when voters go to the polls April 7 to choose three board members from a field of five candidates, they would be wise to look for those who can serve not only as financial watchdogs and help advance the district's educational programs, but who also are willing to communicate with the public and build community support.
Candidates on the ballot are incumbents Jim Vroman and James Gambaiani and newcomers Chris Crabtree, Gary Tonn and Judith Zapf.
Vroman, a retired attorney, has a good grasp of the issues, was a proponent of Engage200 and says he can work with people in the community to advance the district's cause. He is endorsed.
Crabtree, who serves as president of the districtwide PTA, seems a perfect choice to help build some of those bridges. A member of the Engage200 facilitating team, she says the district must find ways to reach the roughly 75 percent of residents who don't have students in the system. She also wants to find a solution to the aging Jefferson building. She is endorsed.
Also endorsed is Gambaiani, who serves as a fiscal watchdog and isn't afraid to question the status quo. To increase his effectiveness, though, we would like him to be as willing to present his thoughts at public meetings as he was with our editorial board.