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Article posted: 3/20/2013 5:04 PM

District 41 hopefuls share unique ideas

By Russell Lissau Paul Valade

Candidates for seats on the Lake Villa Elementary District 41 school board shared their unique ideas during recent interviews, including raising money through advertising, expanding kindergarten and jump-starting a local nonprofit foundation.

Five candidates will be on the April 9 ballot in the race. They're competing for four seats.

Incumbents Kurt Hansen, Peggy Kuzmanovich and Nancy Schell are running, as are challengers Jolene Lee and Michele Hawksworth.

In recent interviews with the Daily Herald, the candidates were asked to share unique ideas no one else in the district has suggested, among other subjects.

Write-in candidates Jan Hope and James Creighton Mitchell Jr. did not participate.

Hansen said he's been asking the board and administration to think more strategically.

"What is this district going to look like financially in five years?" he said. "What's it going to look like in building and grounds in five years? What is it going to look like as far as curriculum in five years?"

Hawksworth wants to improve communication with teachers. She suggested casual meetings, perhaps over doughnuts and coffee in the morning or at lunch.

"Actually having some type of communication starting where they feel comfortable (to) share some of the things that they see as improvements or things they see as (overspending)," she said.

Kuzmanovich is a strong proponent of full-day kindergarten.

"We've talked about it and I think it's something with the new common core (curriculum) that we absolutely need," she said. "We are challenging these kids further and farther than ever before. And I think it's time for our district to go to a full-day kindergarten program."

Lee believes officials should look for alternative sources of revenue such as advertising. She also is open to saving money by enacting energy-saving options.

Her ideas include putting advertising on buses, getting sponsors for the gym and using wraps that advertise healthy lifestyles on lockers.

Schell suggested revitalizing a nonprofit foundation as a way to financially benefit the schools. The district's current foundation just offers a few scholarships, she said.

"I would really like to expand that foundation into something much larger ... something that may even be able to generate its own money on a fairly consistent basis so it becomes another revenue stream," Schell said.

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