What the Mount Prospect District 57 candidates see as priorities
Change lies ahead for Mount Prospect Elementary School District 57, not only as a result of last year's successful tax-hike referendum that officials say avoided drastic spending cuts, but also with some new faces on the school board.
Voters on April 2 will elect at least two new members to panel. Incumbent Jennifer Kobus is joined on the ballot by newcomers Kimberly Fay, Kristine O'Sullivan and Rachael Rothrauff. They're all seeking one of three four-year terms at stake on Election Day.
Although she has praised the newcomers as "three amazing women," Kobus said her experience offers the stability the district needs as it faces the post-referendum work and upcoming teacher contract negotiations.
She has portrayed herself as someone who challenges district administrators, noting that she voted "no" on a proposed curriculum and hike in transportation fees.
"It's one of our highest fees, over $400," she said. "If you have multiple students needing transportation, it can be quite expensive."
Fay believes her experience as an attorney practicing immigration law and crime victims' rights enforcement has taught her to work with complex issues.
"I work with clients who are facing tremendous challenges, and I feel that those skills would really translate and transition well into some of the challenges that our district is currently facing," she said.
Among her priorities are adding a full-day kindergarten program, which, she said, working families would like to see happen.
Community engagement is a major focus for O'Sullivan, an event communications manager for Schaumburg-based ISACA, an association serving information technology and cybersecurity professionals.
"I just want to engage parents and community members in the strategic decisions of the school board," she said.
She also stressed the need for strategic planning for how the district spends the additional revenue generated by the tax rate hike authorized by voters in November.
"I believe that the referendum was a lifeline and not a lottery ticket," she said.
Rothrauff, a high school Spanish teacher, said her background in public education offers an advantage to the district.
"As a teacher, I am daily within the public school system, so I'm well aware of the challenges it faces, as well as the incredible opportunities that it can provide for children," she said.
Rothrauff said she favors promoting foreign language learning in younger children.
"We know from research that children, when they begin younger than usually the age of 10, can acquire native fluency with much more ease," she said. "I think that is one area where our district is lacking, and I would love to see some incorporation of foreign language learning at the younger grades."