Name: Michael Eiskant
Occupation: Director of sales
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Position seeking: Belleville District 201 School Board
Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I am running for re-election to the District 201 School Board to continue the progress made in cost savings over the past four years. I am a resident and business owner in the District 201 School District, along with children attending the district in the future. It is deeply important that we continue to offer the best education in the St. Louis area, while keeping costs to the taxpayers in line. District 201 is a valuable asset to every property owner within the district limits and must be cared for in such a manner.
What are the most important issues the school district faces, and how would you approach them? The continued fiscal challenges District 201 and others faces is daunting. The lack of full and timely payments to our district put a tremendous strain on the district’s resources. I believe in continuing these efforts to reduce costs and spending on a conservative, transparent budget, while being open to alternative revenue streams that benefit our students and community.
Under what circumstances would you vote to raise property taxes? There would be very few circumstances in which I would look at increases to existing property taxes. Provided the state meets its requirements for full and timely payments, our district is well prepared to operate within our financial means. The obvious goal is to continue to lower the tax assessment rate for District 201.
What are your goals for the district/what do you want to accomplish? My goals for the district are focused on educating students to be successful and productive in the future. Preparing students for education or employment after graduation is critical. District 201 offers a myriad of educational, cultural and after school activities to bring balance and enrichment to each student, in a way that serves their desires and direction. As our society and work force needs evolve, I want to be able to have students begin to think past graduation and ready themselves for a fulfilling career and lasting impact on our community.
What is your position on the proposed increase in minimum wage for teachers in Illinois? Specific to the minimum wage on teachers, I believe this increase will impact only teachers in their first one to two years of service. A majority of our teachers are already above this threshold, so the new increase will not impact the district. The concern will be the impacts on pay rates of employees such as bus drivers, food service workers, etc. as we reach the 2025 full implementation of the $15 per hour minimum wage. Ultimately, these wage increases will be passed along. As a small business owner, I can attest to the fact that these increases will ultimately be passed along and increase the cost of goods sold or services provided. In the end, the state increases in wages have guaranteed all Illinois citizens will pay more for their goods and services.