John Daniels: Candidate Profile
Addison District 4 School Board (4-year Terms)
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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
Office sought: Addison District 4 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married 16 years to Diane. Three Boys: Bobby 14, JT 12, and Jacob 9. All 3 children are District 4 students.
Occupation: High School Math Teacher and Coach
Education: Bachelors in Education from Concordia University
Masters in School Leadership from Concordia University
Civic involvement: Current District 4 School Board Member. Current Vice President of the Addison Rec Club. Commissioner and Coach of multiple youth sports in the Addison community over the past 9 years. Volunteer activities at Shriner's Children's Hospital over the past 18 years, ranging from fundraisers to wheel chair basketball. Volunteer coach/speaker at non-profit youth basketball summer camps. Past Advisory Board Member at Concordia University. Past board member of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association.
Elected offices held: Addison School District #4 Board Member
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Campaign Discussion (School District Point of Emphasis): Budget. As a member of the School District #4 Budget Committee, I understand how challenging it is right now to keep our current activities and staff while facing the challenges of our current financial situation. We must continue to be fiscally responsible. Our district has done a great job of maintaining a balanced budget without causing harm to our educational environment.
Key Issue 2
Campaign Discussion (School District Point of Emphasis): Full Time Kindergarten: Our present school board, administration, and staff feel that a move to a full time Kindergarten program is very important for our school districts educational improvement.
Key Issue 3
Campaign Discussion (School District Point of Emphasis): School Safety: This is a topic that I have discussed on many occasions at our open and closed school board meetings since I was appointed to the school board. Our district is in the process of improving our current camera and security systems at each school. Our student and staff safety is the number should be the number one priority of our board.
What do you think about the shift to the common core standards? How big a role do you think the board of education should play in setting the curriculum for students and what ideas do you have for changes to the current curriculum?
The Common Core State Standards are supposed to create a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help the student. This is not a major change from our current curriculum. It is another way of organizing what we are teaching and the level and order (scope and sequence) in which we teach it. The standards are designed to emphasis more "real world" questions and situations. This will put an emphasis on HOW our students answer questions, reading, writing, and reflection skills will be emphasized in all curriculums.
The board of education should NOT play a major role in the curriculum of our students. The board should be involved in overseeing the process and the decisions being made by our administrators and staff. Our role should be supportive, what can we do to help our educators be in a position to continue to succeed. Our role should also be one of representation; we need to represent our community and its needs in making sure we are creating the best curriculum for our students and their future. We as a board should also have a connection to the district 88 board; we should treat our curriculum as if we were part of a unit school district. This will give our students an improved transition to the high school and greater overall success.
How satisfied are you that your district is preparing students for the next stage in their lives, whether it be from elementary into high school or high school into college or full-time employment? What changes, if any, do you think need to be made?
Our district and current school board continues to build upon our strong relationship with District 88 and Addison Trail High School. It is very important that our students have the necessary academic and social tools to succeed at the high school. I feel our district does a good job in the transition and preparation for the next levels, but our success does not mean we do not continue to try and improve on what we are currently doing. With a new superintendent in place for School District 88 and a new principal in place at Addison Trail, it is important that our current administration continues to communicate and work with Dr. Helton and the high school administration on giving our students the tools to succeed. A goal of every community is to prepare their youth with the tools to be a lifelong learner.
What budget issues will your district have to confront and what measures do you support to address them? If you believe cuts are necessary, what programs and expenses should be reduced or eliminated? On the income side, do you support any tax increases?
District #4 has faced continuous state budget cuts, late payment from the state, and non-payment from the state for items that it has mandated. Even with all of the financial issues that we have faced, we have had a balanced budget each year with little impact on our programs and educational environment. I cannot answer questions about the future in terms of elimination of programs or tax increases without knowing what our support from the government and its budget will be. Our goal each year when we plan and make decisions about our budget is to improve the educational environment and have a balanced budget.
As contract talks come up with various school employee groups, do you believe the district should ask for concessions from its employees, expect employee costs to stay about the same as they are now or provide increases in pay or benefits?
As the school board, school administrators, and school staff and teachers negotiate and discuss pay and benefits, each conversation and decision will always have the future of our district and its budget in mind. Our educators have agreed to pay freezes in the past few years to allow our district to continue to run at a high standard. Our community and school board acknowledge and respect the hard work and dedication our educators and staff have for our children. The bottom line is there is only so much money in the budget, decisions made in one area to increase or decrease budget dollars have a great effect on another area in the budget. Both sides of the negotiating table are aware of our current economic state. There is a positive relationship between the negotiating groups and I am confident a fair contract will be agreed upon.
If your district had a superintendent or other administrator nearing retirement, would you support a substantial increase in his or her pay to help boost pension benefits? Why or why not?
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