Denise K. Wilson: 2021 candidate for District 211 School Board
Nine candidates for three 4-year terms
Hometown: Hoffman Estates
Age: (Did not respond)
Civic involvement: Commissioner on Hoffman Estates Zoning Board; current member of Hoffman Estates Planning and Zoning Commission; Community Representative on Hoffman Estates Park District Administration and Finance Committee; Vice President on Lutheran Day Early Childhood Center board in Chicago
Q. Why are you running for this office? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?
A. As a taxpayer I find it totally unacceptable to increase our property taxes to maintain the quality of education being provided today. District 211 is debt free and in the process of selling property valued over $17 million yet increased our taxes As a board member I will work to provide better education, cut wasteful spending and work to improve student, teacher and parents' relationships. My vision for our School District is, in this COVID environment, to open our school's safety and as quickly as possible, to stop unneeded tax increases and to improve our children's education. To keep
District 211 as an admired place for children to attend, I am committed to rebuilding the relationship between students, parents and teachers that has developed due to the lack of communication of the current board and superintendent.
Q. How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A. Failed both in educational and emotional support for the students of district 211. The current board signed over their responsibility for opening the schools at the beginning and would not readdress the issue even after 2 board members requested it to be reviewed. The current board has failed the students and has only listened to the teachers union. They refused to listen to the parents or taxpayers.
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. This board has not provided any leadership but has hid behind the superintendent, the person they gave all powers to open all the district 211 schools. The school board had the power to take back the control and use input from parents and taxpayers as to their wishes but they did not. The state should never have provided any input at that their level it should have been decisions made at the local levels.
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. No. The educational and emotional fallout for teenagers has been uniquely brutal. Milestone moments have been erased without any consideration for the students. So much of their social lives and social development revolves around being at school and interacting with people. Even now we are not looking at it though the eyes of a teenager, teens were struggling before the pandemic but now the National Institutes of Health estimates that a third of all US teens will experience an anxiety disorder during their youth. This is turning in to a large mental health problem that is going to have life long affects for the children.
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. The question is why the spring? There have been some schools within the state that have been open with partial and full week attendance since the fall, it has been proven that schools can be and should be open. What should have been learned from the fall was that elearning was not working and students need to be in person learning! That education is essential and teaching in person is essential and could have been done just as it has been done in many other schools across this state and this country.
Q. What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A. Sports should have been allowed there is no reason to stop children sports when you allow professional and college level sports.
Q. What other issues need to be addressed?
A. The strictest enforcement of social distancing needs to be stopped. No where else is it so enforced as it is at some schools for the least COVID affected age group. Poor communication between the administration and the parents/students, there has been educational directional changes many times without timely communication or detailed reasons. Taxes need to be reduced not increased as this board has requested, they should have considered the heavy financial affects of the pandemic on our communities.