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
“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,”
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
“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
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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