Candidate Profile: Steve Palen

What you need to know about the April 2019 election

The 2019 municipal election is April 2. Here are some key dates and times you need to know if you're planning to vote.
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The 2019 municipal election is April 2. Here are some key dates and times you need to know if you're planning to vote.

Name: Steve Palen

Age: 48

Town: Wood River

Occupation: Public Works Director

Position Seeking: Roxana School Board

Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I believe I am someone who is willing to fight for what he believes and for what is best for the kids and tax payers of the Roxana School District. I am also willing to do the necessary research to educate myself on items that come before the Board, so I can make an informed decision. I have School Board experience and I am an independent voice and not a rubber stamp for anyone. That is why I am running for Roxana School Board and asking for your vote. Thank You.

What are the most important issues the school district faces, and how would you approach them? First, is to keep property taxes as low as possible. Under my previous tenure on the School Board the property tax rate was one of the lowest in recent history at 3.8859. Soon after I left, the Board voted to increase the property tax rate to 4.1169. I will take a hard line on property taxes and will not increase them unless circumstances are dire. I will however look to decrease them when possible. Second, is to help figure out how to improve student test scores. During my previous time on the Board test scores had started to improve. Since my departure they have started to decline again. Third, is to continue making facility upgrades to our schools and athletic venues. During my previous time on the Board many improvements were made. New Baseball field, new Junior High Gym, New Football Field Lighting, and several improvements to school facilities.

Under what circumstances would you vote to raise property taxes? Only if not doing so would have extremely detrimental effects on the children of the District.

What are your goals for the district/what do you want to accomplish? Keep taxes low, improve test scores, and continue upgrading buildings and facilities.

What is your position on the proposed increase in minimum wage for teachers in Illinois? I am a believer in local control. So, while I believe teachers should be compensated at a fair rate, I also believe each individual school district should have the say on where their funding goes. Most funding for schools in Illinois come from local property taxes, so its easy for state lawmakers to score cheap political points by saying lets increase these wages, because they don’t pay for most of them, but not all districts are financially capable of handling them.