The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Amanda Black

Sonal Kulkarni

Amanda Black

Sonal Kulkarni is running for the D128 Board of Education for the first time. When deciding to run, Kulkarni reached out to friends on other school boards, who reported needing to be effective listeners, collaborators, decision makers and fast learners. This reminded Kulkarni of her work as an IT director at a pharmaceutical company. Kulkarni emphasized the need to “prepare for tomorrow;” she hopes to provide students more hands-on experience to prepare them for a diverse world.

Kulkarni doesn’t like the phrase “reopen the schools.” “Just because you are remote doesn’t mean you are not in school,” Kulkarni said. She finds the phrase “reopen the buildings” more accurate.

Kulkarni generally supports the district’s past efforts, avoiding reopening before the district was ready. She stressed the need to continue letting health metrics drive the decisions to expand or contract the level of in-building learning. Kulkarni supports the district’s Covid testing regimen and sees its value if case levels spike.

If a spike in cases is seen in the district’s weekly surveillance testing, “more testing has to be done to figure out how big or bad the exposure is,” Kulkarni said.

Kulkarni floated the idea of creating a volunteer bank of parents for advice on certain decisions. When her daughter attended LHS, Kulkarni saw few ways to get involved outside of Parent CATS or fundraising, which she struggled to help with as a full-time worker. She proposed allowing parents to list their skills, talents and prospective commitment levels. Just as districts have created reopening task forces, the school board could create task forces to garner community feedback or address complicated issues from parents in the volunteer bank. The bank would also allow the board to receive feedback from groups representative of the community, she said.

Kulkarni supports the Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning Standards (CRT) bill being considered by state lawmakers. The CRT would not affect curriculum, instead changing standards for teachers.

Kulkarni has endorsed Cara Benjamin, Don Carmichael and Kara Drumke.

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