What you need to know about the April 2019 election
Name: Robert Miller
Occupation: Retired, U.S. Air Force; school teacher in another school district
Position Seeking: Highland School Board Member
Campaign website: None
Why are you running and why should people vote for you? When I first ran for the school board four years ago I wanted to bring vocational trades instructions back to the high school. That was accomplished recently with the reinstatement of the Building Trades program at the high school and the inking of a deal to enable HHS students to take vocational classes at the Collinsville Area Vocational Center. I would like to serve one more term so I can see that these and several other projects are followed through with.
I’m an open minded and respectful person of integrity that believes no one person has all the answers. I proactively solicit feedback and input from all stakeholders, before making common sense decisions in an open forum. When it comes to financial oversight I have a Masters Degree in Business Administration and effectively managed multi-million dollar programs during my 20 years on active duty in the U.S. Air Force.
What are the most important issues the school district faces, and how would you approach them? I believe unfunded mandates by the state are our biggest problem. Illinois legislators continue to pass statewide mandates for solutions to isolated problems. The School Board needs to continue pushing back on these mandates while educating our locally elected state legislators on the detrimental impact the mandates have on our operations and finances.
Under what circumstances would you vote to raise property taxes? No one likes to have their taxes increased, not me or anyone else. The only way I can imagine raising taxes would be if the voters wanted to pass a tax increase to modernize our aging facilities. However, I believe we can accomplish many major renovations without increasing taxes. The current School Board has been fiscally responsible. We’ve had balanced budgets for the last two years, while recently reducing some fees for the upcoming school year.
What are your goals for the district/what do you want to accomplish? First I’d like to see the strategic planning that the School Board has undertaken followed through with and action items implemented. Additionally, I’d like to see our vocational trades programs at the high school more fully developed. Lastly, I’d like to see the district make an concerted effort to modernize some of our aging facilities. Highland Elementary was built in 1935 and Highland Primary was build in 1953. Area school districts around us have modernized their facilities. We need to keep pace with the changing times.
What is your position on the proposed increase in minimum wage for teachers in Illinois? This is just another example of how Illinois legislators can pass a law mandating something then absolving themselves of the financial responsibility for carrying out the requirement. Again, taking away local control of how we operate our schools.