Name: Keith Richter
Immediate Family Members: Jason 23; Austin 21; and, Elly 12.
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Office seeking: Board Member, OTHS District 203
Occupation: Whelan Event Services
Previous and current elected offices and terms served: O’Fallon CCSD 90 BOE member, 3 terms from 2000 to 2012; and, OTHS Dist. 203 BOE member, 1 term from 2012 to present.
Why are you running? I am running because the welfare of children and my love for OTHS are my life. Children have always been at the forefront of my life, from my years with the O’Fallon Booster Club, as a Coach and as Athletic Director, as the Athletic Director for the YMCA of S.W. Illinois and as a Programmer for O’Fallon Parks and Recreation Department.
What is the most important issue facing the O’Fallon Township High School District? How would you approach it? The most important issue facing the District, is the same thing t most of the districts in the State are facing. The State of Illinois is not giving priority to education of our children. Unfortunately, the only way that I believe that the crisis in the State will be resolved is term limits and/or complete failure of school districts to get legislatures attention.
Should a school district’s teacher demographics mirror that of its student demographics? The ideal would be for a district’s teacher demographics mirror that of students. However, this is much easier said than done, as the numbers and the competition for employment of these professionals is keen. More often than not these professionals want to back to the type of district they came from or are in such high demand that they are above our pay scale.
How much emphasis should your school district put on STEM education? I believe that STEM education is the future, but what we are seeing in the State is very little emphasis in regular basic education. Many times industry is the answer, however prosperous communities are often overlooked when it comes to programs like this.
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 tax referendums. The reason being this is a small price to pay to benefit our children’s education and our safety. In regards to facility cost, please remember that St. Clair County is a destination county with mall, restaurants, hotels, Sam’s, O’Fallon Family Sports Park, etc. Many visitors will be assisting us in paying down bond debt as well as updating and maintaining a school where the original campus was built in 1958. The monies from this tax is only used to pay down debt and maintenance.
Why should people vote for me? I have dedicated my life to OTHS and it’s students. No one attends more OTHS events than I do. I enjoy watching the progress and changes in students as they progress through Jr. HIgh School and High School and even do my best to follow their progress after they graduate from OTHS. I am an approachable man, always willing talk about issues and assist in resolving problems.
How should the school district approach current budgetary challenges? The district should do everything in its power to avoid making cuts that directly affect students. A reduction of staff in the central office should be the highest priority.