Editor’s note: We sent candidates questionnaires by mail. Two candidates — William Bogan and Tiffany Gancos — did not respond. Nor did all candidates provide a campaign photo as requested.
1) I chose to run for school board because I saw a district that had lost its direction; a district I should have recognized, but that bore no semblance to its former self. Some members of the school board believe schools are a business, and in many ways they are. I believe if a school is a business, students are not only our most important customers, but also our most valuable product. The problem is, kids aren’t just a “product” and schools can’t just be businesses.
I’m passionate about my community. My kids, and everyone else’s, deserve the best possible education and preparation. It doesn’t matter that we are a small district, or a small village, or a rural community. We may never have as much money as another district; it means we have to be more creative and determined. We need our pride back. We need our spirit back.
2) We need to take advantage of alternative sources of funding, like grants and supplemental monies, instead of relying solely on levies. The citizens and businesses of this district have shown themselves to be overwhelmingly generous and supportive of our schools, but they don’t have bottomless pockets. We need to examine all of our current expenditures and people need to see that money is being spent wisely. The hack-and-slash approach taken by the current board was a failure. We need to be reasoned in our search for solutions, not reactionary.
3) Transparency and communication. Board meetings aren’t exciting, but people are even less likely to attend if they have to spend hours watching the members brawl or think they will be pulled into one. Cooperation and respect are essential. Even if I don’t immediately share someone’s concern, it’s worth finding out why they’re concerned. Maybe they see something I didn’t. We tend to underestimate kids, but our students’ thoughts and ideas are valuable. It costs us nothing to listen. Residents should be able to feel like they have ownership in the planning and direction of the district.
4) I would have to do an in-depth analysis of day-to-day operations before I could comment on changing them. I want to hear what the administrators, teachers, and staff have to say, what their ideas are, and how current procedures affect them. I think the eighth grade should be moved back to the middle school. The voters were led to believe that the new building would benefit fourth through eighth grades, and that is what they voted for. These kids are not allowed to participate in high school functions, they are at a different maturity level, and they have lost the benefit of spirit-building activities and friendly competitions they previously shared with the seventh-graders. From a social standpoint we have shoved them in a corner to be forgotten. Our students shouldn’t have to pay for the poor planning of those in leadership positions.
Daniel C. Rosecrans
1) I have decided to become a candidate for the Wellington Exempted Village School District board of education for the purpose of improving academics, financial responsibility, and accountability. I will try to improve transparency and communication between the school board and the public. I believe these matters are interwoven. Our Wellington school district academics and our children have suffered because of wasteful spending. Our school support staff and teachers were laid off, classes and sports were cut, and support for students with special needs was reduced. Yet our present school board gave our administration raises. As a school district, we must be better stewards of our tax dollars. We must rein in wasteful spending. “Rubber stamp” voting by our present school board has damaged the board’s credibility. I will work to improve the credibility of the Wellington school board if I am elected.
2) Wasteful and reckless spending of our school’s money is a prominent topic in our community. As a board member, I will review expenditures to determine if they are needed to help our children or our schools. Spending any monies that will not help educate our children does not make good business sense. Operating expenditures need to be reviewed to determine if they can be trimmed. The board can only regain the support of our community after cutting wasteful spending and showing financial responsibility.
3) Trust is earned. My goal as a new board member would be to earn back our public trust. I will stand up for what is in the best educational interest of our children and our school district. I also believe that our present school board enters into too many executive sessions. Transparency and communication about school matters is critical in building public trust. Too many executive sessions creates the appearance that something is being hidden from the public. I will listen to our public’s concerns at board meetings or whenever they are offered by members of our community.
4) Regarding the question of the day-to-day operations of our schools, I have raised questions about the need to have a business manager and a full-time athletic director. I will thoroughly investigate the need for these positions and make suggestions for changes to the school board. Another point of concern regarding day-to-day operations of our schools is the moving of our eighth-graders to the high school. Frankly, I do not believe this is in our eighth-graders’ best interest. If I am elected to the school board, I will ask they be moved back to our new middle school. Additionally, I believe all district board policies need a thorough review. Board policy, however is worthless without training and accountability. Poor board policies and board practices have harmed our students and our school district in many ways.
1) I’m a graduate of the school district, I live and raise my children here, and I want Wellington Schools to be a source of pride for all community members.
I’m passionate about creating a board that is responsive and thorough. I want “over-communication” – we need to fix the public’s perception of not feeling included. Inside our buildings I’m interested in curriculum, district performance, and financial stability but mostly about preparing our children for what come next in their lives. Students need to be properly challenged and district performance improvements prioritized. We’re providing for our children’s successful future and building fellow citizens and maximizing that potential should be our cause and at the center of each and every decision.
I’m running because our community can and should expect more from our school district, and I think I can help.
2) We’ll have to be completely responsible financially while putting our best educational offering forward, which means constantly challenging the balance between cutting every penny and maximizing district performance, curriculum, and enrollment. I’ll look into cuts or changes where there is obvious waste and hopefully in areas where the educational process is least effected. We then make wise investments that positively impact the highest number of students. I think we have to get creative and ask more questions – we have to listen to the input of parents and community and be quick to challenge spending situations that become ineffective.
3) I’ll remember who put me on the board, and who I’m ultimately representing – the community voters and taxpayers. We have to be transparent and accountable for our actions. I don’t think we can possibly communicate enough. I think it will help to be visible and accessible to the public, listen to concerns and understand community attitudes, and most importantly respond to the input provided with some form of feedback. Board members need to help build public support for the schools and in turn lead the public in demanding quality education. I’ll lead the board in those efforts.
4) It’ll be important to leave day-to-day operations to the education professionals doing the administrative work – that’s not my background. I’ll leverage my business knowledge to help build a framework to plan, build, and promote excellence and focus on establishing policies and goals to maximize administration effectiveness. We will need clarity on the function and value of each administrative role and an evaluation of how we’re investing in positions and resources. The public is clearly requesting this.
When voters approved the new building, it was a fourth-through-eighth grade building. For that reason, the eighth grade should go to the new building when it opens. A third grade move was discussed as part of district consolidation with declining enrollment. We need to monitor this, but instead let’s plan for and build a school system that reverses this trend and promotes the excellence to attract families and students to our district.