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Experience aplenty with these three District 218 candidates

 

By Bob Rakow

Statt reporter

The three candidates running for a seat on the Community High School District 218 board have one thing in common: they know their way around school boards.

The three-way race to represent the board’s 5th subdistrict, which includes Palos Heights and Worth, pits incumbent Marco Corsi against Jennifer Bylut, a member of the Palos Heights School District 128 board, and Carol Kats, a member of Worth School District 127 board.

The subdistrict 5 race is in the only contested one for the district in the April 7 election.

Corsi, the current board president, has served for 15 years and maintains that his experience and achievements qualify him for another term.

Bylut and Kats, who are both teachers, believe it’s time for new faces on the board.

“You have to have the experience,” said Corsi, a Palos Heights resident.

He added that it takes a long time to understand the terminology and nuances associated with education.

Corsi said the district has significantly improved while he’s served on the board, including the addition of science wings at the Richards, Shepard and Eisenhower high schools.

“That was something that was desperately needed,” he said.

He added that board has been effective in the past several years in providing a quality education for students at all levels.

Bylut has served for the past six years on the District 128 board. She’s worked as a high school teacher and guidance counselor for more than two decades, experience that will serve her well on the school board, she said.

“It’s something I feel knowledgeable about,” she said.

If elected, Bylut wants to repair the severed relationships between District 218 faculty, board members and administrators.

Additionally, she hopes to bring an end to nepotism in the district, she said.

She admits that she sympathizes with some of the faculty complaints throughout the district.

“I’m not going to lie. I probably am like-minded,” she said.

But she added that she has experience on both sides of the bargaining table, a skill that would benefit District 218.

She said that Corsi cannot take full credit for all of the district’s achievements over the past four years. And, he also should be held accountable leading a board that conducted a search for a new superintendent only to hire a candidate from inside the district.

She believes the search was “a dog and pony show” and that the district always planned to hire a new superintendent from within

Bylut is married to Palos Heights Ald. Don Bylut.

Katz, a special education teacher in Chicago Ridge School District 127.5, has served on the Worth District 127 school board for the past nine years. Her term expires in April.

Like Bylut, she believes her classroom and boardroom experience woul benefit her as a member of the District 218 board.

Katz’s son is a freshman at Shepard High School, which gives her a vested interest in the school district, she said.

“A lot of my skills translate into high school,” said Katz, a Worth resident.

Katz said she attended a District 218 focus group when the search for a new superintendent was underway.

“I took away from (the meeting) that people are looking for a change,” she said.

She too believes nepotism is a problem in the district, saying the issue has been brought to her attention on several occasions. She did not, however, point to any specific examples of the problem.

“There has to be something there,” Katz said.

She added that the district must improve communications with the community and repair relationships between school board, faculty, administration and other stakeholders.

Katz is endorsed by the teachers’ unions in District 218, 127 and and 127.5 as well as the Worth Education Support Team and several labor unions.

Despite the support from organized labor, Katz does not believe she would owe the organizations anything if elected, she said.

 

 

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