Robert Larry Cabeen: 2023 candidate for Geneva Unit District 304 board, 4-year term


Town: Geneva

Age on Election Day: 77

Occupation: Retired airline pilot

Employer: UAL

Previous offices held: Geneva Unit District 304 board since 2019. Several community boards. For example, Baker Memorial Church, Elgin Master Choral, Willowgate HOA.


Q: Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?

A: The most important issue for me is to have a smooth transition of the new superintendent and develop a good working relationship with the board. Also, we can improve the clarity of the board's actions.

Q: What is the role of the school board in setting and monitoring curriculum?

A: New curriculum is proposed by the administration. The school board approves all curriculum.

Q: Are there curriculum issues within the district that you feel need particular attention from the board?

A: I believe the curriculum is just where it should be. In general, most people's comments on our curriculum are very positive.

Q: How do you view your role in confronting policy or curriculum controversies: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents - even ones with whom you disagree, or defer to state authorities?

A: Public comments to the board at meetings allow citizens to express their feelings about the Geneva curriculum. In addition, letters can be written with detailed suggestions and possible improvements.

The administration will evaluate proposals and develop new curriculum for board evaluation. Of course, these conversations should always be respectful of all participants.

Q: Concerns are growing regarding a new resurgence of the pandemic. If another massive outbreak of infectious disease occurs, what have we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic that will guide your decision making?

A: In the past three years, we have all learned a great deal about COVID. Known tools, such as vaccines, antivirals and public awareness, make us more resistant to a new pandemic. I trust scientists to provide the best guidance in dealing with any medical emergency.

Q: Describe your experience working in a group setting to determine policy. What is your style in such a setting to reach agreement and manage school district policy? Explain how you think that will be effective in producing effective actions and decisions of your school board.

A: I have worked on numerous boards. I am a good listener, collaborative, open minded, and a team builder in my working style. I have had a very positive experience with current and former board members. I believe the decisions by a group of people working together are better than any single individual's opinion and can more fully represent the community.

Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?

A: Four years experience on the 304 board. Currently, serving as vice president and strong working relationships with all parties. I have an understanding of the work that still needs to be done to make Geneva 304 the best possible school system.

Q: What's one good idea you have to better your district that no one is talking about yet?

A: Install solar panels at the bus barn parking facility to provide power and save tax payer dollars.

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