The upcoming school board election is of critical importance to all of us in Highland Park — whether we are parents of schoolchildren or empty nesters who want to ascertain that our school district offers the world-class education that our students deserve. We are now at the crossroads of determining if our Highland Park schools retain their long-standing reputation for excellence in education for now and for the future, and if our property values remain strong with more young families choosing to settle here.
This election appears to have become a choice between the status quo and reforming our educational model for the future. The choice for advancement is very clear.
Art Kessler is a key leader of the Reconfiguration 2.0 Community Team serving on the Launch team, the Leadership Committee, the Configurations Committee and the Communications Committee. He has studied extensively the District’s financial and educational issues. Art is independent of any special interests. He is running for the Board because he cares deeply about what is best for this community and what is best for students.
Art Kessler believes we should not close more buildings than necessary. According to Art, the decisions as to the right balance of school improvements, the number of schools to close, and the appropriate amount of property tax increases should be made through extensive community engagement by the board and through the 2.0 process.
The next board is going to be dealing with far more than just configurations. The board will have to hire a superb superintendent and assistant superintendent, negotiate a union contract, and focus on furthering enhancements to the curriculum.
Says Art Kessler, “If elected I will work as quickly as possible to fill our vacant positions with great administrators and resolve our configuration issues in a way that is consistent with our values and is acceptable to our community so that we can restore stability to our District and redouble our efforts toward providing a world-class education for our students. I would be honored to gain your vote.”
The budget constraints from operating an inefficient school district due to its overcapacity has caused us to fall behind virtually all of our surrounding districts in implementing things such as full day kindergarten, facility improvements, and needed classroom renovations.
Our North Shore School District 112 has cut programs that it once offered, like world languages in the elementary schools, and has been slow to update its curriculum with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and important programs that promote conceptual learning instead of old fact-based learning. Small numbers of classes in most of our schools have prevented the type of teacher collaboration that is vital to the delivery of education today.
Please join me in voting for Art Kessler, and for two other excellent candidates, Dan Jenks and Bennett Lasko, all of whom have the mindset, the experience and the deep knowledge to focus on what is best for our schools, our schoolchildren, and the entire community.
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