Paul Wedemann: Candidate profile
Name: Paul Wedemann
Office sought: School Board Member for Fenton High School District 100
Family: wife, two children
Occupation: International Logistics
Education: Four year college, Bachelor of Science
Previous elected offices held: School Board President for Fenton High School District 100
Incumbent? If yes, when were you first elected? Yes, April, 2015
What are the most important issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them?
In my tenure as Board member and president of the Board, I believe that increasing student achievement and maintaining fiscal integrity are the two most important issues. And I am happy to report that Fenton is moving in the right direction. We have a balance budget, improved our facilities, expanded our student programming, earned a Commendable Grade from the Illinois State Board of Education, and increased both our Graduation rate and 9th Grade on Track to 94% and 90% respectively. In addition, the College Board named Fenton High School a member of the Advanced Placement District Honor Roll. Only 22 schools in Illinois received this recognition. I am also passionate about the safety and security of our students. We have replaced entrance doors, increased our cameras, increased the visibility of Security Resource Officer, and our staff have been recently trained in ALICE.
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?
I believe Fenton is making significant strides in preparing students for into college, work, and life. Besides, being named Advanced Placement District Honor Roll, Commendable Grade by the Illinois State Board of Education, and increase in graduation and 9th grade on track, Fenton students are achieving in the classrooms, sport fieldS, auditoriums, and stages. 85% of 2017 graduates continue their education at postsecondary institutions, 1.7% attend a trade school or apprenticeship, 2.2% join the military, 6.6% begin working, and 3% are undecided. In 2019, 31 students were named Illinois State Scholars and competed at the IHSA State competitions. Fenton offers 24 Advanced Placement classes, 24 extracurricular clubs and activities, and 16 varsity sports for male and female students. Our technology for our students and staff improves year after year. During my tenure as a board member, we have improved the facilities by undergoing a major building renovation project, which modernized and beautified our school. We created a three-year Strategic Plan for our district that will guide our district until 2021. In addition, we started new initiatives and projects like LEAP Innovations, Portrait of a Graduate, Social Emotional Learning, Career Pathways, Equal Opportunity School and EOS Equity Labs, Social Emotional Learning, Professional Learning Communities, 1:1 initiative, and Food for Families.
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? Be specific.
Fiscal integrity is of paramount importance. Fenton High School has a balanced budget. We are not planning to cut any student programming. We have successfully negotiated three contracts this years, and all of the contracts are three year in duration. I do not support any referendum that would increase taxes.
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?
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?
The school district should continue to seek the most qualified employees for the benefit of the students of District 100 by offering salary and benefit incentives that are competitive.
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?
No, I do not support it. This practice is not a good practice.