St. Charles School Board Candidates Discuss Facilities, Philosophies

Article excerpt

Seven candidates will compete April 13 for three seats on the St. Charles school board.

The incumbents are John Hanson, 52, an anesthesiologist and Mary Jo Knipp, 44, a customer service representative.

The challengers are Roger Karas, 37, an independent software developer; Steve Cole, 61, a retired sales executive; Lori Linkimer, 44, a teacher at Faith Christian Beginner School in Geneva; Carl Mitchell, 46, a Schaumburg police officer; and Mitchell's wife, Kathy, 37, an administrative assistant.

Lynn Lipskis had planned to run but withdrew from the race earlier this month. Her name, however, may still appear on the ballot.

The Daily Herald asked the candidates to answer several questions. Here are some of them:

If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led. If you are not an incumbent, tell us what contributions you would make. Describe any shortcomings in the current board that you would help remedy and explain how.

John Hanson: Over the past nine years I have worked as the liaison to special education, the education foundation, the technology advisers committee, the discipline committee, the St. Charles Drug and Alcohol Task Force, the cultural arts board and more. The program that pleases me the most, though, is the recent agreement on READY, an alternative, computer-based curriculum to be offered to students who are not, for whatever reason, succeeding with our traditional curriculum.

Mary Jo Knipp: I will be as open and honest as I can. I will work with the other board members and administration to make the best decisions we can that will benefit our children.

Roger Karas: Instead of being yet one more "tax and spend" member of the board, I would be representative of those in the community who have voted against throwing more money at the government-controlled public school monopoly. My financial emphasis will be on curbing expenditures, not on raising revenue through deceptive "no tax rate increase" or "3-cent increase" building referendums.

I would also work hard to give parents the opportunity to have their children taught in a more traditional manner with more trustworthy teaching methods, with an emphasis on the "basics" especially at the elementary school level.

Carl Mitchell: I would ensure there be legitimate parent/teacher participation in the decision-making process. The current committees are stacked with parents and teachers that are hand-selected by the school administration. The select few who echo the administrative philosophy currently dominate the decision-making in this school district.

Critical thinking means that all aspects of an issue be debated in an open environment. Parents and teachers need to have an open voice and impact on policy. I want all viewpoints to have a fair hearing, not just an illusion of such. I will try to bring an end to the facilitated committees which have a pre-determined outcome. Board members should ensure opponents of an issue be seated on the committee. Board members could select committee members from past concerned parents.

Steve Cole: The contributions I plan to make:

1. Being proactive in implementing superior execution of key action programs; 2. Taking a business approach to team dynamics in the planning, execution and evaluation of programs; 3. Adding forward "outside the box" thinking - an attitude of continuous quality improvement.

I do not want to be presumptuous by identifying any current board shortcomings, but I would concentrate on developing an attitude of responsibility and accountability, guaranteeing that changes and new development projects have specific objectives and measurable time frames with results to determine future actions.

Lori Linkimer: As a member of this board, I will be able to speak to curriculum issues. My years of teaching coupled with many advanced-level classes have given me insight into curriculum planning. …