Many new Skokie residents will tell you they moved here because they liked our schools. As a recent resident (almost eight years) with a new and fresh perspective and having attended Chicago public as well as north suburban schools, I can tell any new resident that they are right, we do have good schools. Residents know, as I do, that strong schools make for a strong community.
If we want to continue to have strong schools, we need village leaders who understand the necessary symbiosis the districts require with their village officials. School safety, traffic and pedestrian issues, and school calendar changes affect not just individual school districts but the whole community. Thus, when issues arise which affect our entire community, relationships with village leaders need to already be in place for efficient use of experience and resources.
I didn’t just end up in Skokie. My wife and I chose to move here and we have invested our time to make it the best for our family and for the betterment of the community. Knowing the importance our school district played in our children’s lives, I ran for and won a seat on School District 73.5’s school board.
The decisions I made as a board member in 73.5 and as the elected President of School District 807, the nine member cooperative that includes all of Skokie’s elementary districts, included successfully negotiating several fair and equitable contracts with our teachers that included a pay freeze, holding the line on school fees (in many cases reducing them), advocating for an improved lunch program and healthy school environment, and helping oversee a security audit and implementing a safety plan.
While on the Board, I have seen first hand the reactionary position our village has taken on issues ranging from safety to outreach. For years our district has asked for increased safety measures around our schools. Only when tragedy struck did the village react. Was the reaction the right one, or did they just want to do something so it appeared they were listening to the community? We need proactive and thoughtful conversations now to ensure our kids are safe while going to and attending school. Based on my school board experience, I will make these issues a priority as Trustee.
It is knowing the importance of working together with all districts in the community that I, as Skokie Trustee, will expand upon by leading conversations on shared services and a comprehensive study on school safety – from sidewalks and stop signs around schools to internal security and safety resources.
Ensuring the vitality and safety of our schools are just a few of the issues facing our community, which many residents say are important to them. As an experienced board member, I am uniquely qualified to lead discussions to ensure these issues are addressed. As Trustee, I will bring a fresh perspective to the Skokie Village Board by representing the needs of our schools community.
Help me preserve and strengthen what is working well while re-examining and taking new approaches to what can be done better. In the coming weeks I will continue to explore the various issues that are important to our community. The world, United States and Skokie need constant inflow of new energy and ideas. I ask that on April 9th the Skokie community make room on board for an independent voice. MY independent voice, by voting Brian Novak for Skokie Trustee.
To learn more about my candidacy, please visit my website at www.novakforskokie.com. I will also be available to answer questions and listen to feedback at Corner Bakery in Village Crossing on Thursday, January 31st from 7-8:30pm.