Candidate Profile: Tanja Cook Sedabres

Candidate Tanja Cook Sedabres
Candidate Tanja Cook Sedabres

Name: Tanja Cook Sedabres

Age: 44

Immediate Family Members: Husband, Christopher Sedabres, Daughter, Grace Sedabres, and Son, William Sedabres

Town:Granite City

Office seeking: Board Member, Granite City District 9.

Occupation: Attorney, Partner with Lueders, Robertson and Konzen, LLC and Assistant City Attorney, City of Granite City

Previous and current elected offices and terms served: None

Why are you running? I am running to become a member of the District 9 School Board because I know how important our school system is to our community and its continued growth. As a mother with two children who have been a part of the district 9 school system since kindergarten, I have had the privilege of watching teachers and faculty go above and beyond time and again to ensure that my children not only receive a great education but truly love to learn, while still fostering their love of music and the arts. As a business owner in Granite City, I know how important a great school system is to the success and continued growth of our community. Unfortunately, just like almost all other Illinois districts, we have begun to face challenges, both social and financial. The school board must be prepared to make decisions that not only address the financial needs of our district, both short term and long term, but also continue to provide the best educational opportunities for our students. I believe that my love and commitment to our community, combined with my background and experiences will allow me to be a board member who is able to look at the challenges our district is facing in a new light, assisting our board in finding the right long term solutions for these new challenges.

What is the most important issue facing the Granite City Community Unit School District? How would you approach it? I believe that the financial stress on our district due to the failure of the state to meet their promised obligations is the most pressing issue that must be addressed. As a district, we cannot loose sight of the long term effects of decisions in lieu of short term gains. It is time to actively seek new ways to address financial support for our school system. During my career, I have had the honor of working with several boards and charities and that experience has taught me the value of thinking outside the box for solutions to problems instead of falling back on the way it has always been done.

Should a school district’s teacher demographics mirror that of its student demographics? Granite City is fortunate to have a diverse student population. That diversity enhances the educational experiences of our students as they enter a college or work place with diverse demographics. As a member of the school board, I would look further into the issue of diversity in our classrooms.

How much emphasis should your school district put on STEM education? I whole heartedly endorse STEM education. As a district, we need to make sure that our students have every opportunity available to them and are able to compete with students from any other district in the country. A good STEM program enhances each student’s education.

Do you support the Madison County sales tax referendum to benefit school facilities? Why or why not? I am in support of the sales tax referendum. This referendum would give the district the opportunity to gamer funds for facility upgrades and possibly allow for a real estate tax abatement for Granite City homeowners in the future.

Why should people vote for you? Having grown up in Granite City, I came back home after law school because I knew it was where I wanted to have my career and raise a family. I am proud to have a business which is thriving in downtown Granite City, a home in this community, and children who are in the district 9 school system as 6th and 9th graders. I am deeply vested personally and professionally in the success of our community. Our school system is an integral part of that success. I believe I can use my background and past experiences to bring to the board a new perspective that would help the district move forward in securing our future through exploring new and innovative funding opportunities and curriculum; keeping Granite City at the forefront of education in our county.