LAKEVIEW — The desire to improve Lake View High School pushed most of the school's seven community representative candidates to run for two seats on the Local School Council, the candidates said.
Despite Mayor Rahm Emanuel lauding it as one of the city's successful new STEM schools, Lake View still suffers from a perception problem among middle class parents in the neighborhood, who often send their children out of the area for high school. More than 70 percent of the student body travels from outside the area.
"I hear parents talk about where they want to send their kids to high school," said candidate Arnold Davis, who's been on Nettelhorst Elementary's LSC for four years. "Lake View High School is rarely on the list."
For Henry Kurzynski, the only candidate currently serving on Lake View's school council, serving again is more about taking a good look at the school's budget. Last year's cuts hurt, but the school was still buying T-shirts and prep rally props for kids this year, Kuzynski said.
"There are some hard questions that need to be asked about how money is spent," he said.
Anybody over the age of 18 living in Lake View's territory — even if they don't have kids in school — can vote in Tuesday's election. Voting will take place between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. at the school, 4015 N. Ashland Ave.
Here's a rundown of the community representatives vying for spots:
Background: Chair of Nettelhorst Elementary school council for three years, currently a parent member but not running for re-election; was president of the now-defunct neighborhood group Belmont Harbor Neighbors. He has a student in eight grade at the Lane Tech Academic Center and a fifth-grader at Nettelhorst.
Why he's running: "All the angst and heartburn that high school causes parents" — "None of the feeder schools are going to reach their full potential until they have a high school that their students can seamlessly go to. I view it as an extension of the work I've done at Nettelhorst. You have people leaving the city for the suburbs and creating brain drain for the local feeder elementary schools."
Future goals if elected: "Parents are unfamiliar with Lake View" — "I want to do what I did at Nettlehorst. We turned it into an extremely organized, very professional board. Two, I want to make sure that Lake View High School has a very high profile within the community. Anytime something great happens at Lake View, I want everyone in the community to know about it. I’d love to see an email list that goes out to hundreds, if not thousands of people in the Lakeview community, updating them on Lake View High School."
Occupation: Part-time librarian at Lake View High School
Carparelli did not respond to request for comment. She is still eligible to run despite being an employee but must resign her librarian position if elected.
Occupation: Legal counsel at Kaplan, Inc.
Background: Lived in Lakeview since August 2012; previously worked in higher education, including public relations and admissions
Why she's running: "I want to get involved" — "I just felt like it would be great to give back. I’m very interested in seeing the next generation of students and having extra free time, I thought it would be a great opportunity to try something new and become a real Chicagoan."
Future goals if elected: "Really helping them figure out what path is right for them" — "I would like to start a program where freshman coming into the high school are given college prep from day one. Throughout the four years, we'd be introducing them to the idea of college, and the resources and preparation that goes into getting into college from the academic standpoint as well as the administrative standpoint."
Occupation: Architect and program manager
Background: Served as community rep for past two years, currently as secretary; wife is a teacher at the school. Been in project management for 25 years, working with budgets and funding.
Why he's running: "The success of Lake View High School is the success of the Community" — "I always kind of think of myself as the voice of reason. I think a lot of people just go through the motions, and I've always thought that I try to ask the questions that go a little in-depth as to what's happening at the school. I want to help the council dig deeper."
Future goals if elected: "There are some hard questions that need to be asked about how money is spent." — "Here we were, we just went through a huge budget cut last year, and everybody was crying and complaining, and we were out buying T-shirts and banners and pep rally props for the kids. I just thought that in a time when we’re all cutting back, it would be appropriate if the school showed that kind of cutback. I want to make sure money is being spent correctly."
Occupation: Cook County Juvenile Court probation officer
Background: Visits high schools through job; has lived in Roscoe Village for 15 years; three children at Bell Elementary; member of Ald. Ameya Pawar's (47th) education initiative GROW47
Why she's running: "A viable and desirable option" — O'Rourke wants to help other parents become more familiar with Lake View so that it is seen "as a strong option for high school," according to a campaign flyer. Through her work as a probation officer, she's seen many schools and has "been very impressed with the improvements" at Lake View.
Occupation: Deputy director at non-profit MidWest Energy Efficiency Alliance
Background: Chair of Hamilton Elementary LSC for last six years and plans to stay on council; used to work in public policy; Vice President of group West Lakeview Neighbors; has second and fifth grader at Hamilton
Why she's running: "There's a real need for quality neighborhood schools" — "I’m very involved in the neighborhood. My kids are getting older. I thought it would be a great opportunity to get involved at the local high school. ... There’s a lack of understanding of what’s available at Lake View High School. As long as we educate people, the more support we’ll get, and more people will want to send their kids there."
Future goals if elected: "They're just not aware" — "When everyone talks about high school, they talk selective enrollment. I hate to say it, but in some ways, there is a need for reeducation, not from ground zero. But there’s a real need to explain to people: what are the options at Lake View HS, and why it’s a great option for the kids."
Occupation: Works at One Goal, a non-profit dedicated to helping low-income students graduate from college
Background: Former science teacher; moved to Lakeview for Blaine Elementary. No kids yet but plans to start family.
Why she's running: "There's a lot of mixed messages out there." — "I think [Lake View] has a ton of potential. It could use a lot of community support. That's what inspired me to come."