MINOOKA — Two incumbents, two newcomers and one former board member make up the slate for Minooka Grade School District 201 Board of Education race.
Only two of the four current board members are running for re-election — Doug Martin and current board president Jim Satorius.
Neither Dave Carlson nor Jim Budde chose to seek re-election this term.
Former board of education member Don McKinney has decided to run again after a hiatus from the board. The two newcomers in the race are John Clucas and Victoria Allen.
While a newcomer to the board of education seat, Clucas is not unfamiliar with District 201. He has served on the district’s finance committee for six years and on the education committee, assisting in the update of the district’s policy manual.
Clucas is the regional manager for Dayton Progress, the world’s largest manufacturer of metal punches and dyes, managing three states and 11 distributors.
He returned to school in 2008 and received a master’s in Education Administration, is a certified administrator and has a Chief School Business Official certification. Clucas also interned with District 201 in school business management. He is a substitute teacher.
Although District 201 has one of the lowest per-pupil operating expenses in the state, Clucas sees lack of funding as one of the district’s challenges. He feels District 201 has done a great job maintaining affordable, high-quality education for its students.
“If elected I plan to work with the board, administration, staff, and community on plans to find our district additional funding, that could include streamlining processes, utilizing new technologies, refinancing debt, and seeking alternate funding sources, like sales taxes,” Clucas said.
Allen is no stranger to the district, either. She is a retired teacher from District 201 and has served on many leadership and curriculum committees during her tenure. She served on the District 201 Education Committee is or has been a member of Minooka Elementary Education Association, Illinois Education Association and Illinois Retired Teachers Association.
The district’s challenges are providing quality education in a safe environment while being financially responsible to taxpayers and providing proper technology to meet state testing standards, said Allen.
“So far the district has done an excellent job being financially responsible, winning the Bright Star Award once again this year. However, there are still some decisions to be made concerning our finances,” said Allen.
“I am prepared to listen, offer ideas, and help make decisions based, first and foremost on what is in the best interest of our students, staff, and parents while being financially responsible to our taxpayers.”
McKinney, superintendent for Nettle Creek School District in Morris, served on the District 201 board of education from 2007 to 2010.
He chose to run again to work with the administration and board setting policy that will continue the great work that has been done over the past five years, he said.
The district has done well with both fiscal responsibility and student achievement and he wants to be a part of assuring that continues.
McKinney wants to hold Pam Roth and Sue Rezin accountable for decisions they make that affect funding in public schools.
“When our representation in Springfield is more concerned about protecting the rights of gun owners than they are about the public education of children, I believe we have a moral and ethical obligation to speak up,” McKinney said. “As a school superintendent I am that voice for the community in which I work, and I will be that voice for Minooka schools.”
Martin has been a District 201 board member for the past four years. He has served on education, finance, personnel and policy committees and has been the district’s legislative representative.
He is a concrete contractor and vice -president for Martin Cement Company, an Army Lieutenant Colonel, military Staff Judge Advocate and in the Arizona Army National Guard.
School boards have two main responsibilities, curriculum and budget, said Martin.
“I think the biggest challenge for the district is the mode of thinking that a high-quality education necessarily costs a great deal of money,” he said. “I would like to see the district focus on improving the quality of education while saving money for the taxpayers.”
Satorius has served the board of education for 20 years and currently serves as president. He is a retired teacher and retired business owner.
He has served on the Three Rivers Library board since its inception in 1976 and is the board president. He is a member of the Minooka Lions, American Legion and served in the Marine Corps.
Satorius wants to continue the district’s standing as a Bright Star Award winner for outstanding academic excellence while maintaining one of the lowest per-student costs in the state.
The biggest challenges facing the district are maintaining the Bright Star award status with declining revenue and keeping the district’s low tax rate. Satorius intends to continue working with elected officials in the village, county and state to encourage business and industrial growth to help generate tax money and keep the low tax rate for local taxpayers.