Daniel Alexander Medina: 2021 candidate for Addison Elementary District 4 board
Eight candidates are running for four, 4-year terms on the Addison Elementary District 4 board of trustees in the April 6 election.
They are incumbents Rudy Aranda, Zack Frangidakis and Jeremiah Lange, and challengers Taso Triantafillos, Eduardo Castillo Perez, Daniel Alexander Medina, Ellen M. Finizio and Christen Bollig. Finizio did not respond to the questionnaire.
The Daily Herald asked each candidate about issues facing the district and how they would contribute to its progress.
In-person early voting with paper ballots is now available at the 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/.
Occupation: Fire inspector/firefighter/paramedic, Addison Fire Protection District
Civic involvement: Stone School PTA, Boy Scout of America Explorer Post Adviser
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 am a first-time candidate that is concerned with the direction that the current board is steering the school district. The lack of parent involvement and communication in the decision-making process is a huge concern for the future of our children and their education.
Q: How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A: At the beginning of the school year, their response was dismal to poor. Currently, after some adjustment and "growing pains," we have adapted but it is still not an ideal learning environment.
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: As a board member, it is the duty to come up with a plan of action to safely return back to the classroom. Our teachers are in the process of scheduling their vaccines and once they are vaccinated, a plan to return should be return to in-person learning should be a priority. As a parent, there has been no communication on this front.
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, our school district began as completely remote learning and moved to a hybrid model that allowed for certain children to return to in person learning for two hours a day four times a week on an A/B schedule. Not the most conducive way to learn and quite cumbersome.
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: Our school district has spent significant money on cleaning and disinfecting equipment for all of our schools, limited class sizes, have begun to vaccinate teachers and staff that want to be vaccinated, and other CDC recommendations. It is time to query the parents and get a plan in action to return to in-person learning. We are equipped to hold classes live while still doing remote for those that still feel unsafe to return. Let's follow all the science and not pick and choose.
Q: What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A: As long as we can perform these activities safely and maintain social distancing, children should be able to start up sports programs. Parents should be the ultimate "yes or no" here not the state.