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School Board Candidates Discuss Budget Cuts, Classroom Sizes

Four of the six candidates seeking election to the District 300 School Board attended a forum last week presented by employee union groups.

School board candidates discussed budget cuts, staffing and classroom sizes at a District 300 school board candidate forum March 15 at Dundee-Crown High School.

Four of the six candidates seeking seats on the school board answered questions from Dundee-Crown students and moderator Bruce Taylor, a social studies teacher and union school representative at Dundee-Crown.

The forum was presented by the three employee unions associated with District 300: the teachers’ union, LEAD-300; the secretaries and custodians’ union, DESPA; and the paraprofessionals’ union, DESA.

About 35 people attended the event including students, teachers and union members.

Four Seats Up For Election

Four District 300 School Board seats are up for re-election on April 5.

Candidates in attendance were current board members Karen Plaza and Chris Stanton as well as challengers Steve Fiorentino and Susie Kopacz, a former board member from 2003 to 2007.

Current Board President Joe Stevens was unable to attend, due to business obligations. And board member Monica Clark canceled at the last-minute due to a family member’s illness, Taylor said.

Social studies students asked the candidates a variety of questions regarding staffing for the music department, future elective courses, teachers’ tenure program, the impact of the state’s budget cuts on the district and how to decrease classroom sizes.

“If a school is not meeting AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress defined by the No Challenge Left Behind Act), doesn’t it make sense to give that school more money?” Senior Nick Hartland asked the candidates. “If a school continues to not meet the AYP, do you feel the teachers should be observed and mentored?”

Most candidates supported additional mentoring and explained the district has a formula that determines how much money is allocated to each school.

“The funding is based on the number of students per school,” Stanton explained. “High schools get more money per student than elementary schools. There’s a formula, and that formula is adjusted every year.”

For more on District 300 candidates up for election this year, visit our Lake in the Hills Patch article. For more on election coverage, visit Lake in the Hill Patch's election tab at http://lakeinthehills.patch.com/elections.

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