Candidate profile: John Caupert

Name: John Caupert

Age: 49

Immediate family members: Wife: Jodee, Daughter: Jaynanne, 6th grade at Waterloo Jr. High School

Town: Waterloo

Office seeking: Waterloo Community Unit School District #5 Board of Education

Occupation: Executive Director, National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center

Previous and current elected offices and terms served: Waterloo Community Unit School District #5 Board of Education

Why are you running? I am running because my day-to-day priorities are the 2,900 students of Waterloo Community School District. As the parent of an only child, with every vote I take, I multiply my daughter by a factor of 2,900. With every vote I cast, I see my daughter’s face 2,900 times. With every vote I cast, I do it on behalf of every single one of those 2,900 students. I’m also running because of the outstanding residents of Waterloo and all the incredible people who reside within the Waterloo School District. The property owners of the Waterloo School District pay nearly 80 percent of the tax burden. Because of my working experience in managing budgets, I feel indebted to the residents of Waterloo School District to be fiscally responsible with their money. In the four years I have been on the board, I can tell you without hesitation, we have been fiscally responsible to the taxpayer. It is critically important to the community for that to continue, and that is why I seek re-election. Perhaps a more personal reason why I am seeking re-election is my passion and love for the students, teachers, administrators and staff of the Waterloo School District. As a school district, we have experienced unspeakable tragedy this past year. Tragedy that impacted our entire community. The thing that impresses me the most about the community of Waterloo is how we bond together during times of tragedy. During times of tragedy, we bond together as a family of Waterloo Bulldogs. I find the personal connection to the school district and the community as a driving force in my seeking re-election.

What is the most important issue facing the Waterloo Community Unit School District? How would you approach it? I am so proud of our accomplishments as a Board of Education over these past four years. We are an open, transparent board. We are a fiscally responsible board. We are a board that welcomes disagreement of opinion, always done in a respectful manner. We are a board that places students first. All that being said, we are not free from challenges. Not many people are comfortable discussing fiscal issues, yet the fiscal issues are very real. The property owners of the Waterloo School District already pay 80 percent of our tax burden, yet as a Board of Education, we have maintained the lowest property tax rate of any of the three school districts in Monroe County. I think it is critically important for the community to be fully engaged with the fiscal challenges, which face all of public education. Yet at the same time, I’m extremely proud of the fact that the dollar value of the education children receive at Waterloo is second to none. Managing budgets during time of fiscal uncertainty is a very real challenge, and it is a challenge that requires documented experience in dealing with budgets utilizing public (taxpayer) funds. I continue to be the only candidate who makes a living working with those types of budgets on a daily basis. I will continue to be as diligent in our pursuit of fiscal responsibility, as I have been my past four years on the Waterloo Board of Education.

Should a school district’s teacher demographics mirror that of its student demographics? Why or why not? Waterloo Community Unit School District #5, in my opinion, is hands down the best school district to be associated with or teaching in in the entire state of Illinois and all surrounding states. Regardless of what some choose to believe, there are many school districts surrounding Waterloo where teachers are compensated substantially more than Waterloo. Yet Waterloo is the school district where teachers want to be. Why? Because we place so much value in the quality of education offered at Waterloo, through the absolute best teachers in the state. Yes, our teachers, in my opinion, do mirror the demographics of our student population. We are proud of our heritage, we are proud of our values, we are proud of our way of life, we are proud of our quality of education, our students deserve that, and our teachers offer that.

How much emphasis should your school district put on STEM education? The fact that I am the executive director of a non-profit, bioindustrial research center that focuses on technology commercialization, workforce training and education, I feel very passionate about STEM education. Every single day, in the workplace, I see “Scientific” discoveries. Every single day in the workplace, I see new “Technologies” brought to market. Every single day in the workplace, “Engineers” are needed more than ever, in particular in the growing field of chemical engineering. Every single day, in the workplace, we utilize our “Math” skills to conduct the highest quality data analysis. The bioeconomy is real, the bioeconomy is here, tomorrow’s workforce will be in the bioeconomy, and the bioeconomy is driven by employees with strong academic backgrounds in STEM education. I don’t believe we should be satisfied with the status quo in STEM education. I believe we should be seeking ways to expand our educational and student training opportunities in STEM education.

Why should people vote for you? The great citizens of Waterloo School District should vote for John Caupert on Tuesday April 4, 2017 because you will not find a candidate more passionate about Waterloo School District than me. I’m extremely proud of my passion for our school district, our student body, our teachers, our administrators and our staff. I am the candidate with the experience in managing budgets made from primarily public funds. I am the candidate that helped secure a nearly $15 million capital grant. I am the candidate who helped to hire the best school district superintendent in all of Southwestern Illinois. I am the candidate who worked directly with our Teachers Association in negotiating a mutually agreed upon contract without those contract negotiations going before arbitration. I am the candidate who will stand up and fight, every fight along the way, for the best interest of Waterloo School District. Every morning when I rise, the four things that first go through my mind, are my love of God, my love of Country, my love of family and my love for the great community of Waterloo. If I am fortunate enough to be re-elected by the citizens of Waterloo School District, I will continue to be the tireless public servant I have been these past fours years. Never for a single second will I take them or their concerns for granted. Those who know me well know John Caupert is their voice on the Waterloo Board of Education. If fortunate enough to be re-elected, I will continue to be every one citizen’s voice on the Board of Education. There is no question I won’t try to answer. There is no concern I am unwilling to hear. There is no issue I am unwilling to bring before the Board of Education. I never waiver in my gratitude and respect for the citizens of the Waterloo School District, and I never will. I’m always available, which is why I am the candidate who from day one has made my contact information publicly available to all.