Shaun Bill has announced his candidacy for a seat on the Morton District 709 School Board.
Bill, 44, is an active volunteer throughout the community, helping with several youth sports activities and the annual Morton Pumpkin Festival, serving as an activity co-chair.
“Morton schools have a tradition of excellence,” Bill said. “As State funding dwindles, the challenge of providing an excellent education grows tougher with every budget. Lowering our standards is not an option.”
“The biggest challenge Morton 709 faces is funding,” Bill said. “We need to continue keeping our budget balanced while exploring non-tax sources of revenue.”
When it comes to providing a road-map for infrastructure improvement, Bill believes that the grade schools come first.
“We need three gymnasiums. It is hard to believe that three of four elementary schools do not have dedicated gyms. Physical education every day, no matter what the state law, is a good idea. We need to support that.”
“Other buildings and infrastructure need a hard look, too,” Bill said. “Improvements are sorely needed at the high school and junior high. The future of Jefferson School is a hot topic in the community – the community will have to weigh the options and make a choice.”
Creating relevant agricultural and vocational opportunities for high school students is also a priority, Bill said.
“Not only do these classes provide non-college bound students with valuable skills for the workplace, these classes can provide college-bound students with real-world life skills and perspectives beyond the classroom.”
Other significant issues Bill sees include modernizing extra-curricular budgets and continuing the 709Connect-style meetings beyond their current scope.
“Extra-curricular budgets have not been increased in the past decade, and in some cases, even reduced,” Bill said. “There has been no adjustment for inflation. There is no funding accommodation for participation levels. I would support changes in budgeting that would account for both of these variables.”
“The 709Connect meetings have been very valuable to me, personally, and I think to the district, as a whole,” he said. “I think the administration, the board and the public have all seen a great benefit. Each has been educated by the other. I would like to see this type of program continue, perhaps on a quarterly or twice-annual basis.
This non-partisan election will occur on April 9, 2013. Bill seeks one of the seats for unincorporated Morton.
Bill and his wife, Kimberly, have four children who currently attend District 709 schools.