For all candidates:
- Why are you running for the board?
Because I love the Village of Fall Creek, its people, the whole environment, and I think I can make a good difference here if given the chance. While I lost the primary for the school board, I can still be a write-in candidate, and I’m still on the ballot for the village. I think there’s a chance to really make a difference!
- What areas for improvement do you see in any areas under the board’s purview?
Both Boards: Video recording and publishing of the meetings and their related info packets and implementing my “Take a Break Act”.
Village Board: I’d like to scour the ordinances with a fine-toothed comb and take out all the stuff that doesn’t make sense, and the stuff that’s getting in the way of the Village being more prosperous. Also, while debt is considered normal for most municipalities, I’ve never been a fan of it. It’s essentially giving money away to your borrowers. While sometimes necessary when we’re in dire need of fixes/upgrades, I’d like to see the Village put a ten-year plan in place to get out of debt, and to plan and budget for future expansion, rather than let us dip into the hole again.
School Board: I’d like academic curriculum to be an open discussion at regular board meetings, rather than shunted behind closed doors to committees. I’d like the budget reworked to handle facility maintenance and other required operating expenses first, and then move right to direct teacher needs before even considering the expansion of new purchases or equipment. Our teachers and students shouldn’t have to beg for money from the community to educate and be educated.
- Presumably if someone is on a board, or wants to be on one, it’s because they want to make a positive impact on the community. What’s the biggest positive impact that you would like to see?
I’d like the community to be able to both have pride in itself AND be able to take constructive criticism that’s conducive towards improvement and growth, without that pride getting hurt, or turning defensive. I don’t see these two things as mutually exclusive. I don’t think that pointing out areas for improvement should hurt our pride or make people enemies. We should be able to have civil discussions and disagreements about important topics without taking personal offense. I hope to be able to show that by putting my ideas as well up on the chopping block.
For those not currently on the board, but seeking to get on it:
- What plans do you have to affect change, and why are these changes needed?
Increase governmental transparency, communication, and accountability. They are necessary because our local boards so far have adopted largely a “pull” mentality that expects their citizens to come to them if they want to know anything. I believe in a “push” mentality that advertises out loud everything that the local government is doing. Government should attempt to be always completely transparent and communicative wherever possible.
- To run for this position, you must believe that a change needs to be made and are working to replace at least one sitting board member. What makes you a better candidate for the position than the current sitting board members that are running to maintain their seats?
I have a unique and different way of looking at the world from most other people. Late into my adult life, I was diagnosed with high-functioning autism, and it made a lot of sense to all the problems I was having with connecting with people on an individual level. I just think differently. I think this is a HUGE benefit, as it lets me look at situations and issues from a variety of different angles that might not occur to others or might seem outlandish and ridiculous to others. However, sometimes those “unusual” ideas and out of the box thinking are just what’s needed to affect positive change.
- How many board meetings have you attended in the last year? If none, why not? If you have attended meetings, what questions have you asked and/or what input have you provided to the sitting board?
I’ve attempted to attend every school and village board meeting that I could, and I’ve recorded them and posted them on my website for everyone to see. I’ve asked multiple questions at village board meetings to offer different perspectives or to support citizens that had concerns. The school board, I have not spoken in front of, as I needed to learn a bit more about how it works, since it appeared to be much more “un-debated”. If you look at the village board meetings, you’ll see many more civil disagreements and discussions, which I see as a good sign of a thriving collection of leaders that have differing viewpoints. If you look at the school board meetings, you’ll see a lot of “business as usual”, with the board going through the motions and just voting “yes” to everything with VERY little, if any, discussion or debate. That to me seems like five followers and one leader, rather than six leaders.
- What have you done as a private citizen thus far to attempt to improve this community?
I’ve provided the video recording service I mentioned earlier. Beyond that, I’ve tried to collect as much information and data that I could and publicize it, such as information packets for the board meetings, so that everyone can see what’s going on. I’ve also personally donated a little over $3500 to help fund 19 projects from 12 different educators for the Fall Creek School District over the past three years because I want our great teachers to have all the resources they feel they need to excel at teaching our kids! However, our teachers still need even more funding, as there’s still constant continuing requests coming in, as well as a very full Amazon Wish List that has yet to be tackled.