The D214 School Board Election: A Matter of Equity and Diversity

Victoria Benavides

When it comes to national elections, the energy is high stakes. It seems that everywhere you go there’s election coverage of some sort. However, we rarely hear about local elections or put as much passion into them as we do into national elections, despite the fact that local elections have a bigger impact on our day-to-day lives. An increasingly important local election is on the horizon: the D214 school board election. April 6th members of the D214 community 18 years and up have a chance to cast a vote in the election. An election that will determine remote/in-person school plans, an election that will determine how schools take on or ignore racial equity, an election that will determine what resources are allocated to students, and an election that will determine the well-being of D214 students.

D214 is home to a diverse bunch of schools of all remarkable academic success. D214 is home to Hersey High School, to Buffalo Grove High School, to Prospect Heights High School, to Rolling Meadows High School, to Vanguard, to Forest View, to Wheeling High School. Each school is made up of its own unique population with its own individual needs. These schools all possess their own personality, but it would be a mistake to compare them. The diverse personalities within each school are what makes them special. Yet, Wheeling High School is often treated like the black sheep of the bunch. Whether it’s being called “ghetto” or “a waste of resources”, Wheeling High School is subjected to cruel critiques. Why is that? Wheeling High School receives the same skilled teachers as any D214 school, it’s taught the same curriculum, just like any other public school. Despite the fact that Wheeling High School is part of one of the best districts in the state, it’s still attached to racist stereotypes of the past.

 Wheeling High School is by far the most diverse school of the bunch with students of all backgrounds, but it’s predominantly Hispanic. One can’t help but think that it’s negative racial stereotypes and the effects of deep systemic issues that give Wheeling its bad reputation. Wheeling has the same amount of skilled teachers as any other D214 school, the same ambitious students as any D214 school, and the same dedicated staff as any D214 school. Wheeling High School isn’t less than any other D214 school; Wheeling High School is held to double standards when it comes to “measurements” of academic achievement. 

The Wheeling voice has been neglected and dismissed for far too long. It’s time that members of the Wheeling Community show that Wheeling is just as skilled, just as passionate, just as ambitious, and just as important as any other D214 school. The Wheeling Community can show their voice through voting in the school board election, and more importantly, voting for candidates that stand with their ideals. 


*The following comments are solely the individuals and do not represent all of D214* 


The school board decides what the yearly budget will be for schools, what vision and direction schools will go towards, and what curriculum is taught. When voting for a school board member, it’s important to be educated on what value you want to be represented.  Mr. Wool, law teacher, remarks that school board members should “truly care about the welfare of kids and teachers… [and]  understand that each of the schools in the district has its own identity and needs.” Mrs. Konyar, science teacher, says something similar on this note. She said that a red flag in a candidate for her would be one that only thinks in absolutes. “Someone who thinks in absolutes and says that it should always be this way or it should never be this way…. where there is little room for compromise….often people who think in absolutes aren’t very good at listening to opposing viewpoints with an open mindset.” An important value seems to be that school board members respect and cater to each individual school within D214. That a candidate should seek to understand and compromise rather than being stuck in their own mindset. D214 schools contain their own unique student body population that comes from a variety of backgrounds. To expect that every D214 school performs exactly the same with the same type and number of resources is absurd. Some schools require different or more programs than other schools, and that’s to be expected. School board members shouldn’t be focused on things being equal all across the board in every school. They should be focused on making education equitable in every school and equity is achieved through different resources. 

The ability to have an open mindset and to consider all viewpoints also appears to be an important value to WHS teachers. Mrs. Silverman, English Teacher, says They [school board candidates] must also be open to varying perspectives and work with all stakeholders for the benefit of the community” 

The current school board members are Mark Hineman, Mildred “Millie” Palmer, Leonard Lenny” Walker, and Todd Younger and they are running up for reelection. The new candidates are Elizabeth Bauer, Richard Menninga, Tony Rosseli, and Jacqueline Ryan. Election day is April 6th and polling places can be found using the hyperlink. Registration is required, but it can be done in person. To register in person, you will need two forms of ID: one with your mailing address and one with your name on it. 

Mrs. Castro, Spanish and AVID teacher, says it best Our lessons this year is if you don’t vote then you don’t have a voice. Not everyone can vote and it’s a privilege that some of us can vote.” Voting is how we make the Wheeling voice heard. Voting is how we make sure that equity is promoted in schools. Voting is how we celebrate diversity. Voting is how we make a difference.