Endorsement: In District 59, Krinsky, Mancilla, Espino, Sagerer
Elk Grove Township Elementary District 59 is emerging from some rocky times. They were reflected two years ago in a stormy school board race centered around implementation of a new curriculum that had teachers and many parents up in arms.
Ultimately, all of that controversy led to the upcoming departure of Superintendent Art Fessler, whose contract was not renewed by the school board acting under the delicate-but-firm leadership of Board President Janice Krinsky.
The calmer mood can be seen in this year's school board race. Five candidates are running for four 4-year terms, and so far, there is none of the vitriol that marked the 2019 campaigns. That's even more remarkable given the number of hotly contested school board races that COVID-19 restrictions have spurred elsewhere in the suburbs.
This is a well-run school system, but not one without challenges. More than half the student population comes from poverty, and given that the line between income levels and academic achievement is indisputable, District 59 has a special obligation to both the students and the community at large.
Krinsky puts it well: "Education can level the playing field so that children, regardless of their circumstances, can be successful. Public education, at its best, teaches critical thinking skills, helps children understand, appreciate, and get along with people from different backgrounds, religions, and cultures, and promotes civic engagement."
It is a philosophy shared by most of the candidates in this race.
We endorse Krinsky, whose devotion to the school district is as unmistakable as it is unrelenting.
In addition, we endorse fellow incumbent Robert Mancilla, a clearheaded and analytical board member with exceptional ability; Daisy Espino, a PTO co-president whose life experience would broaden the board's perspective and give important voice to a constituency that is underrepresented; and Joe Sagerer, a lifelong resident of the district and a university lecturer with a masterful understanding of the issues educators confront.
Unfortunately, that leaves one good candidate without our endorsement. Mardell Schumacher has served on the school board for 33 years, and district residents owe her our gratitude. But it is time to put the school board in the hands of a new generation of public servants.