Candidate profile: Rhonda Ross

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: Rhonda Ross

Age: 56

Town: Belleville

Occupation: Retired teacher

Position seeking: Mascoutah Board of Education

Campaign website: N/A

Why are you running and why should people vote for you? As a retired educator, parent, grandparent, spouse of a veteran, and community volunteer, I will represent the interests of the community-at-large. I believe in the value of a public education, and I’m committed to making our schools exceptional. I want to ensure that the students of the district receive a first-class education while continuing to be fiscally sound. My education and experience representing teachers, students, and families have given me the tools to advocate on behalf of each. I understand the needs and realities to work within a balanced budget and will ensure that MSCD #19 spends the taxpayers money wisely.

What are the most important issues the school district faces, and how would you approach them? The most important issues facing Mascoutah at this time are continuing to stay on the cutting edge of technology, class size, teacher retention, and paying down the bond debt. By ensuring that the most qualified individuals are in leadership positions to envision the technological needs of the district and be pro-active in implementing new hard and software, we will be able to push the district in the direction necessary for the students to be competitive in a global workforce. Making an effort to acknowledge the difficult job that the teachers do on a daily basis through financial incentives, professional development, and verbal communication will help keep those highly qualified individuals in the district. Class size will come at a cost, but I would work with the administration to try and find creative ways to reduce class size. Finally, looking for ways to pay the debt down without increasing taxes would be a top priority.

Under what circumstances would you vote to raise property taxes? At this point, I do not feel that an increase in property taxes is necessary to maintain the fiscal soundness of the district.

What are your goals for the district/what do you want to accomplish? My goal for the district is that it produces individuals that have a well-rounded education and are prepared for college entrance or vocational training, or to enter the work force.

What is your position on the proposed increase in minimum wage for teachers in Illinois? The legislation that is attempting to increase the minimum salary for teachers to $32,076 would not have an effect on the teachers within the Mascoutah District since the current starting salary is $37,825 for the 2018-19 school year. However, while this legislation acknowledges that teachers on average across 34 developed countries make about 22 percent less, on average, than their full-time counterparts with similar education levels (Time, November 2015), it could place some of the small districts in a difficult financial position.