Evaluation of the candidates for the D211 school board

Reporter Hope Rodell attends a public forum featuring the six candidates running for the D211 school board at Conant High School.

Courtesy of Wikipedia via Creative Commons

Reporter Hope Rodell attends a public forum featuring the six candidates running for the D211 school board at Conant High School.

Hope Rodell, Contributor

Last week, I attended a public forum that featured the six candidates that are running for the D211 school board at Conant High School.

Before I discuss the forum, I’ll give you some background on the candidates.

Two of the candidates are incumbents, that is, candidates that are up for reelection.

The first incumbent is Anna Klimkowicz. Klimkowicz has worked in the human services field for most of her life. She wants to continue to work against bullying in schools.

In terms of teachers’ salaries, she believes collective bargaining is appropriate, in which teachers collaborate with the school board members to negotiate their salaries.

In terms of finance, Klimkowicz wants to save taxpayer money by eliminating waste such as continuing to only have one school open in the summer, or using longer lasting light bulbs in schools.

She states that property taxes must remain stable in order to uphold the quality of education in our schools.

Robert Lefevre is our other incumbent.

Lefevre has a strong background in financial planning. Lefevre also believes in collective bargaining, and eliminating waste through the ways that we already utilize to make sure property taxes remain stable. He also emphasized how important investing in education is.

Edward Yung is not an incumbent, but had previously served on the D211 school board from 2009-2013. Yung believes that we need to leave creating the standards for education to teachers and the school administrations.

He believes in emphasizing learning over standardized testing.

Yung is very frank about finance, he states that IL does not allocate enough funding to its schools, so we must keep property taxes stable in order for our schools to cope with unfunded mandates, mandatory guidelines or implementations that get pushed out to all public schools from the Illinois legislature that the state does not pay for, but the local taxpayer does pay for.

Now, we have three candidates who are running on a slate, meaning that they share the same values and have pooled their resources together for campaigning purposes.

First is Jean Forrest.

Forrest has a strong economic and financial background. She believes that our current board does not bring our “community values” to the table, and is not concerned with the local taxpayer. She wants to launch a community engagement project to hear what taxpayers want from schools.

Katherine David is also running with the slate. She also has a strong financial background.”

Katherine David is also running with the slate. She also has a strong financial background. David states that she is concerned that we are not meeting the needs of our “diverse” and “unique” schools. She wants to encourage students to participate in math and science programs.

In terms of teachers salaries, she is concerned about union contracts, for the taxpayer.

Last, but certainly not least, on the slate, is Ralph Bonatz.

Bonatz says that we can “expect transparency” from him. He wants to increase police involvement in our schools in order to decrease “drugs and gangs.” He advocates for adding more vocational subjects to our curriculums, because some people are “not cut out for college.”

In terms of finance, Bonatz criticized the “unnecessary” projects that the district has invested in, such as the renovation of our pools.

Now that we’re past all of that, we can talk about a real, pressing issue: the transgender bathroom and locker room issue. Where do they all stand on it?

So, after the candidates talked about themselves for an hour, we all had a friendly little Q&A session.

There were several questions about the transgender bathroom and locker room rules. I’m going to be forthright, the slate does not support a transgender student using the bathroom and locker room of their choice, and the two incumbents and Yung do.

But it goes deeper than that.

Some of the rhetoric that the slate used when talking about transgender students deeply troubled me.

Mr. Bonatz, the most vocal on this issue, said something very similar to, “Someone who was born as one gender and is now the other cannot use the bathroom of a different gender.”

The candidates were asked a question, once again, something very similar to “If a person is born as a male, and later changes their gender to female, are they a female?”

Lefevre, Klimowkicz, and Yung all said yes. Forrest, David, and Bonatz (the slate) all said no.

I think now would be an appropriate time to inform you that the slate is funded by Parents for Privacy, a local parent gang that kind of hates trans* people, but has probably never had a conversation with a trans* person in their lives.

This is not just an issue of taking away a human being’s right to use the bathroom of the gender that they identity with. This is an issue of not recognizing that trans* people are trans*.

This slate believes that a person that knows that they are not the gender that they were born as, and has known this and has lived as the opposite gender for a large portion of time, is still the gender they were born as.

If you are not trans*, or you don’t really know much about trans* people, let me try to relate this to something in your life. I do apologize if this analogy doesn’t do this concept justice.

Imagine you walk outside and it’s a warm, sunny day. You see someone on the sidewalk, and you say, “Isn’t the sun so warm and great today!” and they respond, “No, because all of this land was covered in tons of ice millions of years ago.”

This is the logic that runs through the slate’s minds. This is a fundamental misconception of what being trans* is.

I urge you to think about what would happen if these people were elected to our school board, and I urge you to vote on April 4.

If you can’t vote, tell your parents how important it is for them to vote.