A Maywood resident challenged the nominating papers of Cheryl Anderson, a candidate in the Proviso Township High School District 209 school board race. Antoinette Gray, an insurance agent and failed candidate for 7th District State Rep. asserted Anderson neglected to submit a statement of economic interest.

The Cook County Electoral Board will hold a hearing on the candidate challenge on Wednesday, Jan. 7 at the County Clerk’s Office.

Gray herself was thrown off the ballot in the 2014 primary race for 7th Dist. State Rep after the electoral board hearing officer ruled she had not established official residency in the 7th District two years prior to filing for candidacy. Gray was not available at press time for comment on the challenge.

Anderson is a Melrose Park Library trustee and former juvenile protection officer. She was recognized by Judge Stuart Paul Katz in 2010 for sending the most kids to college while working as a juvenile protection officer in Englewood.

Anderson, of Melrose Park, currently serves as a substitute teacher for Oak Park Elementary School District 97 and School District 89, which includes Maywood, Melrose Park and Broadview.

Before the challenge, Anderson said her campaign focus would be vocational training programs in D209 schools. She said unemployed craftsmen can be paid to teach a skill or trade at the schools.

“We would be giving employment to unemployed people to teach a group of people a skill,” Anderson said.

If she stays on the ballot and is elected, Anderson said she would reach out to all of the mayors in the district’s ten villages and most of the pastors in the community to brainstorm solutions for students in D209 to become successful.

She also said she wants more focus on the students and less attention on big employee salaries.

“If you’re ok with the current educational status of kids in D209 then maybe you shouldn’t be in office. It’s time for a change,” Anderson said in December. “We have to get past the barriers of why kids don’t want to come to school anymore. Our schools in D209 shouldn’t be an automatic feeding system to our jails.”

The candidate said she previously lived in Oak Park for 20 years and that the values in the educational system there aren’t the same as it is in Maywood.

Anderson said her campaign was a family affair. She and her two sons, Khirey and Jelani Floyd, have all performed substitute teaching at Proviso East High School. Both sons aspire to become attorneys, with Jelani finishing a first year at Chicago Kent School of Law.

“We’ve got to do better and make having set goals popular in the community. It’s not right because you grew up in Maywood that your chances to be successful isn’t as high as anyone else,” said Khirey, who graduated from Oak Park River Forest High School in 2008. “I can’t forget where I came from. We’re really a community and a family. We have to help each other out; that’s what is most important.”

Anderson did not return calls, texts or emails for comment.

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...

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