Another look at the school board candidates

I was reflecting on my previous post, and after talking to a few folks, came up with a more objective look at what the candidates are saying about themselves. So instead of just linking to their public profiles, this time I am going to dive into them to see what they say. I will come away with promises these candidates are making and what we can hold them accountable to. Please bear in mind, by “hold accountable” I am speaking to the necessity and mutual benefit of the voting community holding their elected officials to the promises they have made; I firmly believe this engages the voters and empowers those elected. Everyone says they want to collaborate and work together – let us (all of us, you and me) not just say that, but do that.

Additionally, at the April 8th Board Meeting, Arlene Blank specifically said the board needs to do what the board said it would do. Admittedly, that is a larger scope – this post is to break that down into the context of the three new board members.

With that being said…

Scott MacAdam

It’s hard to find much online about Scott. We can dredge through previous board meetings (google helps but it is still a lot to read: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=site%3Achampaignschools.org+%22scott+macadam%22). There is his NG advertisement in which talks about being “[c]ommitted to fiscal responsibility and transparency”. Probably, the bulk of any online search is going to come up with his responses to candidate surveys. And finally what he shared at the 2013 candidate forum. What has he said he is going to do?

  • develop strategies so the board can be sound financial stewards
  • speak in public
  • embrace diversity
  • be accountable, accessible, transparent to the community; “serving at the mercy of the public, we are there to serve their needs, they need to know what we are trying to accomplish”
  • To address achievement gap,  we need engagement; starts in the home, reach out in various ways.
  • Leverage relationship with UofI to upgrade/enhance technology.
  • work closely with the administration to guarantee that we have the absolute best teachers available for our students, and that they have the resources they need to teach successfully and continue to feel valued and appreciated
  • is committed to fiscal responsibility and transparency

Laurie Bonnett

Laurie has a good bit of information on her campaign facebook page including her video ad (don’t know if that will stay up after May 6th or not, but right now she is still updating it). But she has been engaging with Unit 4 even before this; she went for the open vacancy last year (video of April 2012 Candidate forum), has served on at least one committee (search for superintendent) and put her name in for the January vacancies (after Tom Lockman and Sue Grey left). We have her responses to the NG surveys, and what she said at the 2013 candidate forum. Here is what I found:

  • work with other stakeholders and ensure we move forward taking into account multiple perspectives: the needs of the students and parents; the needs of the teachers and staff; and the needs of the broader community of Champaign.
  • Current and future board members must always look to engage our community in dialogue — in whatever method works best
  • Being available to meet with people and having regular informal discussions to hear people’s concerns and answer questions is something I am committed to do.
  • have communications that are back and forth where people have an opportunity to know what is going on and ask questions and hear honest answers.
  • operate from a place where the board values the trust of the community and actively works to earn and keep it.
  • The board must tell the truth, not always an easy thing to do but it is at the heart of most matters concerning the school district, and finally it must be transparent.
  • Make sure transportation is not an issue for new high school (ie, after-school events).
  • Access to technology not dependent on income level.
  • getting all members of the community to work together
  • fiscal health; become self-reliant
  • To address achievement gap, learn and experience the culture; let the students teach us.

Lynn Stuckey

Lynn has run several times for the board and has put her name in for multiple vacanies – she has obviously been trying for this position for a while. 🙂 Her campaign page has gone through several transitions over the years; for this post, I am using her latest (since I do not have copies of previous versions). We also have her NG responses, and the candidate forum:

  • support efforts and discussions with the CFT earlier in the budget creation cycle, in an attempt to work cooperatively with our school board, and as a means of helping assure that future cuts impact the fewest number of students.
  • Voice concerns and enact proper safeguards to ensure that any and all cost-shifting efforts by the City of Champaign to Unit 4 schools are shifts that truly are in the long-term best interests of the taxpayers.
  • I will support energy efficiency and “green” initiatives and push Unit 4 to aggressively pursue federal grants and foundation monies to implement them.
  • Remodel and revamp elementary schools, including embracing and building K-8 schools.
  • Connect with community by continuing to be an active member of my community, mixing with large numbers of people throughout the week and seeking discussion on matters regarding our schools and facing our School Board.
  • Making sure a report is compiled and delivered every year, detailing savings from “greening” efforts (this same report should also be a feature on the district’s website).
  • Work towards making sure each child is achieving to the best of their abilities; different configurations, different environments.
  • Making sure budget cuts impact the fewest number of children.
  • Utilize technology to compensate for reduced state funding.
  • Ensure we will be financially sound despite the State.
  • Work towards more engagement with the UofI
  • The board will be more transparent
  • Work on better building plans than we have now
  • Motivate people to become more involved

Conclusion

Here are some common themes I found in these promises – I invite you to compile your own list:

  1. A Board that actively pursues multiple bilateral communication opportunities in an effort to educate, to listen and to build trust by being accountable.
  2. Better partnership with the University and the community businesses
  3. Financial independence
  4. Cultural and ethnic awareness, seeking to embrace the diversity within our district

One Response to “Another look at the school board candidates”

  1. Letter to the Board | Citizen4: A citizen's blog about Champaign Unit 4 Says:

    […] you said you were going to do as a board member. The full list I culled together can be found here: https://thecitizen4blog.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/another-look-at-the-school-board-candidates/ From that list, I would highlight a few things, especially as tensions rise around the topic of […]


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