Name: Brett Schuette
Family: His wife April, and son, Bryson.
Office Seeking: O’Fallon School District 203 board member
Occupation: Senior market manager for the American Cancer Society
Previous Offices: I am currently serving on the board.
Why I am running: O’Fallon Township High School has a reputation for being one of the top schools in Illinois. It is my passion that we continue to provide our students the best education possible to prepare them for a successful future. As a parent of an OTHS student, I am a key stakeholder and advocate of this mission. I am also running because this board needs to be comprised of members who are able to work our current financial parameters, as well as navigate us through Illinois’s ongoing fiscally troubling state. I am this candidate.
What is the most important issues facing O’Fallon Township High School? How would you approach it? The most important issue facing our district is the inadequate funding we receive from the State of Illinois. I would continue to approach this issue by analyzing our expenses and comparing them to where we currently stand financially in the calendar year. I would also continue to ask questions to the administration regarding our fiscal state to ensure we forecast less than the previous year while also looking at our five-year projections.
Should a school district’s teacher demographics mirror that of its student demographics? Why or why not? Absolutely. I serve on our school board’s Achievement Gap Committee and I have learned from our teachers, students, and parents that a child is more likely to take an active role with their education if they share similar cultural backgrounds and life experiences with their educators. Diversity within our schools is vital for all students and will lead to a greater sense of community.
How much emphasis should your school district put on STEM education? STEM education is certainly important to our students, especially when you factor in the rate at which our society is advancing technologically. It is equally essential that our curriculum prepare each and every student with the tools they will need to succeed once they have graduated.
In St. Clair County, there will be votes on two sales tax referendums. Do you support either or both? Why or why not? I support both referendums, however I understand if community members are against a tax increase. My personal viewpoint is since the O’Fallon population is growing quickly, it is vital for us to sustain our reputation of providing our students a quality education in a safe environment. Unfortunately, due to the significant financial potholes in the State of Illinois, the fiscal ability to sustain both the educational and safety standards have decreased and needs to be supplemented by the local community.
Why should people vote for me? I am asking for your vote based on three fundamentally key pillars: High Academic Standards: OTHS has a long-standing history of high academic performance. Each vote I cast is aligned with my support to continue this tradition, as well as my passion to see it grow. School Safety: I moved my family to O’Fallon because of its remarkable safety record. Student safety is something I take seriously. This past year when we made reductions to our expenses, I advocated against removing the School resource officer from our schools. While the majority decided to remove the officer, a few months later we were able to successfully reinstate that position. Financial Responsibility: The State of Illinois is troubled financially and schools are receiving inadequate funding. Navigating these waters until the school funding formula is changed will be vital to the financial health of the district. The candidates you elect to fill the vacancies on this board must have strong knowledge of state funding and long-range forecasting. I am that candidate. Board members also must continue to commit themselves to safeguarding our students – especially during these troubling times. I am that candidate.
How should the school district approach current budgetary challenges? Through strategic planning, OTHS has been able to navigate through some fiscally challenging times, more so than many other districts across the state. We must continue to monitor where we stand today with our income and expenses, while knowledgeably preparing our district for its future.