O'Fallon Progress

Candidate profile: Stephen A. Dirnbeck

Stephen A. Dirnbeck
Stephen A. Dirnbeck

Name: Stephen A. Dirnbeck

Age: 64

Family: His wife is Kay.

Town: O’Fallon

Office Seeking: O’Fallon School District 203 Board of Education member

Occupation: Retired.

Previous Offices: I am currently serving my first term on the board.

Why I am running: When I retired from 34 years as teacher/administrator, I still felt I could contribute to my community. I felt that I could do this best as a member of the Board of Education.

What is the most important issues facing O’Fallon Township High School? How would you approach it? Our most important issue is budget. The state has shorted us several million dollars over the past eight years. Cuts must be made, but we are trying our best to do this and keep students first.

Should a school district’s teacher demographics mirror that of its student demographics? Why or why not? Demographics should not be the first priority in hiring teachers. The most qualified and talented teacher is best for our students.

How much emphasis should your school district put on STEM education? We should continue to educate the whole student through a rigorous curriculum with quality electives. STEM education is part of that but not all public school students will become engineers or work with computers. Having technology skills is important, but the education of the whole student will allow the student to choose a career that interests him/her and will create a lifelong learner.

In St. Clair County, there will be votes on two sales tax referendums. Do you support either or both? Why or why not? I am in support of both sales taxes. Public safety is paramount for good communities as it is for good schools. The school sales tax will allow us to continue to maintain our facilities and to provide much needed tax relief to our citizens.

Why should people vote for me? I spent my professional career of 34 years in education; twenty-five as teacher, and the last nine, as a school administrator. My last five as principal at O’Fallon Township High School. I live in O’Fallon. I care deeply about the school and the students. It has been the best high school in Southern Illinois for decades and I want to do my part to make sure it stays the best high school around.

How should the school district approach current budgetary challenges? Every dollar that we have is needed to continue to provide the best education for our students possible. Any cuts must be examined carefully as to how that might affect student performance. That is why we anguish so much when any cuts must be made. That is why we had several hundred people attend our last board meeting when proposed cuts to swimming and lacrosse were proposed. Those cuts would affect about 120 students. That is why I oppose them. We will figure some other way to cut those dollars from our budget, how is yet to be determined.