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Meet OLCHS Dist. 229 School Board Candidate Judy Ott – Patch.com

Meet OLCHS Dist. 229 School Board Candidate Judy Ott – Patch.com

OAK LAWN, IL — Judy Ott is an ER nurse. She is running for re-election to the Oak Lawn Community High School Dist. school board in the April 6 election. Name: Judy Ott Age (as of election day): 56 Town/city of residence: Oak Lawn School district: Oak Lawn Community High School Dist. 229 Family (names,

OAK LAWN, IL — Judy Ott is an ER nurse. She is running for re-election to the Oak Lawn Community High School Dist. school board in the April 6 election.

Name: Judy Ott

Age (as of election day): 56

Town/city of residence: Oak Lawn

School district: Oak Lawn Community High School Dist. 229

Family (names, ages and any pertinent details you wish to share.)

I have been married to my husband Don Ott for 20 years. We are a blended family of yours, mine and ours. Our children are : Ben, Dan, Shannon, Steven Malia, Donald, Lily and Christopher(an angel among us). They range in age from 34 to 19. We have 2 beautiful granddaughters. Don has lived in Oak Lawn since 1972 and is a graduate of OLCHS. I moved here in 1989.
Don has been a member of Sprinkler Fitters Local 281 for 37 years and is currently an apprentice instructor with local 281. We are proud of all of our amazing children. We have 5 OLCHS graduates. Ben and Dan are STLHS grads. Our youngest son is an Eagle Scout. We are parents of 3 United States Marines-OORAH!

Does anyone in your family work in politics or government (This includes any relatives who work in the government you’re running for)?
Education: Bachelor of Science in Nursing St. Xavier University

Occupation (please include years of experience): ER RN with 25 years of nursing experience.

Campaign website: None. I’m not running a political campaign nor am I accepting donations.

Previous or current elected or appointed office: OLCHS D229 Board of Education

The single most pressing issue facing our school district, and this is what I intend to do about it.

Covid of course is the most obvious issue facing schools and in person learning both nationally and locally. As a school board member I will continue to support the current administration, faculties and staff as they continually adapt the plans for the changing science. I believe it is necessary to proceed with recommendations from the CDC, IDPH, IASB, ISBE as we continue to move back to a full schedule of person learning. The safety of our Spartan community and staff is the utmost priority. We absolutely need to follow recommended guidelines as scientific data progresses.

I believe as a school board member we need to be fiscally responsible with every cent of taxpayer money. Staying abreast of local taxes, TIF districts and the impact on all the Oak Lawn Schools is a responsible I take seriously. OLCHS has annually passed budgets that were balanced and were not burdensome to our community. I support freezing taxes or providing abatements when feasibly possible but not if a tax freeze would result in reduction of staff and cancelling programs that benefit our children and community. Recently OLCHS did approve a tax abatement of 2.4 million dollars to our community after we were awarded a state grant.

What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?

All the candidates are volunteering to serve our community because we care about our children. I can assure our community of my own motivation to provide a quality education for children while respecting the hard-earned money of our taxpayers. I do not have political aspirations and serve because Oak Lawn is my home, it’s where we chose to raise our family. I want to ensure a quality education for future generations choosing Oak Lawn.

If you are a challenger, in what way has the current board or officeholder failed the community or district? N/A

Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform.

I am a team player. We accomplished the most when we can work together to further the educational needs of our Spartans. As a School board member I want to continue to ensure all students that walk through the doors as a Spartan leave with all the tools necessary to have a successful future no matter what path they choose in life.

What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?

I was in nursing school when my 3 year old son died tragically. I became a grieving mother, single parent of 3 living children struggling to finish nursing school and kept the roof over our heads. My husband, Don and I have succeeded at blending our families into an loving mix of “yours, mine and ours.”

I have taken the tragic loss of my son, CJ and turned my heartache in to over 20 years of ER nursing experience. I have sent a son to war to serve our country despite having already buried one son. I like so many in emergency services accepted the realities of CV19 without blinking and stepped up to care for people that needed us.

I will continue to step up when needed.

Why should voters trust you?

I’m an honest, hard working mother, wife grandmother and RN. I have spent my adult life caring for others. I have been dedicated to serving our community for more than 20 years and will continue to do so.

If you win this position, what accomplishment would make your term in office a success?

The school board functions as a team so I don’t see success as my individual accomplishments. I have no personal agenda. My goal as a school board member is to assist the administration, and educators to continue to provide quality, well-rounded education by preparing our students for success when they graduate whether it be for college, the trades, military or entering the work force. A successful Spartan is an accomplishment.

What are your views on fiscal policy, government spending and the handling of taxpayer dollars in the office you are seeking?

I believe the school board and our local government need to exercise conservative fiscal management of our taxpayer dollars. As an ER nurse in an underserved community I know how hard I work for every penny. I want my tax money used appropriately. I want the governing bodies held accountable for how they spend the money I earned with my blood, sweat and tears as I have literally put my life on the line this past year. I plan on working with other board members to keep D229 operating on a fiscally responsible budget while meeting our governing requirements and providing the tools Spartans need in their school.

Do you support Black Lives Matter and what are your thoughts on the demonstrations held since the death of George Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake?

I respect everyone’s 1st amend right to organize and peacefully protest. I do not support or condone violence or the destruction of property.

Do you think the current board has done enough to support racial equality, and if not, what specifically should be done to do so?

I do feel the current school does support racial equality and supports our Spartans reaching their full potential.

What are your thoughts on the district’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic? Are you in favor of remote learning, in-person learning or a hybrid of the two? Do you support a mask mandate for students and school staff, or mandatory coronavirus testing for both students and staff?

Our school had remote learning in place prior to the coronavirus pandemic so when the initial lock down happened the school was able to adapt quickly. Kudos to our staff, teachers and administrators for your fore thought, planning and flexibility. The school has communicated it’s plans via the school website, email, social media and mobile apps. The administration, faculty and staff have been and are ready to assist our Spartan families. The school has been able to accommodate the needs of our students and their families through in person, remote and hybrid learning because of their flexibility and preparedness.

I fully support in-person learning when the CDC and IDPH deems it safe to do so. I believe we need to follow the data and recommendations from the CDC/IDPH for masking in the schools. I support individuals taking precautions to protect their health and the health of their families albeit via masks and vaccines.

When the vaccine is available to them, do you support mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for students and staff?

Spartan families and staff should be able to decide for themselves and their loved ones if vaccinating is best for them.

Is there any reason you would not serve your full term of office, other than those of health or family?


The best advice ever shared with me was ____________

Pain is weakness leaving the body. The question isn’t how much more you can take but how much more you can give. Just when you’re ready to quit your mind says push harder. You listen, sensing and inner strength that wasn’t there before. And suddenly you discover you no longer feel pain.

If you are a candidate running for local office and would like to participate in a candidate profile, please email lorraine.swanson@patch.com.

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