Manuel A. Figueroa: 2021 candidate for Winfield District 34 school board
Challenger Manuel A. Figueroa, one of four candidates running for three, 4-year terms in Winfield Elementary District 34, responds to the Daily Herald candidate questionnaire for the April 6, 2021, local election.
The candidates are: incumbents Lynne Kammes and Norman Bothwell; and challengers Manuel A. Figueroa and Alisa Wolfe. Bothwell did not respond to the questionnaire.
In-person early voting with paper ballots is now available 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/.
For more election coverage, visit dailyherald.com.
Occupation: Mechanical Engineer Team Lead at INEOS Aromatics (Former BP Petrochemicals) Naperville Research Center.
Civic involvement: Knights of Columbus Winfield, St. John the Baptist Parish Council, former coach baseball Winfield in Action for 2 years, Volunteer Science Olympiads Winfield 34 School 2020, we made it to the state competition for the first time, or in a long time as informed. Unfortunately, the state competition was canceled due to the pandemic.
Q: Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?
A: As father of 3 sons I will like to have the opportunity to put my set of skills to the disposal of the school / board to continue improving the school for the benefit of the community.
Q: How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A: The school board and the school staff has done a great effort to continue providing education to our students during these unprecedented times.
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: In order to confront the pandemic, it is necessary to have diversity of thoughts and perspectives in the leadership team to try to address all the concerns. I can help to give a voice to the constituents and help as I can for the school to continue to provide quality education and in a safe way.
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: The school staff continued to find ways to provide education during the pandemic, and created plans for the return to school following State requirements. I really appreciate the school staff personally delivering materials door to door to ALL the students.
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: Fortunately the number of new COVID cases has been declining significantly. I understand that all or most students prefer going to school, but if that is not possible, I've learned that a balance of remote learning and in school learning helps to reduce the anxiety levels in the students.
Q: What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A: I understand that as long as we follow state guidelines on how to protect the spread of the virus, sports should continue when possible. Our kids need the sports also to reduce the anxiety levels during the pandemic.