Name: Zach Lewis
Immediate Family members: Wife, Kim, and two sons Jake (11), Oliver (8)
Office seeking:Board of Education Memeber
Previous and current elected offices and terms served:None
Why are you running?I want to be active in my children's education and be able to serve my community. I want them to have/be able to receive the best education by the best teachers.
What is the most important issue facing the Highland Community Unit School District? How would you approach it?Teacher morale is very low. Many don't feel that the administration cares about them and they do not enjoy working in the district. We need to change the hostile environment that exists between the current administration and the teachers. This has to change or we will continue to lose great teachers and will not be able to attract the best new ones. It starts with honest and open discussion. We need to rebuild relationships and trust.
Should a school district’s teacher demographics mirror that of its student demographics? Why or why not?I would say it depends. I am all for diversity. Students should be exposed to different perspectives, cultures and ideas. This helps them learn and grow as people. Now I don't know the demographics of the Highland School teachers or students. I would estimate the percentage of Caucasian students to be in the high nineties. So does that mean all the teachers in Highland should then also be Caucasian? I am an advocate for getting (and keeping) the best teachers we can to teach our students.
How much emphasis should your school district put on STEM education?I believe that science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM is very important. The district should put a heavy emphasis these subjects. The world is only getting more and more technologically advanced and interconnected. These subjects do and will continue to play key roles in the economy and work force. Placing our focus on this education gives our students the best opportunity to develop the tools they need to become successful in school and at the next level of their careers.
Do you support the Madison County sales tax referendum to benefit school facilities? Why or why not?Yes, I do support the sales tax referendum. While I, along with most other tax payers, do not enjoy paying more taxes, this small sales tax increase has the possibility to eventually lower our property taxes. Look, we all know that the State is in horrendous financial shape. Funding is being cut, money that was promised to schools is not coming in on time or in the amounts promised. Schools need money to operate. This means taxes in some form or another. This small one cent tax is a much better alternative to other ways to increase revenue for schools.
Why should people vote for you? I am just a regular guy who cares about his community and his children's education. I want Highland to be a district that teachers in other districts are envious of and where students are provided every opportunity to develop the best skills and tools to make them successful in life. I want Highland to continue to be a place where people stay in or move to, to raise their families.