Cheryl Anderson

Proviso District 209 school board candidate Cheryl Anderson survived a challenge to her candidacy, Friday, after the Cook County electoral board overruled a complaint saying she failed to turn in a statement of economic interest.

“I did have a statement of economic interest,” Anderson said Monday. “I guess someone just didn’t want me on the ballot. Someone was looking hard to try to find some miniscule things to eliminate me because I’m a strong candidate.”

The challenge was filed by Maywood insurance agent Antoinette Gray, who herself was thrown off the ballot in a 7th District state rep primary challenge in February 2014 for failing to establish residency in the district for two years.

Anderson said Monday she is an independent candidate who represents change for the district. She pointed out the other six candidates have split into two slates, each including an incumbent.

“There are two tag teams with three on each slate, and it’s three times the same thing. People are tired of it,” Anderson said.

The other slates are 209 Together and The Children First Party. In the 209 Together group, Forest Parkers Nathan “Ned” Wagner and Claudia Medina have joined incumbent Theresa Kelly. The Children First Party candidates include incumbent Francine Harrell, along with Theodore Matthews and ShawnTe Raines Welch. Raines Welch is the wife of former D209 school board president Emanuel Chris Welch, who was elected 7th District state rep in 2014.

Anderson said if elected she would bring back vocational skills training to the district to get students ready for jobs.

“I want to have skilled craftsmen, carpenters, plumbers, bakers and chefs who are unemployed to come and teach these students a trade; everyone may not be interested in going to college.”

Anderson, of Melrose Park, is a Melrose Park Public library board member. She formerly worked in Englewood as a juvenile protection officer.

“If the schools fail, the jails increase,” she said, adding that all stakeholders are responsible for students’ success.

 “Everyone has to be accountable, the students, the parents, the legislators, the schools, the community. Everybody should be called out for why aren’t our kids graduating. That’s why I was challenged.”

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...