Newcomers in District 211 race to fight transgender policy
The three newcomers in the Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 school board election are running as a slate, with the repeal of the district's practice allowing a transgender student access to girls locker rooms and bathrooms among the main elements of its platform.
Freezing or lowering of the district's property taxes without harming its quality of education is another goal of candidates Ralph Bonatz of Schaumburg, Katherine Jee Young David of Palatine and Jean Forrest of Rolling Meadows, running together as the Vote 211 BDF slate.
Also running in the April 4 election for three available seats on the school board are current board members Anna Klimkowicz and Robert LeFevre Jr. and former board member Edward Yung.
Bonatz, David and Forrest all have children who either attend or are expected to attend District 211 high schools. They criticize the current school board as one that votes in step with administrators' recommendations, without significant discussion or dissension.
But the biggest public debate in District 211 during the past 15 months -- resulting in a pending federal lawsuit by a citizens group called District 211 Students and Parents for Privacy -- is the district's agreement with the U.S. Department of Education allowing a transgender student limited access to a girls locker room. The student, who was born male but identifies as female, can enter the locker room, but must use a private changing area within. Multiple changing areas are available for any other student who chooses to use one.
The slate's website, vote211bdf.com, states they want to provide a districtwide locker room and restroom policy that "protects the privacy and well-being of all children, and which includes reasonable accommodations for children with different requests."
The candidates also want to replace the current practice allowing access to students "of the opposite biological sex who are dealing with gender identity issues," the site continues.
Other goals include optimizing the value of district-owned assets -- a reference to the district's 60 acres of vacant land in Schaumburg.
Bonatz is an IT Global Quality Control Manager of an international legal firm in Chicago. He says he has much experience with large budgets, conflict resolution and process improvement.
"Through these experiences I have gained a good understanding of the breadth of responsibilities and issues the board faces, and I have acquired a good sense of taxpayer values, concerns and circumstances," he said in a statement. "This fuels my enthusiasm for our slate of well-qualified candidates."
David is the marketing director of a marketing and design agency in Rolling Meadows and has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and project management.
"As a parent and a taxpayer, I want to make sure that we have leaders on the board who have strong analytical abilities, effective communication skills, and a strong sense of community in representing the community," she said in a statement.
Forrest is an actuarial services manager at a downtown consulting firm, and has more than 10 years of experience in financial auditing and asset management.
"My strong financial background as an actuary will enable me to apply my expertise to sound fiscal decision making," her statement reads. "I am committed to bringing the best resources to our children and helping them receive the best possible education in a safe and supportive environment."