I attended a Riverside elementary school’s PTA meeting, where District 96 school board candidates had an opportunity to present their qualifications and perspectives on the school district. All the candidates should be commended for stepping up and being willing to make a contribution to Riverside.

However, the candidate that stands out so clearly as the most qualified, focused and fact-based is Rachel Marrello.

Rachel Marrello has an extensive background in law and eliminating corruption and wasteful spending. I was impressed by the specificity of her observations about the district, the district’s tax policy and the issues that face our schools. Rachel spoke very clearly about the need to improve the financial transparency, to benchmark our schools’ spending, to improve services for special needs children and to reinstate a full-day kindergarten program.

In her own words, “these are just a few examples” of the type of changes that we have to make within our school district. Rachel is of the highest integrity and professionalism, and I believe that she will make an outstanding contribution to the District 96 school board. Rachel Marrello is running on the same slate with Mary Rose Mangia and Randy Brockway.

The candidates come from diverse backgrounds and experiences. From my personal experience with Lisa Gaynor in Girl Scouts, I believe that she would bring a balanced perspective to the board as well. In my opinion, Lisa would provide a solid bridge between what is already great about our schools and the progressive agenda of Rachel Marrello and her slate.

Let’s stop the cycle of taxing and spending, and redirect our focus to the basics that our community needs. I ask you to vote with me on April 9. Be a part of making change happen, by helping to elect Rachel Marrello and slate members. Together they will face many challenges, but I am confident that they are well qualified for the task.

Adan K. Pope, MBA, MSCS

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