Endorsements: Devereux, Kerr, Thommes, Porter for U-46 school board
We have long believed that education is the great equalizer and that as citizens, we have an obligation not only to our youth but also to the community to invest in good schools.
It is through education that we uplift underprivileged communities while also realizing the potentials of all children.
With that as an underlying philosophy, it is easy to choose our endorsements in the April 2 election of four school board members in Elgin Area Unit District U-46.
With a change in Illinois' school funding formula, the Elgin area school system will receive an additional $54 million from the state this year. Permit a little shorthand here: Four of the eight candidates in this race -- maverick incumbent Jeanette Ward of West Chicago, retiree Daniel Hancock of Hanover Park, airline industry employee Tina Rio of Bartlett and translator Ina Silva-Sobolewski of Hanover Park -- seem to think this is a windfall that should be used to cut property taxes.
Don't get us wrong. We think a big part of a school board member's job is to be a disciplined steward of taxpayer dollars. But these candidates miss the point. The state isn't increasing state funding for U-46 as a way to provide property tax relief. The state is increasing U-46's share of the funding because it recognizes the schools are underfunded and as a result, its students are being shortchanged.
Yes, school board members must be fiscally responsible. But they also must recognize their charge to provide every student with access to the best education possible. That is a sacred obligation and one that cannot be discharged with wishful thinking -- disproved by the facts -- that funding levels somehow don't matter.
School board incumbents John Devereux and Sue Kerr, both of Bartlett, as well as educator Kathleen "Kate" Thommes of Elgin and retired teacher Eva Porter of Hanover Park embrace this obligation and understand the connection between resources and educational opportunity.
We strongly endorse the candidacies of Devereux, Kerr, Thommes and Porter.
The future of the younger generation in U-46 depends on their elections. The long-term health and vibrancy of the community does too.