District 15 candidates address priorities at League of Women Voters forum
Palatine Township Elementary District 15 school board candidates addressed what their priorities would be if elected during a forum Saturday morning.
Six of the eight District 15 candidates attended the forum at Palatine Public Library. Sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Palatine Area, the morning also included a session with Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 candidates and a presentation from library officials on a tax increase question. Voters will make their candidate choices and render a decision on the Palatine library's request April 2.
In the running for three 4-year terms at District 15 are incumbent Zubair Khan and challengers Samantha Bray Ader, Adam Bauske, Yuriy Figel, Wenda Hunt, Lisa Krams, Nina Palit and James Taylor. Hunt and Ader are supporting each other in the campaign, as are Khan and Bauske.
Among the questions posed to the candidates, one asked what they would see as the top three priorities to improve District 15 if elected.
Ader, 30, a Hoffman Estates resident who's director of operations at Latinos for Education, said at the top of her list are closing academic gaps across lines of race, ethnicity and income, rebuilding trust with support employees and addressing facility issues.
"Wenda and I have hosted three listening sessions with (support worker union) members and what we heard is there is a sincere lack of trust and relationship between this group and our board and that hurst our kids, ultimately," Ader said.
Hunt, 44, a pharmacist from Palatine, echoed Ader on closing the academic gap. She also cited starting full-day kindergarten and potential boundary changes.
Taylor, 41, a school-based occupational therapist from Arlington Heights, said top concerns are closing the achievement gap, launching all-day kindergarten and increasing mental health awareness in the schools.
"I think it's a really key factor," Taylor said of boosting mental health awareness. "It will help with bullying. It addresses school safety and just overall emotional well-being."
Khan, 42, an attorney from Hoffman Estates who was elected in 2015, listed moving to full-day kindergarten, the achievement gap and boundaries.
"We need to make sure everyone has schools that they're nearby where they can go," Khan said.
Bauske, a 36-year-old implementation manager, lives in Hoffman Estates, where he's on the advisory planning and zoning commission. Bauske, who made an unsuccessful run for a District 15 board seat in 2017, said improvement in education for all students, connecting better with the entire community and boundaries would be priorities.
Palit, 47, a technology manager from Palatine, said she would prioritize keeping strong music programs, accepting and figuring out how to work with District 15's student diversity and all-day kindergarten.
Moderator Karin Hribar read an opening statement for Krams, a 39-year-old health information technology program manager from Palatine, who was absent due to a work conflict. Figel, 35, an entrepreneur and real estate investor from Inverness, did not attend.