Full Name: Robert (Larry) Cabeen
What office are you seeking? School Board member District 304
What is your political party? Nonpartisan
What is your current age? 77
Occupation and Employer: Retired, former airline pilot
What offices, if any, have you previously held? I am a current board member of District 304. In addition I have served on and been president of several boards for example, Baker Church Board of Trustees, former homeowner’s association and the Experimental Aircraft Association.
Campaign Website: robertcabeenfor304.wix.com/mysite
Education: I graduated from the University of Illinois with honors receiving a bachelor of science degree. My major was education, and my minor was aviation technology.
Community involvement: Elgin Master Choral (past president), Geneva Learners, Sierra Club, and Prairie Path. I also volunteer at the Peck Farm Butterfly House.
Marital status/Immediate family: I am married to Pam and have two adult children.
Why are you running for office?
I have found the work on the school board to be interesting and I enjoy being engaged with the community. Having served my first 4-year term, I understand that there is still work to be done to help 304 be the best district possible and want to be part of that process.
What makes you qualified for the office you’re seeking?
I would say, experience (current board vice president), education (education major college degree), and temperament (I like working with people).
Have you sought and/or received any training to run for your local school board? If so, from whom?
I have not received any training on running for any office. However. I have received a great deal of required training on how to be a board member from IASB after my last election four years ago.
Would you propose any changes to the curriculum? If so, what?
I generally support the expansion of honors courses. I also look forward to courses shared with local colleges that allow dual credit.
Are LGBTQ students treated fairly in your district?
It is my expectation that all students in District 304 will be treated fairly and respectfully. I believe that we are doing a good job in this respect.
What is your assessment of how Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is handled in your school district?
Everyone at 304 understands that this is an important area of concern (in fact, school districts are rated on how well they do with this mater). We are rated as having some distance to go, but I think we are making progress.
Do you believe the district needs to make any changes to improve DEI in your district?
This is ongoing work that will eventually (if slowly) yield improvement in this area.
Are teachers in your district paid adequately now and in retirement?
As a current board member (involved in teacher negotiations), I should not comment on current pay. In Geneva we would like to have top quality teachers, while there is as shortage of people entering the field. Given the cost of a degree I think that starting teachers pay could be too low to attract the best candidates. The retired teachers I know seem to be doing OK.
Would you support changes to teacher pay scales? If so, how?
We are still in negotiations, so no comment.
What is your assessment of the district superintendent’s compensation?
Given the current superintendent’s long years of service, the generosity of past boards, and the modest size of 304, the current salary is well above average.
Would you make any changes to how the district superintendent is compensated?
Do you support the current superintendent? Please explain.
I have been fully involved in the hiring of a new superintendent.
Should schools in your district adopt and teach sex education according to the National Sex Education Standards? Please explain.
The current sex education curriculum has been used in Geneva schools for many years. It’s the same curriculum we all know and approve of. As this curriculum meets all current requirements, I see no reason to change.
What is your assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic was handled locally?
Under the circumstances, a new and unknown pandemic (we were all wondering if we should be washing our groceries at the start), I think the district did very well. We managed to keep more kids in school more days than most schools. Eventually, after issues with spacing, class size and masks were resolved, we were able to get to almost normal while meeting state guidelines.
What did you learn from the pandemic?
Whether one felt COVID was a serious problem or an overblown issue, unsurprisingly the welfare of our children generates strong feelings. I had many serious conversations with parents on both sides of this issue. The responsibility to safeguard the health of our students and all school personnel of our town, must and does come first for me and I think we did just that at 304.
Are voters that support your district taxed at an appropriate level?
To operate a top flight school system costs money. These schools support the property values of all taxpayers in the district. Therefore, yes.
Would you support any plans to raise taxes in the district? If so, what should the additional revenue be spent on?
Not at this time.
Would you support lowering taxes in the district? If so, what programs or services in the district would you cut?
Not at this time.
Will you accept the voters’ decision in your race on Election Day?
Yes, of course.
What is your position on open, transparent government?
I strongly support the most open, transparent government possible. Some things in government are required to be negotiated in private, pay rates for example, but the final action must be public and open for all to see. The tendency to keep unpleasant things secret is common to all bureaucracy and must be watchfully resisted.
Do you support the Freedom of Information Act and citizens’ ability to freely access government records?