Endorsements: Ericksen, Hanlon, Mathieson and Paulsen for Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200

 
The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Posted3/9/2017 1:00 AM
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  • Upper from left, Ginna Ericksen, Marcus Hamilton, Rob Hanlon, and Neil Harnen, and lower from left , Thomas Hudock, Harold Lonks, James Mathieson, and Brad Paulsen  are candidates for Wheaton Warrenville District 200 school board.

    Upper from left, Ginna Ericksen, Marcus Hamilton, Rob Hanlon, and Neil Harnen, and lower from left , Thomas Hudock, Harold Lonks, James Mathieson, and Brad Paulsen are candidates for Wheaton Warrenville District 200 school board.

Eight candidates are seeking four 4-year terms on the Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 board on a ballot that includes a referendum seeking voter approval to borrow $132.5 million for building and infrastructure repairs and renovations. Perhaps not surprisingly, the campaign boils down to pro- and anti-referendum candidates.

Candidates supporting the referendum are Ginna Ericksen, a community volunteer from Wheaton; Rob Hanlon of Winfield, a business executive, and incumbents James Mathieson of Warrenville and Brad Paulsen of Wheaton.

Running on the argument that district residents cannot afford the tax increases approval of the spending plan would bring are: Marcus Hamilton of Wheaton, a corporate vice president of finance; Neil Harnen of Wheaton, a wealth manager; Thomas Hudock of Wheaton, a retired manufacturing engineer; and Harold Lonks of Winfield, who is self employed and possesses a long resume of volunteer involvement with the district.

Whatever the outcome of the referendum, the question of who is best qualified to serve for the next four years should be determined by the candidates' breadth of experience and, should the referendum fail, who is best suited to figure out what to do next. To be sure, the size of the tax-increase question is daunting, but there can be little denying overall building maintenance and updating have been kicked down the road far too long.

The referendum foes are passionate and sincere in their quest to champion the cause of the taxpayer, but we question whether single-issue candidates are best qualified to lead the district. Furthermore, the qualifications of the others are rock solid.

Ericksen, as the only female candidate, brings that important perspective to the board. She also is educated in school counseling. Her volunteer work, mostly education-oriented, is impressive: District 200 Citizens Advisory Committee, Hubble Middle School Referendum Committee and Hubble PTA. She also has served as an LLC literacy volunteer, a reader parent and on the district's Gifted Task Force.

Hanlon strikes us as well-backgrounded on issues facing the district, is a strong advocate for the quality of education the district provides and vows to be an advocate for transparency and communication should the referendum be approved.

Mathieson's financial expertise and civic experience -- president of the Downtown Wheaton Association and office holder for the Wheaton Chamber of Commerce and Wheaton Lions among several -- is particularly impressive.

And Paulsen's career as an architect specializing in school design and construction, is a plus.

Given some of the criticism leveled by the anti-referendum candidates toward Superintendent Jeff Schuler, this election seems to be a bit of a referendum on the performance of the district's administration. We think District 200 is well-run, its students achieve well and the district tax rate comes out favorably compared to similar-sized districts. Candidates Ericksen, Hanlon, Mathieson and Paulsen are staunch supporters of the administration, They are endorsed.

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