James Weidman: Grayslake District 46 Board Candidate
James Weidman is among five candidates running for four spots on the District 46 board.
Name: James Weidman
Family: Wife – Karin, Children – Katelynn, Jayson and Tyler.
Education: B.A from Southern Illinois University in Fire Science Management
Occupation: Battalion Chief at the Grayslake Fire Protection District
Previous Elected or Appointed Offices: None
Other community involvement: AYSO, Troop Care Package Drives
Position sought: District 46 Board of Education Member
Campaign E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Campaign Website: D46focusoneducation.com
Campaign Facebook: D46focusoneducation
Campaign Twitter: N/A
Why are you running?
I chose to run because the current state of affairs of the current board has become unproductive. I believe the current board has lost sight of their mission of providing a quality education to the children of the district.
In what ways would the District 46 board benefit from your service?
I hope to provide leadership to the new board. The board needs to be led in a new direction where politics play no role and the best interests of the students, teachers, and taxpayers are all considered.
What do you think should be done about the district's projected deficit? What areas should be targeted for potential budget cuts?
The district's projected deficit is going to handcuff the new board for years to come. With only 5-7 percent of the budget not contractually accounted for in salaries, transportation, bond repayment, and other required spending, there is not much left to cut. They are already looking at eliminating 15-20 positions within the district, which will result in larger class sizes, and potentially a lower educational experience for the students.
What do you think about the possibility of closing a school as a potential cost-saving measure?
I do not like the potential of closing a school just to save costs, I would rather have the need to close a school based on declining enrollment. We are already talking about increasing class sizes due to the current budget deficit, adding even more children would further undermine the education of of the students.
How do you feel about the way the teacher's contract and strike were handled? Is there anything you would have done differently?
I was not a big fan of the way the strike was handled, but it is done and over with and it is time to move forward. The new board will have to pick up negotiations with the teachers union early in their new tenure. I would hope that we can start with a fresh slate, bring new ideas to the table and repair the relationship with the teacher's union and community. The strike pitted the community against the school board and the teachers and that benefits nobody.
What will you do to ensure there is more unity amongst school board members?
Everyone will have ideas on how to move the board, and district forward. Everyone's ideas deserve to be listened to and considered. Open, civil discussion at meetings is a must to accomplish the goals of the district. I may not agree with everything everyone may say, but I am open to consideration of new ideas that will benefit the community.
What else do you want voters to know?
If voted into the position of school board member, I will work hard to provide a positive image to the district. I may not make decisions that everyone believes are correct, but please know I am making decisions based on the information presented, training and over time experience.