Daniel Dale Jr.: 2021 candidate for Community Unit District 300 board
Newcomer Daniel P. Dale Jr. is one of seven candidates vying for three, 4-year seats on the Algonquin-based Community Unit District 300 board in the April 6, 2021 election. The other candidates are incumbents Emmanuel Thomas and David Scarpino, and newcomers Christine Birkett, Holly Jarovsky, Kristina M. Paul and Kim Withycombe.
The Daily Herald asked the candidates several questions on some of the most pressing issues facing the district. Kristina Paul did not respond to the questionnaire.
Below are Dale's responses.
In-person early voting begins March 10 only at the Kane County Clerk's Office, 719 S. Batavia Ave., Bldg. B, in Geneva and the Aurora satellite office, 5 E. Downer Place, Suite F. In-person early voting at locations throughout the county begins March 22. Learn more at www.kanecountyclerk.org/Elections.
Town: West Dundee
Occupation: Director, Partnerships, AmTab Manufacturing Corporation, Bensenville
Civic involvement: Board Community Engagement Committee, 2014-15; assistant coach for Dundee Junior Chargers Football team
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 temporary open position piqued my interest and at that time I decided to run for a 4-year term. My son is a freshman at Jacobs High School and given my 20+ years working with K-12 schools from supplemental software to furniture, I thought my experience would provide a needed/grounded perspective to the board.
Q: How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A: I would give the board a B as navigating COVID from a student and staff safety perspective has been nearly impossible given the lack of involvement at the federal level until Jan. 20. I think the biggest challenges are to come with students' AYP (adequate yearly progress) taking a hit and mental health issues on the rise.
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 think it's important to let science drive policy, at county, state, and federal levels. Constituent opinion is paramount; however, I think political affiliation has led so many down a myopic and unhealthy path. I understand students and parents are struggling, especially with athletics, but again I place a lot of weight on scientific and medical expertise.
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 think the district performed well given the circumstances. I am not a fan of the Zoom platform, but I understand most districts defaulted to that platform given funding concerns. Not many districts handled the transition from face-to-face to eLearning. Having said that, I would suggest students are not given so much leeway on when they can submit past due assignments. Personally, this did not help my son and exacerbated his procrastination. Also, inoculating teachers and support staff was/is a strong move.
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 do not have a "silver bullet" plan for spring. I would suggest increasing the number of days at school and think there is adequate space for more student per classroom. Unfortunately, I think parents are going to continue to have their child(ren) remain in eLearning until they feel comfortable and that might be tied to family members within their pod that have preexisting health issues.
Q: What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A: I think sports should continue and recommend increased testing. Masks during competition is extreme and if increased testing does not work financially or logistically, then more cardio prep before "seasons" start will be required.