Incumbent trustees reelected in Oak Park

Incumbent trustees
in Oak Park
By Sylvie Belmond

Two trustees in Oak Park will be returning to the board of education.

Incumbent Jan Iceland captured the most votes in Tuesday’s Oak Park Unified School District Board of Education race with 43.1 percent.

Trustee Jim Kalember and challenger Kenneth Kossoff finished close but Kalember pulled out a 56-vote victory, capturing 1,946 votes to Kossoff’s 1,886.

Iceland and her husband, Steve, served on the founding committee for the school district in 1978. Jan Iceland was elected to the school board in 1991.

"I’m really gratified, it showed people are happy with what we’re doing in the district and I look forward to continue to serve children the best way that we can," said Iceland.

Kalember echoed her comments.

"I’m glad the voters have endorsed the direction that we are taking and they have supported the program that we put in place," said Kalember. He’s served on the board since 1987. Kalember said he spent about $700 for his campaign, which included a $500 filing fee.

Kossoff said he spent between $5,000 and $7000 for his campaign.

Kossoff almost won because many parents in Oak Park are unhappy, he said, with how schools are being operated.

"I ran because the future of my children is at stake and the future of a lot of other people’s children is at stake," he said. He was concerned, he said, because the school board disregards parents’ concerns and preferences.

Although Iceland acknowledged that Kossoff’s campaign had meaning for some voters, she defended OPUSD.

"Some of the things that (Kossoff) said resonated with some people, but these people should come to the board to express their concerns," said Iceland. One of Kossoff’s complaints centered on the dismissal of a former teacher and how the matter was mishandled.

Iceland said personnel matters cannot be conducted in public. The board, she said, can’t respond to public outcries about a termination during public meetings because of potential lawsuits.

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