It’s probably a first.
A homeschooling Dad is running for his local grade school’s board of education.
Undoubtedly some will try to convince people that someone who saves McHenry Grade School District 15, what, $5,000 per year per child that he and his wife educate can’t be trusted to be on the school board.
The Dad, John O’Neill, has been interested in government since he was nine years old. When others were watching cartoons, he was watching the returns for Jimmy Carter’s presidential election.
He was first appointed Republican precinct committeeman and then elected in the area between Route 31 and Green Street on the south side of town.
Not many Republican precinct committeemen run for school board. This year, besides O’Neill, there are two running in District 300. Elected committeeman John Ryan is running against Board President Mary Fioretti, an appointed GOP precinct committeeman.
So, why does O’Neill want to be on the school board?
There are three main reasons:
First, I want to make sure that the children of the district receive the best education possible.
Second, I want to make sure the school district lives within its means.
Third, if I ever enroll my children in public schools, I want to know what they are being taught.
I asked O’Neill if he thought he and his wife could educate his five children better than the school system.
“At least as good, if not better,” he replied.
“At most there’s a 5 to 1 student-teacher ratio at our home. However, many times it’s one-on-one instruction,” he explained. “At school, it’s at least 20 to 1.”
O’Neill himself is an educator. He trains workers in the corporate world. And, he’s taught Sunday School eight of the last ten years, most recently at the Church of the Holy Apostles at Bull Valley and Crystal Lake Road (that’s what Crystal Lakers call the McHenry Blacktop).
What do you want accomplish?
“I want to make sure that the student-teacher ratio doesn’t get any higher,” O’Neill said. “It’s now an average of 21 students per teacher according to the D15 website, with middle school ratios even higher. The state average is 19 students per teacher,
“I want the school board to take an active role in opposing development that does not pay its own way. Thatcher Meadows comes to mind.
“I don’t think we need to raise our taxes any higher than they are, especially through threats and intimidation. The school district needs to live within its means just like our fellow parents and taxpayers.“
O’Neill knows he has an uphill battle and is looking for more volunteers to help him or help with campaign expenses.
Readers can volunteer at his website, and there's a place to make financial contributions.