Candidate profile: Gregory Guenther

Name: Gregory L. Guenther

Age: 62

Family members: Nancy Guenther, Spouse. Michael Guenther, Son. Kara Monfre, Daughter.

Town: Belleville

Office seeking: MCUSD 19 Board of Education

Occupation: Farmer / Consultant

Previous and current elected offices and terms served: MCUSD Board of Education I have served 4 terms.

Why are you running? I have served the Board for 16 years. During that time, I have never missed a meeting. I fully understand the role of the Board, how it should function, and where its role is in relationship to the administration, staff and faculty. My children attended Mascoutah schools and now my grandchildren are attending school in the district. The education they received and continue to receive will make them responsible and desirable contributors to any employer and society in general. I want to do all that I can to continue the strong education system that exists in our community for all students. My personal goal for our district is to provide the best possible educational experience for all students consistent with available resources.

What is the most important issue facing the Mascoutah School District? How would you approach it? While we all face numerous challenges in education the one that stands out to me for our district is maintaining the level of services we have been able to provide in the current political and fiscal reality that we find ourselves in. Working cooperatively with the Community, the Administration and Union we can, together, find ways to mitigate the financial and regulatory challenges that we face together and continue to provide the quality educational experience that our community and students have come to expect from our district.

Should a school district’s teacher demographics mirror that of its student demographics? Why or why not? Diversity on staff and in the student body is always desirable and adds depth to the educational experience. In our district we strive to reach that diversity at every opportunity. That said however the overriding criteria for hiring staff is to select the best qualified people for each position. I fully support this methodology for hiring.

How much emphasis should your school district put on STEM education? STEM is the new buzzword in education. If you believe what you read the U.S. has been falling behind the rest of the world in these important areas of education. With our close association with SAFB and our proximity to St. Louis and the high tech companies there, STEM is a growing part of our curriculum. I think that it deserves as much emphasis as we can afford to allocate to it while maintaining the high standards in all areas of education.

In St. Clair County, there will be votes for two sales tax referendums. One would benefit school facility costs, one would benefit public safety. Do you support either or both of the referendums? Why or why not? School districts across the state are hurting financially from the unwillingness of the State to fully fund their share of public education. This void has to be filled somehow until our State Government has the political will to fulfill their obligations. The 1 cent referendum for school facilities will greatly aid all the districts in the state and allow for at least some property tax relief in the process. I prefer a sales tax over a property tax because it is a consumer tax. People make a choice every time they make an eligible purchase. MCUSD 19 is experiencing steady growth, about 85 students per year with another 100 expected next school year. We have to have enough classroom and core area facilities to support this growth. The sales tax will go a long way towards helping to provide facilities to support this growth.

I am ambiguous on the public safety tax.

Why should people vote for you? I continue to be willing to serve our community by serving on this Board. I currently serve as President of the Board and have an intimate knowledge of all of the challenges and opportunities facing our district. I have been instrumental in several areas that have had a positive impact on our district. I have a proven record of working with the administration and other board members to resolve issues and move the district forward. I continue to work hard to maintain the outstanding level of educational experience given to our students to prepare them to be contributing members of society.