Mark Hineman, 2021 candidate for Northwest Community High School District 214 school board
Eight candidates for four seats
City: Mount Prospect
Occupation: Metallurgical engineer at Engineering Systems Inc.
Civic involvement: Active in ASM (American Society for Metal) Chapter as treasurer and mentor for its annual Materials Camp for high school juniors and seniors. YMCA swim coach. Park district youth baseball and softball coach. YMCA board member.
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 running in order to continually improve the student-focused, excellence-based school district that D214 has become. I am motivated by how we give students and families such a broad range of choices. Students are given so many opportunities in extracurriculars (sports and clubs) and pathways (to college or certifications for jobs) and experiences outside of school (internships). And in this time of COVID, I believe we have to return students to school safely and give families the choice of being in-person or learning remotely, if circumstances do not allow for safe in-person learning.
Q: How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A: If we had been allowed to use our original plan that went out in early July (I think), it would have been an A. But there were governmental agencies that made it impossible to continue with that plan. It was too bad that we had to do an about-face and start over with a different plan. The plan fit into our safe return to school needs and we constantly discuss where we are and where we are going with getting students safely back to school.
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: We (the Board) and I as a member listen to opposing views even when based on inaccurate or incomplete information. But listening and agreeing are different things. I have read every email that has been sent to me, but generally let the response be from the president, so that the response is a single voice from the board. We do not defer to state authorities without thorough review of the science that is or is not behind their guidance. We also respectfully listen to the staff and unions to insure we are viewing the issue from all perspectives.
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: "Adequately served" is an interesting phrase. I feel we adequately served as safely as we were allowed. There are some students that did not respond well to remote learning. And there were other students that did not just respond but took to remote learning with renewed vigor and enthusiasm. Our community is vast and diverse. It is difficult to give it a generalization.
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: No we do not have 'a' plan. We have several plans that are subject to factors that are not within our control. My hope is for more students to be attending school safely and in-person. We still want to provide families with a choice of remote learning or in-person.
Q: What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A: It has been tough for the IHSA to safely provide sporting events in a safe manner. And though some sports are similar, there is a broad range from golf and fencing to wrestling and football, with so many others in between. I feel the IHSA has done a reasonable job of considering all of the sports and providing safe guidelines. there are also factors involving spectators and there are outdoor and indoor venues that require different rules.