John Dryden: Candidate Profile

Batavia Unit District 101 School Board

  • John Dryden, running for Batavia Unit District 101 School Board

    John Dryden, running for Batavia Unit District 101 School Board

Updated 3/10/2015 5:25 PM

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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.

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City: Batavia

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought:

Batavia Unit District 101 School Board

Age: 55

Family: Alena (wife) Madison 29 Dante 25 Hayden 21

Occupation: retired teacher

Education: A.S. Wabaunsee Community College B.A. Northern Illinois University M.S. Northern Illinois University

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Civic involvement: Community Garden

Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.

Questions & Answers

How satisfied are you that your school district is adequately 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?

Batavia School District has done an excellent job preparing students for college, but not so well preparing students for a transition directly to full time employment. I think we can improve the latter by establishing partnerships with local industry and businesses.

What budgetary issues will your district have to confront during the next four years and what measures do you support to address them? If you believe cuts are necessary, be specific about programs and expenses that should be considered for reduction or elimination. On the income side, do you support any tax increases for local schools? Again, be specific.

There is simply no way to predict budgetary needs for the next four years. We don't know what federal or state mandates may come down the road that have to be addressed. I am opposed to any tax increase in principle. If we need to cut expenditures, I would look first to administrative payroll as it would be least likely to negatively impact student learning. I am well aware that Batavia residents are burdened with high tax bills. I am also well aware that this is the biggest concern for many residents.

Are you currently employed by or retired from a school district, if so, which one? Is any member of your direct family - spouse, child or child-in-law - employed by the school district where you are seeking a school board seat?

I retired from Batavia School District last October after 21 years service teaching high school social studies.

As contract talks come up with various school employee groups -- teachers, support staff, etc. -- what posture should the school board take? 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?

We just asked the educators and support staff to make significant concessions in the most recent contracts. When the district was facing a finical crisis a few years ago, the teachers voluntarily made concessions in order to insure that class size didn't continue to increase. It seems reasonable, as we move forward, to tie salaries to CPI except where they are obviously inadequate. The biggest issues facing teachers and support staff are not financial ones, at present, but rather concern climate and working conditions. I expect future negotiations will focus more in that direction than over monetary issues.

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?

That sort of silliness is one of the reasons the state pension system is in the mess it is in. It is short sighted and unnecessary. At the salary we pay our administrators, I should think their pension will be more than adequate.


What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?

The morale of our professional educators is of great concern. I believe we can create a better environment for our teachers and our students. We need to create more collaborative models in which the professional educators are partners with the administration in the process of educating students rather than being dictated to. We need to streamline our administration rather than keep growing it. We need to better address the needs of students who opt out of university. We need to encourage critical thinking among our students by creating curriculum that requires them to practice it. We need to build programs that directly involve students in the community at large in order to encourage citizenship. We need to create a more transparent, accountable system that puts the needs of students before any other need. We need to retain good teachers rather than drive them out of the district. We need to hire teachers who are scholars and academics and not just technicians. we need to hire Administrators who have spent significant time in the classroom and understand the process of education rather than bean counters and data collectors. We need to create evaluative models for all parties that will enhance student learning rather than discourage and demoralize teachers. We need to keep in mind that we are not simply building future workers, but future citizens, and it is our job to expose these young people not simply to technology and STEM, but to that which makes the human condition rich.

Please name one current leader who most inspires you.

Bernie Sanders

What's the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?

keep your word

If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?

I'd learn Latin

What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?

Sorry, I didn't like school much

If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?

have good manners, it will get you through most anything