Uneasy with the idea of an early exit in District 91, school board Vice President Sean Blaylock has decided to serve the remainder of his term in Forest Park and will not make a run for the District 209 high school board of education in April.
For several weeks, Blaylock considered trying to win a spot on the high school board and was collecting signatures in anticipation of meeting the filing deadline later this month. However, in a brief statement e-mailed Jan. 11, he announced that he will not be a candidate.
“I kept coming back to finishing up the commitment to District 91,” Blaylock said in an interview Monday. “In this particular case, it was more about District 91 than District 209.”
Blaylock is serving a four-year term on the District 91 school board, which oversees the public K-8 schools in Forest Park. That term does not expire until 2011. Had he earned himself a spot on the District 209 board, Blaylock would have resigned his seat in District 91, leaving that board to name a replacement.
Candidates hoping to win a seat on one of Forest Park’s two public school boards have until next week to collect the requisite number of signatures to have their names appear on the ballot. The filing period for the April 7 elections begins Jan. 20 and ends Jan. 26.
In both District 91 and District 209, four incumbents are facing re-election.
Joan White, Mary Turek, Lois Bugajsky and Mary Win Connor have each said they plan to make a bid to retain their seats in District 91.
Proviso Township high schools are governed by the District 209 school board. Incumbents Brian Cross, Sue Henry, Dan Adams and President Chris Welch are each facing re-election. Henry said she intends to file for re-election, and understands that the other incumbents will do the same. Cross, Adams and Welch did not return phone calls seeking comment on whether they intend to file.
In contemplating a potential bid for the high school board, Blaylock said in December that he felt driven by the shortcomings of District 209. State education officials have mandated that the district balance its budget and improve classroom performance.
“We have an organization in our community that is failing its purpose and in doing so is cheating our kids out of a public education and cheating our taxpayers out of their money,” Blaylock said in December.
Though he is not running, Blaylock said he intends to stay abreast of the issues surrounding the high schools, particularly because District 91 feeds students into those classrooms. Any involvement would be limited by his schedule, he said.
“For us to turn our backs and pretend that there’s a Great Wall of China between the two is not wise,” Blaylock said.