Marty Lundeen: 2021 candidate for Itasca Elementary District 10 board
Five candidates are vying for four, 4-year terms in the Itasca Elementary District 10 school board in the April 6, 2021, consolidated election. They are incumbents Marty Lundeen, Casey Amayun and Tina O'Neill, and newcomers Gerrie Aulisa and Jessica Shannon.
They responded to a Daily Herald questionnaire seeking their thoughts on some of the most pressing issues facing the district.
Below are Lundeen's responses.
In-person early voting with paper ballots began Feb. 25 at 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 www.dupageco.org/earlyvoting/.
Occupation: Farmer, stay-at-home dad
Civic involvement: Itasca Lions Club (president last year), Itasca Garden Club, Itasca Giving Garden
Q. Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?
A. I am running for my third term. I would like to continue my work with keeping our children and teachers safe while keeping our schools open for in-person learning. Also to follow through on the construction and remodel projects that was funded by passage of our fiscally responsible referendum and to continue my commitment to a balanced budget while supporting our teachers and staff. (Yes, you can do both).
Q. How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A. We weren't as prepared as I think we should have been when the shutdown happened. I'd give us a D then.
This really starts with running a fiscally responsible budget. Our options would have been very limited if we hadn't been responsible my first two terms on the board and if board members before me hadn't started the process of fiscal responsibility.
Teachers and administration worked very hard to make e-learning work. They did the best they could but as board president I didn't yet quite understand how to support them. I then went to work to change that. Myself as board president and Kelly Adreani as board vice president talked with every single teacher to try to learn how to support them during the pandemic. Because of non conventional processes like this and by listening to the data and not emotions, our board was able to see through the clouds and keep our children and teachers safe while keeping our schools open for in-person learning. That has earned us an A. Not an A+, because you can always be better.
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. There was no template to creating an agenda during a pandemic shutdown. Just figuring out how to run our meetings in a way that was legal and open created problems. Good solutions start with a good agenda. Next is open communication.
After setting the agenda, the board president facilitates the open discussion that leads to great solution discovery. Even though I had a wonderful Board, keeping emotions out of our solutions in this very emotional time was difficult. I'm very proud of being able to keep the board focused and on task to make data-driven decisions. The entire board took it from there. We found a way to listen and respond to every resident of D10 who had a question or comment. I created a goal of over communication with our families about our partnership and mutual expectations. Our families and community took it from there.
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. Yes. Under my guidance we handled the relationship with our bus company responsibly and respectfully after the shutdown. Because of this, they were happy to partner with us in delivering food to any student in Itasca who wanted it. With enormous help from many teachers and staff from D10, they took our bus routes and worked with us to tweak them so they could deliver the food.
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. Other than very small and normal tweaks, were are doing just fine. We have even implemented some new curriculum and passed a referendum this year. Thanks to everyone's hard work and supporting each other we aren't just doing fine, we are continuing to improve the district and increase the value our taxpayers get for their investment.
Q. What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A. I trust the high schools to make a responsible decision on this.