HYDE PARK — As Hyde Parkers headed to the polls in Tuesday's primary election, a group of Ray Elementary School parents made their bid for a slot on the Local School Council.
“It’s important for me to say my daughter grew up here in the city of Chicago, went to public school and can do basically whatever she wants in life,” said Tim May, an alum of Ray and a current parent representative on the LSC.
May and three other LSC members looked confident as they faced eight challengers vying for the parent positions on the council at a candidates forum Tuesday night at the school, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave.
“I think the big fight right now is getting more support for our community schools,” said Kirsten Esterly, who works across the street at the Medici and has served for a year on the LSC. “I just want to finish the work I started.”
The current members are facing stiff competition at a school with a reputation for parent involvement ahead of the April 7 LSC election. In addition to Esterly and May, incumbents Gordon Mayer and Patrick Brutus are seeking re-election. Incumbents Bill Schmidt and Mathew Christian are not.
“It’s a school I knew my kids would go to long before they went here,” said challenger Sarah Ogeto, who has a son and a daughter in the prekindergarten program at Ray and has lived in the neighborhood for more than 10 years.
Mayer, the current chairman of the LSC, gave the challengers warnings of the steep learning curve for new LSC members attempting to navigate the Chicago Public Schools bureaucracy.
“It’s taken six years to figure out how they think — or if and when they think,” Mayer said, adding that he would not seek an officer position if elected to a third term.
Principal Antonia Hill is guaranteed a position on the LSC, and Gabriel Sheridan and Jennifer Wejman are running unopposed for the two teacher positions on the LSC. Christopher Allen is running unopposed for the school staff position on the LSC.
Don Willard and Michael Carter are running unopposed for the two community representative LSC positions.
The election will be on April 7 at the school during parent-teacher conference day.