Karl Borchers: 2021 candidate for Hawthorn Dist. 73 school board
Four candidates seek the three seats on the Hawthorn District 73 school board in the April 6, 2021, election. Alma Miranda did not respond to the Daily Herald questionnaire.
City: Vernon Hills
Occupation: Human Resources
Civic involvement: Foresters Career Mentoring Program (Lake Forest College), Family and Friends of Hawthorn 73 (in support of the 2018 referendum), Residents Supporting a Successful Redevelopment of Hawthorn Mall (to advocate for financial considerations for our public services in the discussions on establishing at TIF)
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'm invested in the future of our schools and community, and being a member of the board is an opportunity to collaborate with fellow board members, the administration, and the community to provide the best opportunities for all our children. As a parent of three young children (with our oldest just starting in the district this fall), I recognize that the focus of the board is not just on assessing and addressing the issues and challenges of today but on also setting the right direction and making decisions across multiple aspects of the district with long-term implications. I sincerely want to help with the issues of today and direction for tomorrow and believe I can do this best as a member of the board. My candidacy is not driven by a single issue or just the challenges we face today. I'm focused on where we are now, where we want our district to be and how to shape and support the plans and decisions so that Hawthorn D73 continues to fulfill its mission.
Q: How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A: I believe in order to grade the board, standards and methods of measurement need to be well established, which is not the case with the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no precedent for what we, as individuals, as a community, and our school district and board have had to face this past year. However, I appreciate that they have assessed the known and verified information on how to support our district at each juncture and have not tried to make decisions outside their scope and instead have looked to the experts (such as our public health departments) for guidance.
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: The role of a board member is all of these. Leadership in shaping and setting expectations for how our school administration meets the challenge of the pandemic. Ensuring all perspectives are considered, representing all constituents in the district and their interests is part of the IASB code of conduct so, as challenging as it can be, it is absolutely an expectation of anyone who has the opportunity to serve on the board. As for deferring to state authorities, I believe that it is the board's role to help the administration best implement policies and legislation.
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: Yes they have and continue to do so. While not unique, District 73's use of technology, both to engage students in synchronous and asynchronous learning has been a benefit and a service that we as a community should not assume is easy to provide. The district's initiatives to ensure and expand affordable internet access to our students regardless of their family's income situation is a good example of how they have adapted to challenges the pandemic and remote learning have created.
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 because it is not the board's role to develop plans on how the district operates but to empower the administration to present the board with options and their recommendation.
Q: What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A: I do not have a position as a candidate for Hawthorn District 73 School board as our student population does not include high school.