James Edward Robinette: 2021 candidate for Lombard Elementary District 44 board

Five candidates are running for four, 4-year terms on the Lombard Elementary District 44 board of trustees in the April 6 election. They are incumbents James Edward Robinette and Courtney Simek, and challengers Sarah Novey, Daniel Tiltges and Cary Benjamin Weisgram.

Daniel Tiltges did not respond to the questionnaire.

The Daily Herald asked each candidate about issues facing the district and how they would contribute to its progress.

In-person early voting with paper ballots is now available at the DuPage County Fairgrounds Building 5, 2015 Manchester Road, Wheaton. In-person early voting with touch-screen voting begins March 22 at locations throughout the county. Learn more at


Town: Lombard

Age: 44

Occupation: School principal, LaGrange School District 102

Civic involvements: No response


Q. Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?

A: Reelection.

Q: How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic?

A: I believe that current school board has done a wonderful job during the pandemic and I would give them an A. The board has been working collaboratively with the district administration and staff throughout the entire pandemic to make sure that every student is getting everything that they need to be successful for e-learning and safe and successful during hybrid learning.

Q: How do you view your role in confronting the pandemic: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents - even ones with whom you disagree, or defer to state authorities?

A: My role is being one of seven voices to make the best decisions possible under the guidance of the district superintendent. As a school level administrator, I have been able to give guidance to the board and superintendent regarding what is working well in my district as well as some potential pitfalls that may arise.

Q: Did your district continue to adequately serve students during the disruptions caused by the pandemic? If so, please cite an example of how it successfully adjusted to continue providing services. If not, please cite a specific example of what could have been done better.

A: Our district adequately served students by offering an e-learning platform during the pandemic as well as a hybrid model once we felt confident in maintaining student and staff safety with opening schools. The board and superintendent have listened to parent and staff concerns throughout the pandemic to ensure a smooth transition for the students to the hybrid model or the continued success of the e-learning platform.

Q: Do you have a plan on how to safely and effectively conduct classes in the spring? What have you learned from the fall semester that you would change in the spring?

A: We are currently devising a plan to bring as many students and staff as possible back to the buildings for in-person learning. Safety guidelines will be at the forefront of the conversations and will be followed to the extent possible. One thing learned from the fall semester is that we do not necessarily need to take the transition into hybrid learning as slow as we have previously.

Q: What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.

A: High school sports should be allowed if they can be conducted safely and under the proposed safety guidelines.

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