Fremont District 79 candidates concerned about finances, safety
The candidates for the Fremont School District 79 board consider student safety and the district's finances among their top concerns.
Six people are running for three seats with 4-year terms in the April 2 election: incumbents Michael Jandes, Agnieszka "Aga" Macoch and Gabriela Whipple; and challengers Ronald J. Swartz, Dave Whitson and Ryan Wollberg.
District 79 is based in unincorporated Lake County near Mundelein. Consisting of three schools covering prekindergarten through the eighth grade, it serves more than 2,200 students from Mundelein, Wauconda, Hawthorn Woods, Grayslake, Round Lake, Long Grove, Libertyville and unincorporated areas.
The candidates discussed the top issues facing the district and other matters in questionnaires for the Daily Herald.
Jandes, a Round Lake resident who's been on the board since 2013, said the state's uncertain financial picture is the district's biggest concern.
He said his status as an Illinois Association of School Boards delegate ensures District 79 "will be heard" in Springfield.
Jandes also voiced concern about students' emotional well-being.
Macoch, a Round Lake resident who was elected to the board in 2017, cited the need for student achievement as a primary concern. She said the implementation of a personalized learning program is an important way to ensure student growth.
The board also must continue a three-year facilities renovation plan while maintaining a balanced budget, Macoch said.
Swartz, a Grayslake resident, identified student achievement as a concern, too. He said educators must "design and implement innovative and creative experiences to support child development."
Facility renovations also is among his top issues, Swartz said.
Whipple, a Hawthorn Woods resident who joined the board in 2014, said student safety and building security are key issues.
She said the board has conducted two security audits during her tenure and has implemented improvements based on those findings.
"We need to continue to be on the forefront of school security and ensure that students and personnel in our schools are physically safe and prepared for emergencies," Whipple said.
Whipple also said being fiscally responsible and communicating with the community are top concerns.
Wollberg, a Wauconda resident who's the principal at Woodland Elementary School West in Gages Lake, said his top priority is keeping the district financially sound "while keeping in mind what is best for the students."
Whitson, a Wauconda resident who's a teacher and coach at Mundelein High School, said he was unaware of any major issues facing the district.