My name is Jake Leahy, I am running to serve on the Bannockburn School District 106 Board of Education. Less than four years ago, I became the fifth member of my family, between my brother and five cousins, to graduate from Bannockburn School. There would be two others after me, between the seven of us, we have 35 years of experience at the school.
Ever since I was a student at Bannockburn, I have been painfully aware of the disconnect between the Board and the community as a whole. Virtually no communication has ever existed between the Board and the students, parents, and community members as a whole. I believe that by providing new, independent, leadership on the Board of Education we can bring the community together to assure the best possible education is provided to every single student walking into Bannockburn School.
I understand the difficult road ahead. Yes, I am only 17 years old, and will just barely be 18 by the time the election comes around on April 4. Yes, I do not have the same “real world” experience that maybe some of the other members of the Board of Education, but do not think for a minute that anybody understands how the school functions better than I do.
Ever since I graduated from Bannockburn, I have taken every single opportunity to improve the school from outside. For starters, I attended a focus group of recent alumni at Bannockburn School where we discussed how Bannockburn School prepares students for high school and beyond. Although I appreciated this experience, I was disappointed that there was nothing else beyond this singular meeting to continue to work with recent graduates, who best understand the inner workings of the school and the strengths and weaknesses a Bannockburn School education provides.
Additionally, I helped to organize a new tradition, an annual Staff vs. Alumni charity basketball game. This event which began last year, was able to successfully raise money for the West Deerfield Township Food Pantry, a distressed orphanage in Nepal, all while providing an opportunity for alumni to return to the school and continue to be part of the community.
Going door to door over the last several weeks, I have learned that it is not just me who has been frustrated with the communication by the Board of Education over the years. Very few people, especially those without children have any idea what has been going on at Bannockburn School. As candidates rarely ever care to go door to door, these people were shocked to see somebody actually caring about their thoughts and opinions.
These people deserve to have somebody who is willing to listen them and take their priorities seriously. If elected, I will work to put in place seemingly basic measures to assure the School Board is working for the people, not the other way around. For example, in the 21st century it should go without saying that video recordings of meetings should be made available to the public. But they’re not.
Additionally, it is important to pay respect to the widely held beliefs of citizens everywhere, regarding all levels of government. 75% of Americans and 80% of Illinoisans have supported term limits, it is time we begin putting these in place at the local level. After a time period where a whole graduating class has entered into Kindergarten and graduated from 8th grade, it is only common sense that members should not be allowed to run for reelection after holding office for 9 years. It is important to thank these people for their service in holding a volunteer position on the Board of Education, but it is vital that the community as a whole is represented, not entrenched incumbents.
I hope to finally provide the voice for you on the Bannockburn School District 106 Board of Education. It is long overdue that there is a member who actively seeks the input of their constituents. I hope that you will be willing to join with this movement over the coming months. Please feel free to let me know what your priorities are, by emailing me at [email protected] With that I ask for your input, as well as for your vote on April 4.
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