Guest Column: R.E.A.CH. endorses Strommer (B), Carter (E) and Kelley (G)

Guest Column: R.E.A.CH. endorses Strommer (B), Carter (E) and Kelley (G)

By Barb Dent

R.E.A.CH. (Rockford Educating All Children) endorses David Strommer (B), Scott Carter (E) and David Kelley (G) for Rockford School Board. It’s time to end the circus-like atmosphere at the board meetings. We need members who will focus on education and spend the taxpayers’ dollars wisely. If you’re tired of hearing about the district’s self-inflicted financial woes and want school board members who will respond to BOTH phone messages and e-mails, elect Strommer (B), Carter (E) and Kelley (G). To help on their campaigns, call David Strommer (968-6042), Scott Carter (398-8658), or David Kelley (874-6345).

When R.E.A.CH.-endorsed candidates were the majority of school board, the deficit had been lowered to $13 million, and we were freed from court control of our schools. Today, the majority on this board was supported by Mayor Doug Scott and RPACE (Rockford Political Action Committee for Education—a small group of teachers) for their election. Our deficit is heading toward $50 million, this board is engaged in new lawsuits, and 32 of our schools have more than half of their students not performing at grade level. Recently, District 205 has been placed on the state financial watch list despite the voters passing four referendums.

The mayor and RPACE are supporting the opponents of our R.E.A.CH.-endorsed candidates. Can the children, their parents and our community afford to elect their people again? NO! It’s time for a new direction on the board.

David Strommer (B) serves on both the Operations and Education committees. He is an advocate for the arts and has served as chairperson of the former District 205 Curriculum and Facilities committees. He was on the board that achieved “Unitary Status” for the district. He supported the “Unitary Status” committees, which welcomed community volunteers to help shape the future of our district. Strommer has extensive knowledge of the district’s facilities and is a frequent visitor to the schools. He is very responsive to his constituents and listens to everyone before making his decisions. Dave also serves on the board of the Jackson-Oaks Neighborhood Association. His opponent has failed to be involved in the school district and has no sound educational or financial plan.

Scott Carter (E), a University of Illinois graduate, is a former District 205 substitute teacher. He wants to restore discipline in the classroom and would like to see elementary and middle school alternative schools for children who struggle to learn in a regular classroom environment. Carter was a community representative on the District 205 Facilities Committee and Unitary Status Student Assignment Committee. As a business owner, Scott understands the need for fiscal responsibility. He is a member of the Rockford Area Association of Realtors and a member of the Affordable Housing Committee. The present incumbent, Dr. Robert Evans, fails to attend ANY Education Committee meetings, fails to regularly attend the Operations Committee meetings, does NOT visit many schools and constantly reprimands board members, which adds to the circus-like atmosphere at the board meetings.

David Kelley (G) is a former District 205 employee who can identify the real “FAT” in the budget. He has extensive knowledge of the district’s facilities and would be an asset for assessing the district’s facilities report in June. Kelley was on the District 205 Strategic Planning Finance Committee, which established the need for a balanced budget. He would be a mature representative and would focus on educating ALL children. Dave has an associate’s degree from Rock Valley College, so he values children being able to attain higher educational goals. The present incumbent, Michael Bliss, quit the Education Committee, voted to illegally tax the Rockford taxpayers, creates the circus-like atmosphere at the board meetings with his unruly behavior and voted incorrectly on key financial issues, which has helped to place the district on the state financial watch list.

Hopefully, the voters on April will examine their school board candidates carefully and vote for David Strommer (B), Scott Carter (E) and David Kelley (G).

Barb Dent is the president of Rockford Educating All Children (R.E.A.CH.).

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