The News-Gazette posed questions about school district finance, communication, school facilities and more to the five candidates running for three four-year Champaign school board terms.
Below, you'll find their answers, as well as more information about them.
Incumbents Stig Lanesskog and Ileana Saveley are running for two available two-year school board terms. Because they are running unopposed for those seats, they were not included in the questionnaire.
Name: Lynn Stuckey
Address: 806B W. Healey St., C
Occupation: owner, Family Historian Publishing
Political experience: Prior candidacies in 2009 and 2011 for Unit 4 School Board
Why are you running for school board?
I have attended almost every school board meeting since 2007. I have gained a sense of the history that has brought us to the point we are at now.
I feel that I am aware of the challenges, as well as the opportunities, facing the district. We need to embrace the changes technology is bringing to education and use those changes to our advantage.
State and federal funding for school districts is a constant uncertainty. How should the school district deal with these financial challenges?
The district isn't just going to have to be careful with its money; it's going to have to accept that we are in an era where the state Legislature is slowing abandoning education. The rural districts are cutting now, and we will probably have to do the same in the next year or two. We can't just keep creating and raising taxes to offset these losses.
The Champaign school district is in the middle of a campaign to create a plan for what to do with its aging buildings, including Central High School. In your opinion, how should the school district prioritize these projects?
Stop paying consultants to redo the work we did with "Great Schools, Together." Remodel and revamp elementary schools, including embracing and building K-8 schools. Accept that middle schools are inappropriate for large numbers of our students, and drop plans to waste tax dollars creating more of them. Be very careful about building a new high school, when the demographic study being used to justify it is flawed, and coming technical changes will change the number and type of classrooms we need, and how many years students are in them.
Superintendent Judy Wiegand has emphasized that she wants the school district to be transparent and a good communicator. How would you, as a school board member, connect with the community you represent?
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.
Name one other issue that's important to you, and describe how you'd resolve it.
For over five years, we have committed a significant amount of time and money "greening" our schools. Despite the expenditure of several million dollars for geothermal heating and air conditioning, new windows, lighting retrofits, and even a solar hot water heater, the tax-paying citizens have yet to receive a report detailing any drops in energy consumption or cost savings from these measures. I would like to see a report compiled and delivered every year, detailing this data (this same report should also be a feature on the district's website). Our citizens deserve to know that these expenditures are paying off and bringing value to our district.