Jacksonville's 3 Days Away From Ward-Based Vote
Jacksonville residents have a decision on their hands. On Tuesday, they will vote on allowing ward-based school board members for the next election.
"If we have parts of the town that are not represented, it's bad for the whole city," Steve Hochstadt said.
He and a team of others from his neighborhood spent Saturday afternoon knocking on doors and passing out literature to rally votes for a ward-based school board. His children attended Jacksonville schools. They have graduated, but he believes the vote will affect the city's future.
"How are we going to attract businesses if our schools are not good," Hochstadt said. "We lose people because our schools are failing."
"What are you willing to trade and what are you willing to risk?," Robert Crowe asked.
Crowe has an issue with bringing the ward based school board to Jacksonville. He said the wards can work in cities like Champaign and Springfield, but not his town.
"Having the individual board member from a local elementary school does not stop the majority of the board of education from taking actions that they think ought to be taken," Crowe said.
He worked in the district as the superintendent for 17 years. He believes the issue is not the wards.
Instead, it's the lack of community involvement.
"If you look at the situation now there are geographic areas that are not represented on the board," Crowe said. "Why? Well because nobody wants to run."
Current board members, like Jennifer Dewitt, choose to think differently and see the need for wards.
"We want to be able to represent the children in the district equally because they all have special needs depending on where they live," Dewitt said.
"It'd be nice to have someone you can go to to stand up for you and stand up for your kids," parent Robert Brooks said.