'I am disappointed but not entirely surprised': Ward reflects on slate's loss in U-46

  • Jeannette Ward

    Jeannette Ward

 
 

Voters once again rebuffed conservative voices on the Elgin Area School District U-46 school board Tuesday, ousting one-term incumbent Jeanette Ward and three other candidates who shared her views.

"I am disappointed but not entirely surprised," Ward said Wednesday, reflecting on her slate's loss. She attributed the outcome partly to the district's changing demographics and low voter turnout.

"People, perhaps, maybe they don't make the connection (between) the taxes they pay and the government they elect," she said. "Either they don't make the connection or they are not troubled by it."

Incumbents John Devereux and Sue Kerr and newcomers Eva Porter and Kathleen Thommes, who were endorsed by the Elgin Teachers Association, were elected Tuesday to four-year school board terms.

It was a repeat of what happened in 2017 when two Christian conservative candidates lost their bids for four-year seats on the U-46 board. They were among a handful of fiscally conservative candidates who did poorly throughout Elgin that year.

Ward, 45, of West Chicago, said her ouster leaves the U-46 board without a voice advocating for lowering taxes and cutting spending.

Regarding her career on the board, she lists among her early victories being the catalyst for a change in state law allowing local elected officials access to records about closed sessions that happened before their tenures. She also credits her advocacy for the existence of the Elgin Math and Science Academy Charter School.

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However, Ward's positions on various school board policies have ruffled many feathers. Almost regardless of the reason, she consistently voted against increased spending for more staffing and new programs, such as full-day kindergarten and expansion of dual language curriculum. She fought against the adoption of high school social studies textbooks that she believed promoted politically left-leaning biases, communist ideology, "global warming pseudoscience" and "anti-American bias." She also criticized the district administration's decision to allow a transgender middle school student access to the locker room and restroom corresponding with the person's gender identity, triggering heated school board meetings.

Ward said her primary goal was bringing such issues to the public's attention and starting a dialogue.

"I think that all citizens should pay attention to what's happening at their local school boards," she said.

She pledged to continue participating in school board meetings as a district parent and citizen. She said she would still advocate for "academic freedom and diversity of thought, parental choice, privacy and safety for all students, and respect for the taxpayer."

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