Endorsements: McConnell, Maloney, Warren, Etienne in Lake Zurich District 95
Around this time a year ago, school districts across the suburbs were scrambling to establish remote learning programs in the wake of Gov. J.B. Pritzker's order closing schools to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Lake Zurich Community Unit District 95 wasn't among them. A month earlier, members of the district's board of education saw the writing on the wall and told administrators to get to work on a plan, so when the inevitable arrived, they were ready.
It's that kind of forward thinking that's become a hallmark of the district in recent years. A district that a little more than a decade ago was borrowing money to pay its teachers and struggling to maintain aging buildings is now on strong financial footing and in the midst of a $112 million construction program that built one new school and brought much-needed upgrades to several others.
Hoping to continue that run of success are six candidates seeking four seats on the district's board of education in the April 6 election. The field includes four incumbents -- board President Scott McConnell, the recently appointed Peter Etienne, and longtime members Eileen Maloney and Lisa Warren -- and newcomers Katie Barr and Mindy Dupee.
We like Barr and Dupee. Both are parents with children in district schools and have professional backgrounds in education. Barr already has served District 95 as a member of its Redistricting Boundaries Committee, and both rightly identify the need to focus on the mental and emotional well-being of students in the COVID era. Both are strong candidates and under different circumstances, worthy of endorsement.
But given the recent achievements of the school board -- from a $77 million referendum that won nearly 70% of voters' approval two years ago to a smoothly run redistricting process finalized in January, to the success of hybrid learning this school year -- we see no compelling case for a change.
McConnell, Warren and Maloney each have played roles in those achievements, and earned another term on the board.
Etienne, appointed to the panel in June, is less experienced than his colleagues, but his focus on global citizenship and diverse perspective are assets to the board.
We endorse McConnell, Maloney, Warren and Etienne.