James A. Stombres: 2021 candidate for District 303 School Board
Five candidates are running for four seats on the St. Charles District 303 School Board in the April 6, 2021, election.
City: St. Charles
Occupation: Retired teacher; Currently adjunct professor, Wheaton College
Civic Involvement: Trumpeter for Military Funerals in St. Charles
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 want to give back to the community and D303, as well as support the students, teachers and staff of the St. Charles Schools
Q: How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A: I believe they have done a good job. They have listened to the experts and followed the science while trying to be sensitive to community concerns.
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: I would listen to the experts and follow the science as the current board has done. Safety is the most important issue and must be the central focus, even if it is unpopular. Constituents are certainly free to express their opinions, but safety should not be compromised and the science should not be ignored.
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: I believe the district and their teachers did an excellent job making adjustments to serve the students. The teachers have transformed their homes into remote classrooms and spent countless hours planning and preparing to deliver instruction in a safe way. I know students are learning from positive feedback I have received from parents.
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: I believe that the hybrid model, with the option for full remote is a safe and effective way to move forward in the Spring. Although none of this is ideal, it is the best option to keep students and staff safe. As more teachers and staff get vaccinated, it would be appropriate to look at additional in person learning as our positivity rates continue to drop.
Q: What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A: Suspending high school sports during the pandemic was difficult and painful, but it was the right call to keep our athletes safe. Not being able to see my grandchildren was also difficult and painful, but it was the right thing to do given the situation. Most every club, activity and musical organization has had to make concessions and sacrifices during these times.