HIGHLAND PARK – In Highland Park, 2016 started out with a bang and ended on a cliffhanger. The North Shore School District 112 superintendent announced his resignation two years before his contract ends, prompting the school board election to put BDR3 on hold. Meanwhile, the City Council is readying for its own election in 2017.
Coincidentally, two active voices in the school community, Davis Schneiderman and Laura Saret are both vying for Councilman Paul Frank’s two-year seat on the City Council, as he was elected to the Lake County Board of Commissioners.
Schneiderman is on the Reconfiguration 2.0 Steering Committee, while Saret has publicly expressed her discontent with the school board at D-112 meetings. She is co-president of the Ravinia Neighbors Association and is involved in other organizations. Adam Stolberg is also running for the same position. He served on the Plan & Design Commission and is married to Samantha Stolberg who is board vice president.
All three City Council members whose terms expire in April 2017 are running for reelection. Alyssa Knobel, Dan Kaufman and Kim Stone are interested in serving another four-year-term, while they are being challenged by Stan Lester. Lester was an early member of The Chicago Board Options Exchange and later created a computer mapping and database integration company. DailyNorthShore.com will have more information on all of the candidates in a future story.
In addition to the City Council election, Highland Park residents will also be voting to fill positions on the school board. Jacqueline Denham announced her resignation at the December 13 BOE meeting, while Samantha Stolberg and Karla Livney will not be running for reelection when their terms expire in April 2017. Jane Solmor Mordini is the only board member who expressed interest in running for reelection, but she was not endorsed by the D-112 Caucus.
The D-112 Caucus has endorsed Dan Jenks, Art Kessler, and Brent Ross. According to the Caucus, “Those who earned the Caucus endorsement have Reconfiguration 2.0 experience, which exposed them to a variety of perspectives and the complexity of district challenges.”
In addition, CARE (Citizens Actively Renewing Education) has formed a separate Caucus.
CARE spokesperson Jeff Hamburg said CARE wants to help elect board members who understand the district’s financial situation, the necessity of consolidation, and the best way to engage the community in a successful referendum.
CARE has endorsed: Alex Brunk, Julie Campbell, Lisa Hirsh, and Brent Ross. Ross is the only candidate endorsed by both groups.
“I suspect that the reason for my endorsement by both groups had a lot to do with shared priorities of improving our educational offering, maintaining as many neighborhood schools as possible, and prioritizing efficient spending,” said Ross. “Not only is it possible to craft a solution that both will support, but it may be a necessity in order to pass a referendum.”
Now that BDR3 (Budget Deficit Reduction Plan) has been delayed for a year postponing school closings, how will this affect a new referendum?
“I hope that D-112 has a long-term building reconfiguration plan before the end of 2017,” said Ross. “In order to put a new referendum on the ballot for April 2018, the community and the Board of Education need to see that plan in 2017. I am eager to see the Board and the Reconfiguration 2.0 Team achieve that timeline so that the district can put an end to the uncertainty about buildings and return its full focus to creating lifelong learners and improving educational outcomes for our students.”
DailyNorthShore.com reached out to Superintendent Dr.Michael Bregy and Board President Michael Cohn, but has not received a response.