Tuesday, July 17th, 2012 at 8:00am

Online Candidate Forum Lake County School Board District 1 Part 3

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Online Candidate Forum

Lake County School Board District 1

Part 3

Jimmy Nussbaumer                   Bill Mathias

This concludes the question-and-answer portion of the Online Candidate Forum for Lake County School Board District 1 seat between Bill Mathias and Jimmy Nussbaumer.  Citizens for Better Government, L.L.C. would like to thank each one of the candidates for their participation in this forum, and we believe the candidates represented themselves in a very professional manner.

Part 1 | Part 2

We hope our readers have enjoyed getting to know the candidates, and we welcome your comments and questions at www.lakecountygov.info; or, you can sign up for quick and easy delivery of The Right Side of the Lake newsletter through your Facebook by “Liking” The Right Side of the Lake.

Forum Questions and Answers Part 3

Q: How would you rank the performance of the District administration in total? 

Bill Mathias

Our school district is ranked 44th out of 67 counties. Applying basic grading matrix I would rate the District administration a “D”.  If I applied a curve for effort a “C”.  

Jimmy Nussbaumer

I would rank the district administrators as a C+. Our school district ranks just above average and I believe administrators should be held accountable.     

Q: What is your position on school impact fees? 

Bill Mathias

I am against impact fees for schools.  One of the biggest cons played on the public was that school impact fees would pay for growth. The impact fee charged was known to be 60% less than needed during the early 2000’s and no one discussed other options; other than bond $600 million dollars.  Today, we still owe $500 million dollars and are strapped with this debt until 2031. I will support policy that plans for the future while not allowing this uncontrolled spending to happen again.

Jimmy Nussbaumer

I see no need for new schools or additional class rooms at this time therefore I see no need for impact fees at this time.

Q: How would propose funding school construction? 

Bill Mathias

As an alternative to impact fees I support the Construct- Leaseback method for major capital projects.

Construct-Leaseback is a form of public-private partnership, which allows counties to work with the private sector to build new schools without issuing bonds or requiring State contribution.  To date, Lake County government has looked to new housing development to pay for additional capacity in public infrastructure through the use of impact fees.   While some of this money is earmarked to fund new school construction, revenues generated were not sufficient to fund building the necessary capacity needed to house the associated increase in student enrollment. The additional funding required was raised through the issue of general obligation (GO) bonds, the use of current operating revenues, state funding or a combination thereof. Today, $33 million dollars per year must be allocated to service the debt incurred during the rapid growth in the early 2000’s.     

Qualified Charter schools are another option. As I explored this option my only concern is accountability.  It can take up to three years to pull a bad charter.  Three years is too long to address and fix deficiencies, the education of our students is too important.

Jimmy Nussbaumer

We currently have more classroom space than students and I don’t see a huge growth in the economy or community anytime soon. As we monitor our growth we will need to reconsider our options when the time arises.

Q: Do you think the Lake County School District should have a local preference policy to ensure Lake County vendors and contractors are given an advantage when the district purchases goods and services?  

Bill Mathias

Yes, I believe the schools are the “heart and soul” of the community.  It is only common sense that we would use local architects, contractors and tradesmen that pay taxes in this county to build and repair our schools.

For thirty years the success of my company is the partnership with local vendors and my “Buy American” requirement for all purchases.  It is not just a statement; it is the core of my company’s success.   

Jimmy Nussbaumer

I believe we should always give local vendors every opportunity to be competitive and help our students.

Q: Why should you be elected over your opponent to the School Board?

Bill Mathias

First and foremost I bring to the board thirty years proven fiscal conservative values. My education and community involvement make me better suited to reach out to the community to partner with our schools to make us an A-rated school district.  My service both in the private and public education sector gives me the experience to understand the governance process and how to affect change.

Jimmy Nussbaumer

Over the past nine years I have spent thousands of volunteer hours working in our districts local schools. I understand the inner workings and the needs of my district. I also have a child in the schools, understand how the local budget works and talk regularly with teachers, administrators and staff.

Q: In the last year, what is the Lake County School District’s greatest achievement and failure?

Bill Mathias

Our Career tech programs have shown great success in raising grade point averages and reducing drop out rates of students at risk. Students that are certified possess the skill sets for immediate employment after graduation. I support the continued development of these programs that prepare our students for the skill sets required for employment.

Our greatest failure is the lack of leadership to focus on attaining an A-rated school district and to disregard seriously addressing our $500 million debt.

Jimmy Nussbaumer

We have many general achievements like our implementation of career academies, our graduations rating and dealing with budget cuts. Our short fall is our attitude towards working with what we have in a positive way and our district being 44 out of 67.  

Q: Are you in favor of renewing the county option 1-cent sales tax and how should it be distributed?

Bill Mathias

Yes, we have five years to provide leadership to reduce significantly the debt. If we stay status quo on January 1 2017 we will owe $200 million dollars. Without the extension we will have NO revenue stream to pay the debt.  Extreme cuts will have to be made from the general fund and/or property taxes raised. 

I would propose we dedicate 1/2 cent of the one-cent extension to aggressively retire the debt. 

Jimmy Nussbaumer

I believe it is necessary to renew it. If it is renewed the distribution will have to be studied to confirm the best use of the funds.

The final process of our Online Candidate Forum is for each candidate to present their closing statement in which they can present their argument as to why they should be elected as well as rebut something another candidate said.  Closing statements are limited to 750 words and will remain confidential until they are published next week.

Once again, we would like to thank both candidates for participating in our Online Candidate Forum, and we hope our readers enjoy this unique way to find out about the candidates and issues.  We encourage everyone to vote-exercise your right in a free society.

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One Response to “Online Candidate Forum Lake County School Board District 1 Part 3”

  1. Yay! says:

    A Certified Bedpan Scrubbing Empire! I salute you.

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