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6 candidates address H-F issues in election forum

Six residents wanting to serve on the District 233 school board got to share their ideas about what they will do over the next four years to improve Homewood-Flossmoor High School.

The school board election is part of the Cook County Consolidated Elections scheduled for Tuesday, April 6. 

For more than an hour, Steve Anderson, Annette Bannon, Beth Larocca, Michelle Hoereth, Lakesha Spight and Cynthia Turnquest took questions from a moderator at the March 13 election forum hosted by the League of Women Voters Homewood-Flossmoor Area chapter. The event was held virtually.

Each of the candidates outlined qualities they can bring to the board and what their goals are. 

Bannon said she had financial and personnel experience from her positions in nursing over several decades.  As an incumbent, she wants to continue focusing on accountability, transparency, fiscal responsibility and data-driven decisions. She said she will “not back down” from making H-F the best high school.

Anderson, who works in commercial banking, brings his financial knowledge to the job, and the 10 years previously served on the Homewood School District 153 board. As the current H-F board president and finance committee chair, Anderson said he believes the district has spent tax dollars wisely and plans accordingly. 

H-F provides exceptional choices for great student outcomes relying on a strong staff partnered with school leadership and parents who are engaged in their student’s education.

Hoereth works at the University of Chicago on diversity issues and is serving as president of the Flossmoor District 161 board pointing to its collaborative work. She wants to bring that student-centered board approach to H-F. 

Hoereth believes H-F can be the best district in the state, but it will take a strong, highly functioning board that moves forward, is not afraid of tough conversations and is committed to the students’ successes.

Turnquest has been involved in parent support organizations in District 161 and at H-F. She works for the nonprofit Cancer Support Center and understands the value of budgeting. She will work to foster “healthy relationships” among board members. 

The board, faculty, administrators, community and students create a great synergy, she said, by working together at and for H-F. She wants the board to give staff, administrators and faculty the tools and resources they need. 

Spight has worked in school systems for about 20 years and believes she has experience to share – from the business office to her current work as a social worker – and her administration and social work degrees give her unique preparation for board work. 

She wants the board to look at and measure student needs, so that students have exactly what they need to be successful once they graduate.

Larocca is a retired high school teacher. Her undergraduate degree is in accounting. Her goal is for every student to receive “the best education possible at lowest responsible cost to homeowners and taxpayers.” 

A board incumbent, she is asking for input from all stakeholders. Larocca said raising student test scores is essential. Decisions should be data-driven, the board needs greater transparency, and she asks for greater awareness of district finances and how possible changes in state support will impact H-F.

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