What you need to know about the April 2019 election
Name: Donna Johnson
Occupation: Program Analyst
Position Seeking: District #203 School Board
Campaign website: Johnson4203schoolboard@gmail.com
Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I am running for the same reasons I ran 4 years ago, my passion for educating children and belief in serving my community. My platform is, “Students first, our students today and world leaders tomorrow.” While on the board, OTHS has had several noteworthy accomplishments; managing deficit spending without negative impact on student achievement, addition of the AP curriculum, and awarded over 1 million dollars in grant money. People should vote for me so I can continue within my role as a board member ensuring our students have an opportunity to succeed and are prepared for the world no matter the challenges.
What are the most important issues the school district faces, and how would you approach them? The top issue four years ago when I ran was fiscal uncertainty. We prepared for fiscal constraints, planned accordingly, budgeted conservatively, and as a result, our 5-year projections and finances are stable. Now we need to focus on a strategic plan that identifies the following: growth projections; 21st century learning environment (facilities and classroom changes/upgrades); diversity in learning, hiring, and professional development; safety/security to include drug free campuses; bridging the gap; and community outreach. My program management and deliberate planning skills will help craft OTHS’s strategic plan and develop metrics/goals to promote global competitiveness and identify the future initiatives.
Under what circumstances would you vote to raise property taxes? At this current time, I would not vote to raise property taxes for District 203. Until District 203, strategic plan is complete; I think it would be fiscally irresponsible to ask tax payers to raise property taxes for District 203. I also, believe any raise in property taxes should be voter approved.
What are your goals for the district/what do you want to accomplish? My goals will continue to focus on advancing the development of students to leaders, promoting excellence in education; and sharing diverse ideas to help ensure all students are well represented in the Board’s decision-making process. Our school board and educators are doing a fantastic job maintaining the high standards OTHS is known for. As part of the Gap committee, I will continue to look for ways to bridge the academic gap between majority students and minority students while not forgetting about the average student and making advancements opportunities for those students.
What is your position on the proposed increase in minimum wage for teachers in Illinois? Under normal circumstances, I believe the State should allow school boards to govern teacher’s minimum wages. After all school boards are in the best position to determine its finances. However, teachers’ starting salaries are disproportional resulting in some teachers being under paid. Teachers are too important not to be paid for their worth to our society. Hopefully, the wage increase will help with teacher shortages in IL, retain qualified teachers in the state, and aspire new teachers. OTHS teachers for the most part are paid minimum wage amount. However, the increase may cause the District to raise our overall salaries to retain/recruit teachers.