It’s a trend happening statewide – parents who fought for a return to in-person learning, clashing with their district school board in the process, are now running for positions of power.
The Illinois School Board Elections next month will pit many incumbents against dissatisfied parents.
In Algonquin District 300, seven candidates are vying for three open board seats, not happy with how the current board has handled the pandemic.
“I am one of those people who has a freshman who has struggled greatly,” said Holly Jarovsky, an Algonquin District 300 school board candidate. ” Parents that want to step up and get involved in the educational process are stakeholders.”
In Huntly Community School District 158, 10 people are running for four school board positions, including “3 Moms 4 Change.”
D158 school board candidate Dana Dalton-Wiley says, “of the incumbents that have decided to run, only one has children in the district.”
Some candidates vying for a school board seat told WGN they felt their concerns were often ignored.
“They need fresh voices, people who are going to stand up to them even if it’s not what they want to hear on the board,” said Huntly Community School District 158 candidate Susan Hochmuth.
As many students were sent home to learn remotely, some board members who were also trying to balance concerns from the teacher’s unions reported receiving threats. The Illinois Association of School Boards predicts many members may opt-out of running for another term due to the stressful year.
Others may find their re-election bids thwarted by newcomers.
“Things that have happened and been decided have lit a fire in people,” Hochmuth said, “that would otherwise not be interested in running for public office.”