School board position 3 candidate: Chad Christie
Name: Chad M. Christie
Date of birth: 6/6/71
Family: Wife, Ann; children Kaitlyn, 16 and Justin, 12
Current employment: ICL Performance Products
Education: 1989 BHS Graduate, one year Baker
Number of years lived in community: Lifelong resident
Previous public offices held: None
Community involvement: Coached youth sports including youth football and active in 4-H
What made you decide to run for office?
As a BHS graduate and lifetime member of our community I am very interested in the future of USD 348 and I think my concerns are similar to many people in our community. I feel so strongly about the potential of USD 348 and I decided to seek a board position.
What special qualifications would you bring to this office?
I am a people person and feel that I have the ability to keep an open mind and listen to many different opinions and make decisions that are best for the whole district. I have many generations of family that attended the Baldwin district and want nothing more than to see USD 348 as the elite school in the area.
How do you plan to familiarize yourself with the issues that come before the board?
I have attended a majority of the school board meetings over the last year and tried to familiarize myself with the many issues at hand. I also have two children that attend USD 348 schools and have a firsthand knowledge with the issues that face the district.
What leadership qualities do you possess?
At ICL, my job responsibilities allow me to work with people every day and really enjoy it. I also serve on several committees ranging from safety to internal auditing. By doing this I have learned how to lead these groups and make decisions for the entire plant.
How do you plan stay in touch with constituents if you are elected?
E-mail and phone.
Describe what you see as the main role of a school board member.
I think the role of a school board member is to devote adequate time to research the issues at hand then take this along with common sense to make the best decision we can and then follow up on the decisions made by the board to make sure things are carried out
What is the best attribute of our school district and why?
I feel we have great teachers, parents and students. I take great pride in being a Baldwin alumni and I would love the opportunity to serve the USD 348 community and help lead our district into the future.
What are the three most important issues facing the school district and how would you confront them?
I believe the most critical issue facing the district is the financial aspect. The current financial crisis of our state and country will make the next few years a challenge. We as a district will have to come up with some creative ideas to get through these tough times and combine this thought process with common sense to make our dollars stretch as far as possible. The second issue I feel our district needs to address bullying. I feel the work being done by our state as well as individuals like Lee Hanson will be valuable insight as USD 348 strengths its policies regarding bullying. The third issue at hand is what we do with the rural schools as well as the old primary center. I feel the district should be proactive and sell these properties as we need the money and we are not going to have the financial luxury to reopen these facilities.
Do you think public schools are adequately funded? Why or why not?
The schools are being asked to run with a budget that resembles a budget of ten years ago. I also know all teachers and administration are being asked to do more with less. The schools are no different and regardless if I think that the schools a properly funded or not we have to deal with the money received from state funding. With the right leadership, I am confident these challenges can and will be met. What areas of the budget would you target for spending cuts if necessary? I feel the board will need to work with the superintendent and come up with creative ways to do more with less. We need to expect cuts and prepare for the worse case. I feel all areas of the budget are subject to budgetary cuts. How deep the cuts are will be determined by our legislature.
Are the district's teachers being compensated fairly? Why or why not?
From what I understand Baldwin is at the lower end of the pay scale for our league. I feel if you want to recruit and retain the best teachers and staff you need to offer competitive salaries. In times of budget cuts this can be a challenge but if we give the teachers a plan and vision for the future we can work through the hard times and eventually I would hope we can improve their compensation.
Under what circumstances would you favor increasing property taxes?
You can never say never but I feel the taxpayers of our district cannot afford any more increases and we need to make every effort to avoid a tax increase.