Richard Stoxen

Demographics

Independent

66

Harvard IL

High School, Harvard High School

Farmer, Self

Married, Lynda Stoxen

Lori Stoxen Gajdzik, 46

Kristi Stoxen Crisham, 43

On the Record

What experiences do you have that make you a good candidate for office?

Being a business owner for over 40 years gives me a great deal of experience in finance, government regulations, decision making and adaptability. I have also worked with numerous community and school groups, often in leadership positions, and realize how important it is to be able to work with people whose opinions may differ.

What are your top two or three priorities if elected?

The most important job of schools is to educate children. To do that, we have to continue the work that we have started in improving the curriculum. The needs of all students must be met beyond improving test scores. We need to prepare all levels of students for their future education and employment. Providing them with a safe and stimulating learning environment is also a priority. We need to accomplish this and still show our citizens that their tax money is being spent in a responsible and effective manner.

Would you support freezing your taxing district’s levy until housing prices rebound? Why or why not?

I would be in favor of it if we could also freeze the expense part of our budget. We can’t limit the income and have continually escalating costs and remain solvent. Not knowing what the State of Illinois is going to do to school funding, and the possibility that they are going to pass the pension expenses down to local taxpayers, could bankrupt any district. Add to that the number of Federal and State unfunded mandates that we also have to include in our budget, and you can see how difficult it is to promise lower taxes.

What one decision by the school board do you most disagree with and why?

Although there have been decisions made by the entire board that I have not agreed with, as in any democracy, the majority rules. It is important for board members to act as a board and wholeheartedly support the decisions that have been made by the group. We each base our decisions on our own life experiences, and we are never all going to agree completely with every choice that we have to make. A good board member can respect those differing opinions, learn from them, and go forward.

What was the biggest accomplishment of the board in the past year?

The re-evaluation of all district goals was a lengthy, but rewarding, process. We have used these goals to restructure the curriculum, realign job descriptions for staff, and assure that we have the proper tools in place to assess the progress. We have continued to employ top people in our district and we feel that having distinct goals for them will enable them to concentrate on doing the best job possible for our students.

Why should voters elect you to office?

I was first elected to the Harvard School Board in the 1970s when my children were in school and served for two+ terms. Since returning to the Board in 2004, my eyes have been opened to the increased demands that are made on our administrators, teachers, students, and taxpayers. The people of Harvard need sensible, forward-thinking, professional people to lead the district through these tough financial times. It is important to have both parents of students and people without children in the district, on the board, as we need that balance. I feel that I represent the majority of people in Harvard, who are genuinely concerned about the future of our city, and our country, and who realize the important role that schools play in assuring the future for all of us.