Folks following the challenges of our local high schools know that we have an administration and board majority that has done incredible harm. Well respected teachers and administrators have been fired, entire operational areas have been outsourced without a solid plan and the nepotism that looked to be fading has slowly crept back.
Watching this, I understand if you feel hopeless. Until 2015 I felt the same way. That year community members from across Proviso took control of the board away from those only concerned with their own gain. For a few years it looked like we may have finally turned a corner. But we got complacent and again lost control. We have a choice — go back to hiding our heads in the sand or fight. 2015 showed that, against all odds, change is possible.
This year another group of folks are willing to try to make that change happen. Sandra Joseph-Hixson, Jenny Barbahen and David Ocampo, the Proviso 209 United slate (HBO) are those people. In addition to community members like us from across Proviso, they are supported by the teachers of District 209 who are risking their jobs by officially endorsing HBO to support what is best for their students.
There are other candidates led by Teresa Kelly running against them. You haven’t heard much from them in Forest Park because they don’t need us. We are split. A third slate is running with just two Forest Park candidates — Proviso Excels. They also care about our students and Claudia Medina has been fighting the status quo in 209 for eight years. They are good people but because they are running our vote is split and Kelly’s slate has a strong chance of winning. Even if, through some mathematical miracle, Jon Kubricht and Claudia win, they are only two people, not enough to change the board majority. This will leave us with two more years of the dysfunction we have. Our students and teachers deserve better. For that reason, I support HBO and change NOW. United we can make that happen.