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SD103 Election: 40-year veteran leads Putting Students First slate

By Steve Metsch

Four candidates, led by a 40-year veteran, are running

together on the Putting Students First slate in the April 2 election for the

Lyons School District 103 board.

The slate’s goals are keeping the students the first

priority, continue to spend wisely, to prevent political hiring, and provide

resources needed by students to excel.

Joanne Schaeffer, who has been on the school board for four

decades, leads the ticket.

Joining her are Tom Weiner, named to the board earlier this

year to complete the term of a former board member; Connie Esparza, formerly on

the board, and newcomer Jacquie Magsaysay.

Schaeffer has lived in Lyons for 53 years. She has two adult

children, two grandchildren and a great granddaughter in third grade at

Lincoln.

“I smell the chalk and pencils when I go past the schools. I

love our kids. They’re worth every ounce of work that we do, as board members.

I’ve worked hard on this board along with many other good board members,”

Schaeffer said.

In campaign materials, Schaeffer said that “all children can

learn,” with parents, teachers and students working together.

She wants to see the district “continue to be conservative

with finances,” adding “we have not been in negatives spending for the past 18

years and have kept our promise of staying in the black as well as providing

safe schools for our children.”

Magsaysay and her husband have lived in Stickney since 1998,

Their son is a student at Washington Middle School.

Magsaysay has been active in community groups like the

Stickney Forest View Little League, and the Boy Scouts, and has served on the

parks and recreation committee for the village of Stickney.

“The best thing a parent can do is provide an education for

their children. That’s why I want to get involved in the school board,” she

said.

“I would like to serve on the Lyons District 103 school

board in order to help provide our teachers and educators with the tools they

need to ensure that our children get the best education going forward and

provide for their futures.”

Magsaysay said she’d re-evaluate the system of getting

students help from social workers. She also likes summer school “to get some

students the help they need.”

Esparza has lived in Lyons for 10 years, and formerly served

on the school board.

“I believe our values need to be heard and met,” Esparza

said.

She thinks it’s important to provide programs for the

students who may need remedial education. “We have to always go back to our

budget,” she said.

Esparza added that board members have one purpose: To best

serve the students.

“Personal agendas. Political agendas. They need to stay at

the door. We come here to fulfill a role,” Esparza said.

Weiner, a 24-year resident of Lyons, has a son at Costello

School, where he is president of the PTO.

“I started coming to board meetings about two years ago

after the last election. I saw what kind of a mess it was back then and how

this board moved it forward,” Weiner said.

“Did they make mistakes? Yes. Everybody makes mistakes. Is

there room for growth and continued moving forward? Yes. That’s why I’m here,

trying to help move it forward for the best interest of our students, staff and

community,” Weiner said.

Schaeffer remains hopeful that the future board – whatever

it may look like – is one that gets along.

At last week’s candidate forum, she addressed that: “When

you leave that table, the work stays at the table, and you remain friends. When

board members can no longer be friends once they leave that table, the board is

lost. The kids have lost.”

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