Daniel F. Alaimo: 2021 candidate for Fremont Elementary District 79 school board
Eight candidates are running for four 4-year terms.
Occupation: Police officer
Civic involvement: Coach kids baseball
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: The main reason I am running is to get our children back into school. The social and emotional effects of e learning has been devastating to our students. Our kids need a voice and parents need an advocate. I will work with the other board members to make sure that the Fremont parents are informed. We pay a lot of money in property taxes and our children deserve a high level education and parents deserve to know where their money is going.
Q: How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A: I would grade the current school boards response to the pandemic as a "D." There has been a complete lack of leadership by the Superintendent and current board members. The failure to make decisions and keep parents informed has taken a great tool on our children. There has been no transparency throughout this pandemic. The lack of communication between current board members has been brought to light on several occasions, most specifically the February board meeting.
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 in confronting the pandemic as a school board member will be; making informed decisions that best meet the needs of our students. I am fully prepared to take ownership of any decision I make. I am not afraid to take the hard right over the easy wrong and stand by my decision. To quote Dr. Martin Luther King, "A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus."
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: Fremont teachers and staff have done an unbelievable job during this pandemic. They deserve an immense amount of credit for their ability to improvise, adapt and overcome diversity. They also deserve a school board that has a backbone and stands up for what is right. Our current board has been nonexistent throughout this pandemic. Students on IEP's and 504 plans have suffered while the board blames CDC or Lake County Health Department recommended guidelines as the reason our kids are not back in school. All while other districts have opened to full in-person learning, successfully.
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: School can and should be open to full in-person learning, safely and effectively. With that said, I would also recommend a full e-learning schedule for children who's parents do not wish to send them back to school full time. While I am an advocate for opening schools, I also respect the choices of the parents in our district that wish to keep their children home.
Screening children for symptoms as they enter school, wearing masks, cleaning, proper hygiene and proper ventilation are a few suggestions to keep the risk low.
The numbers show that children are significantly less likely to be infected with COVID than adults. Children are also not super-spreaders. Our solution to COVID in schools has been more damaging to our kids than the actual virus.
Q: What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A: I am 100% for opening up all high school sports. This last 12 months has taken a toll on our children's social and emotional health, not to mention their physical fitness. Our children need and outlet and sports is the best thing for them. Getting to see their friend and participating in a sport that they are passionate about is the first step to returning them to normalcy.