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School Board Candidate Profile: Joseph Wanner

Joe Wanner is one of six candidates vying for three school board positions.  The election will be held in April.

Courtesy of Joe Wanner

Joe Wanner is one of six candidates vying for three school board positions. The election will be held in April.

Joseph Wanner, School Board Candidate

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Tell Clarion about your background, focusing on information that might be relevant to voters.

I grew up in suburban Chicago and attended Prospect High School, where my father was a teacher and a coach for 31 years.  I earned an Economics degree from Columbia University and an MBA from Kellogg /Northwestern University.  I achieved a CFA (“Chartered Financial Analyst”) Distinction after graduate school and was a Strategic Planner for over a decade at BMO Bank in Chicago.  I’ve served on several boards and I am very comfortable working in a group to achieve common goals.

What made you decide to run for RB school board?

I have a daughter who is a sophomore at RBHS, a sixth grader and a first grader.  I want them all to have access to excellent education and I want this school to continue to be a bright spot for the community.  The fundamental objective of the school board is to strive for excellence in education while maintaining financial stability.  The board has the responsibility to ensure all voices are heard while working collaboratively with each other and with everyone involved.  I decided to run for the school board because I feel I can help achieve these objectives and ensure our children have the opportunity to attend a school we can all be proud of.

 What is one attribute that you have that sets you apart from the other candidates?  Why?

My strategic planning background is probably what sets me apart most from the other candidates.  I have experience in identifying the common vision and mission within an organization and using them to achieve desired objectives.  The discipline and framework needed to take an organization from its current situation to its desired state is readily transferable from the business world to the educational world.  This strategic planning skill set can help provide a roadmap to achieve our objectives.

What do you see as the single greatest challenge facing RB right now?  How would you like to see the Board address that challenge?

Despite recent cuts, the district is running a budget deficit which is the most pressing concern because long term budget deficits are unsustainable and negatively impact the quality of education.  We need to work together to resolve this problem before it becomes a crisis.  We need to review the financial projections and if regular revenue and expense fluctuations aren’t enough to correct the deficit, we need to cut expenses and/or boost revenues.  Expense cuts should be made in areas with the smallest impact on the quality of education at RBHS and revenue boosts should be explored in all ways possible.

RB has undergone many changes over the last several years in order to lower expenses including the shrinking of its teaching staff, an overall increase in class size, and the elimination of several clubs.  What changes, if any, do you see RB making or needing to make in the next few years?  Why?

I believe there is a correlation between class size and quality of education.  Smaller classes generally provide a better educational experience, however, we should be strategic in how we look at class size.  We should evaluate class size in collaboration with faculty and administrators to determine where we can allow increased class size without affecting the overall learning experience and where we should keep classes small.

The “pay-to-play” policy was installed to help close the funding gap.  If financially viable, I would like to see this policy rescinded as it discourages participation.  Either way, extra-curricular and athletic programs should be continued as they are an integral part of the high school educational experience.

There has also been much talk about the upcoming expiring teacher’s contract.  I would like to see a new contract that is fair for everyone.  It seems obvious to me that quality teachers are needed to provide a quality education.  We must draft a contract that provides competitive terms to attract and retain excellent teachers, while fitting in a budget we can afford.

Is there anything else you would like the RB community to know about you as a person and as a nominee?

I believe that providing high quality education for our children, while solving our current fiscal problems should be a unifying mission.  I believe that RBHS should be a focal point for our community and it should bring us together as a community.  I believe that we should work together as a community to achieve these goals.

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Free of Bull, Full of Bulldogs
School Board Candidate Profile: Joseph Wanner