The unexpected vacancy on the Riverside-Brookfield High School Board of Education provides our community with an opportunity to thank Tom Jacobs for his service and to support current board members in the important work of appointing a new member to serve through spring 2023. 

The board must appoint a new member within 60 days of July 1, the date Tom Jacobs moved out of the district. A full board is necessary for the hard work of a successful post-pandemic return to school and the allocation of COVID funds.

As a local organization, Indivisible West Suburban Action League offers the community ways to learn about candidates, communicate with elected officials, and hold our elected officials accountable to the voters. For example, in March IWSAL hosted a forum in which each of the four RBHS board candidates had the opportunity to answer the same questions from the community. The voters elected Lorena Gasca, Ramona Towner and Ryan VenHorst.

Voluntary public service to the school board is usually decided in an election. Under these circumstances, our board of education, led by President Deanna Zalas, has invited applications from eligible residents, committed to sharing the list of applicants with the community promptly, and plans to consider community input submitted via email and public comment at a special meeting in early August. 

We applaud the BOE’s swift communication, transparency and promise to consider community input while performing this duty. We expect our elected officials to listen and act in alignment with the community’s priorities.

With the disproportionate effect of the pandemic on Black and Brown students, IWSAL asks the board to consider how their choice can improve ongoing work toward racial equity, restorative justice and trauma-informed practices. We ask the board to choose a candidate who strengthens the collaboration and unity of the board and communication with the community.

Our thanks to all board members for their service. We are excited to move forward into the new school year together.

Helen Gallagher, Lisa Janunas, Lindsay Morrison, Josie Polanek
On behalf of Indivisible West Suburban Action League