Kathy Shannon

Kathy Shannon

Questions & Answers

For the April 2019 Election

What is the importance of the Unit #4 School Board to residents of Champaign?

Schools are a vital part of our community, and studies have shown a direct link between school board governance and student achievement. If we want our children to be successful in their careers, and also as citizens, we need to support their education.

Why are you qualified to be on the School Board?

I’ve been on the Unit 4 school board since May of 2015. During that time, we as a board created a comprehensive facilities plan by engaging community stakeholders, presenting information, and holding conversations. Together with the community, we created a plan to update and rebuild our aging facilities. After a previous board’s referendum failed by a 70-30 margin, our plan passed by almost the same margin. This remarkable turnaround proved that the voters care deeply about our schools, but want to be engaged in the planning process. I’ve shown that I can be a part of that process.

If elected, what is something you want to accomplish on the School Board, and how long will it take?

I want to continue our equity work, reducing achievement and discipline disparities within our schools. This is an issue that diverse districts around the country struggle with, and there are no easy answers. This work won’t be finished at the end of another 4-year term, no matter who gets elected. Until we eliminate disparities in employment and housing, we will continue to have disparities in education outcomes.

But it is essential for the prosperity of everyone in our community that we make real progress on this issue. One of my favorite quotes is from the late Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone: “We all do better when we all do better.” Nowhere is that more true than in education.

Is there anything else you would like to say to an undecided voter?

The 7 member Unit #4 School Board has been through tremendous upheaval, with 23 different board members serving over the last 6 years. Turnover on the board takes a toll on administration, teachers, and ultimately, student achievement. Stability allows us to focus on our goals. I believe the most important goals are finishing this round of facilities work, and making real progress on our achievement and discipline disparities. I ask that you vote for the incumbents running for re-election, and send a message that these goals are vital for our community’s future.

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