ALGONQUIN – The coalition of educator unions in District 300 are celebrating victory in the April 4 school board elections for pro-public education candidates: Nancy Zettler (incumbent), Stephen “Steve” J. Fiorentino (incumbent), Randi Gauthier and Olutola “Tola” Makinde.
The following statement is attributable to Michael Williamson, president of Local Education Association District 300 (LEAD 300), Deb Lupa, president of District 300 Education Support Association (DESA) and Eva Olayo, president of District 300 Educational Services Personnel Association (DESPA):
“We are excited and heartened by the results of this school board election. District 300 certified staff, educational support professionals and public education advocates combined forces to ensure our students have school board members who will stand by them, lift them up, and fight to ensure they have the best education our district can possibly provide. Today, we can say we have helped elect four school board members who will listen to the needs of all district stakeholders and who will take this feedback into account when making important decisions that affect our students and our communities.
“We are sincerely grateful to everyone who voted with the needs and dreams of our students in mind. A special thank you to all the hardworking volunteers who helped reach thousands of voters through knocking on doors, making phone calls, texting and sending letters. Your hard work helped bring our campaign for strong public schools to victory in District 300.
“This election was more important than any other. We’ve seen divisive tactics and deliberately deceptive messaging being used at our school board meetings, on social media and beyond. Now that the election is over, we are asking everyone to set aside their differences and remember what we all care deeply about: our students and their public education. While we aren’t always going to agree, we must engage in civil debate, so we can find the best solutions for all our students.
Strong public schools mean strong communities. Strong school boards mean strong leadership of public education, which helps us to ensure that we are, and remain, a strong democracy. Together we can do what’s best for ALL students and ensure they have the bright future they deserve.”
D300 Educators is made up of the District 300 Education Support Association (DESA), District 300 Educational Services Personnel Association (DESPA) and Local Education Association District 300 (LEAD300) unions that represent nearly 2,500 teachers, nurses, social workers, psychologists, coaches, interventionists, paraeducators, clerical, custodial, maintenance, building and grounds and all other educational support staff working in Community Unit District 300, educating the 20,000 students who attend more than two dozen schools in the district.
At 135,000 members strong, the Illinois Education Association (IEA) is the largest union in Illinois. The IEA represents PreK-12 teachers outside the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty and support staff, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.