Colin Lane: 2021 candidate for Libertyville District 70 board
Seven candidates for four four-year seats
Occupation: Field Clinical Representative, Inspire Medical
Civic involvement: Assistant T-ball coach
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 running for the first time, mostly due to what we have witnessed as parents of two children at Rockland Elementary. As a group we are determined to have our children back in school full time, five days a week. Schools in Libertyville and across the nation have been open full time since the beginning of the year. The fact that our children have missed out on so much is unacceptable in my opinion. The parents in the district were surveyed and an overwhelming majority wanted to go back to school. Yet, that had no bearing in the decisions that have been made up to this point. We are committed to working with the teachers, staff, students, and the D70 community to open the schools in a responsible and safe manner. While giving others who wish to continue to learn from home, that option as well. But, all of our children deserve full time daily instruction from their teachers. Additionally, we need to address the challenges that lie ahead with reintroduction into full time school, those that have fallen behind which test scores have indicated. We have seen a continued downward trend in the spread of COVID-19. We also now have a vaccine that is being distributed to the most vulnerable population, front line workers, health care workers, and our educators. We cannot continue to let our children suffer. The enrollment in our schools is down significantly as well which also impacts the education dollars allocated for our district and our children. As well as increases to our already high taxes and impact on the value of our homes. We specifically moved to Libertyville for the great schools and community that we frequented when trying to decide where to buy a home. I want to make a difference in helping to bring our children back to school, build upon the foundation that has educated this community for years and produced leaders of business, famous musicians, doctors, lawyers, educators, and most importantly ... good people. I'm looking forward to working with the other school board members, teachers, and community to make D70 the best school district possible.
Q. How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A. I would give the current board an incomplete in regards to the pandemic. COVID-19 is very real and we need to continue to be vigilant and measured with our protocols and maintaining proper mitigation, distancing when possible, and masks when appropriate. The science and data show that children, especially our elementary and middle school children can safely and effectively get back to full time in person learning.
I can sympathize with the board members when dealing with these difficult decisions, especially in the beginning of the pandemic. But, we need new leadership that will do everything possible to get our children back ASAP. These children are missing out on so much and suffering academically, emotionally, and socially. We can no longer continue to move the goal posts on reopening.
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. I strongly believe in letting parents make the best decisions possible for their children. Using data, science, input from the medical community and engineers to put in place the plan laid out by Evan, (can we reference here?) Respecting everyone's opinion and hearing them is essential to move forward with a clear plan that works for everyone in the community. I strongly believe that there is always a compromise, those advocating for further remote learning and those that prefer in person can agree that they all want what's best for their children. I'd advocate for livestreaming of classes and working with teachers to make sure that there is equitable time spent with the remote and in-person students.
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 district did not serve the students adequately, it's apparent when other schools in Libertyville were able to hold full time in person school for the entire year. It is obviously not possible to duplicate full day instruction in the hybrid model. While we appreciate some in-person learning, 2.5 hours a day is not sufficient. We don't know and won't know the impact on our children until they are back full time. My wife and I have hired a tutor for our son as he has fallen behind in reading and math. I have heard from numerous parents at the other schools in the district and they had to do the same while watching their kids suffer academically and emotionally during this extremely trying time.
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. Did not respond.
Q. What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A. I also support allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic. Again, the science and data show that sports don't show an increased the spread of COVID-19. Physical activity is extremely important for the physical and emotional well-being of our children. By having a formal plan in place to reduce the risk of transmission, including monitoring for symptoms, temperature checks at home and on site, masks for players and staff off the field, social distancing, increased facility cleaning and staggered arrival and departure times. Those that chose not to participate always have that right. But, that should not also have to impact those that want to continue. Not letting some of these kids participate in sports might significantly impact their futures. Let's not rob the kids from doing things they love when the science does not support it.