Woodrow: I am running for the school board to bring the unique perspective of someone who is active in the district at the middle school and high school levels. I hear the voice of the students, parents and teachers as I collaborate with them on a wide range of projects. I see first-hand what is working and what needs to be addressed. The job of a middle school or high school student is far more difficult than most adults realize. I want to represent the voice of these hardworking students. They often have the best solutions to the problems facing the education system.
Young: I am running because I love the community and want to try and make Danville a better place to live. I will bring to the board a broad base of experience. I have 32 years in the practice of law, including eight years as Vermilion County State’s Attorney. My financial background includes a degree in accounting from the University of Illinois. My business experience includes running a small law office for more than 20 years and negotiating contracts with five different unions while state’s attorney. Other experience includes 11 years as a Danville Area Community College trustee and three-and-a-half years as a District 118 board member.
What are the three biggest issues facing the school district?
Ashton: The biggest issues are finances, pension plans and benefits, and student achievement. I hope we are all aware of the financial crunch within all Illinois school districts. All items in our budget are under scrutiny, and more drastic choices may be needed in the next few years. The future funding of teachers’ pension plans at this moment is an unknown quantity. If the state decides to shift the burden of teachers’ pensions to the local districts, this would have a multi-million dollar effect on our budget. Deeper cuts or higher taxes might follow. Lastly, student achievement is perhaps the most elusive goal. The factors within the control of the district need to be constantly monitored and evaluated to provide maximum benefit for our students.