Christopher Harford, Mazon-Verona-Kingsman Grade School Board of Education election questionnaire

Election 2024
Mazon-Verona-Kingsman Grade School Board of Education election candidate Christopher Harford

Full Name: Christopher Harford

What office are you seeking? School Board Member MVK ESD 2C

What is your political party? Republican

What is your current age? 38

Occupation and Employer: Farmer - Harford Farms, Inc. & iTrees.com, Inc.

What offices, if any, have you previously held? None

City: Mazon

Campaign Website:

Education: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign - Bachelor of Science - 2006

Community involvement: Seneca FFA Alumni - Thomas Jeschke Ag Opportunity Fund

MVK Youth Athletic Association - Little League Coach

Habitat for Humanity

MVK Parents Club

Illinois Farm Bureau

Illinois Corn Growers Association

Illinois Soybean Association

Grundy County Chamber of Commerce

Marital status/Immediate family: Spouse: Marlee Harford

Children: Cash Harford (9), Skylar Harford (7), Jett Harford (5)

Why are you running for office?

My main goal is just to be involved, and help out the school district in whatever ways I can. I hope that my knowledge and experience can help the administrators, teachers, and students flourish in the years to come. As a taxpayer, I want to ensure that our money is being used responsibly - while also helping in any ways that I can to improve the opportunities for students and educators to be successful.

What makes you qualified for the office you’re seeking?

Being a parent of three children that are, or will be, attending MVK ESD 2C, we spend a lot of time in and around the school- which helps me see things from the perspectives of the students and teachers. As a small business owner, a farmer, and an employer I have a lot of experience with what it takes to run a business (or organization), manage employees, deal with the public, and the list goes on. I have been involved with the management of many different organizations, and own and operate three separate businesses. As a community member, I have been involved with many community organizations and charitable organizations that require collaboration and working together to achieve common goals.

Have you sought and/or received any training to run for your local school board? If so, from whom?

I have begun to research and read about effective ways to be involved in a local school board from various online sources, and will continue to educate myself on the management of school districts. I plan to enroll in online training courses from the Illinois Association of School Boards.

Would you propose any changes to the curriculum? If so, what?

I plan to listen first to the educators and administrators, and be open to their ideas about what they believe is the best curriculum choices for their students. I believe teachers first and foremost are in the best position to determine how to successfully educate their students, and that it is the role of the administration to support them in that endeavor. I believe in a strong foundation of literacy, mathematics, critical thinking, and creativity for all students. I believe literacy curriculum at the elementary school level is extremely critical - and having a robust intervention program so that no child is left behind is the key to future educational success for those students. I also believe that music & art education, physical education, critical thinking, business & life skills, responsibility, and foreign language education are also very critical to the future success of our students, and our country as a whole.

Are LGBTQ students treated fairly in your district?

I believe all children have an equal right to a quality education, and that bullying and harassment for any reason should not be tolerated.

What is your assessment of how Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is handled in your school district?

I believe all children have an equal right to a quality education, and the goal of a school should be to provide a safe and effective learning environment for all children. I believe the focus of a school should be on core subjects such as mathematics, language arts, science, and social studies- while more controversial topics are the responsibility of the parents to provide.

Do you believe the district needs to make any changes to improve DEI in your district?

I am not aware of any issues in the MVK school district- but if any issues should arise I would listen to the concerns of the students, parents, teachers, and administrators involved, and try and help implement any responsible and reasonable solutions.

Are teachers in your district paid adequately now and in retirement?

I will be happy to listen to any concerns related to compensation from district employees, administrators, and taxpayers should I be elected. To answer this question effectively I would need more information.

Would you support changes to teacher pay scales? If so, how?

I will be happy to listen to any concerns related to compensation from district employees, administrators, and taxpayers should I be elected. To answer this question effectively I would need more information.

What is your assessment of the district superintendent’s compensation?

I will be happy to listen to any concerns related to compensation from district employees, administrators, and taxpayers should I be elected. To answer this question effectively I would need more information.

Would you make any changes to how the district superintendent is compensated?

I will be happy to listen to any concerns related to compensation from district employees, administrators, and taxpayers should I be elected. To answer this question effectively I would need more information.

Do you support the current superintendent? Please explain.

I believe everyone I have encountered at MVK, including the teachers and administration, have the best intentions of the students in mind, and genuinely care about the students and the school. I do expect that there will be differences of opinions along the way, and not everyone is going to walk away getting exactly what they want. No one is every going to be perfect- but as a board member it would be my responsibility to listen to the teachers, administrators, and community members and hear their concerns, discuss the issues at hand, and make the best possible informed decisions that I can. I hope to support, advise, and engage the current administration from a place of open mindedness and not from a place of defensiveness or to push an agenda.

Should schools in your district adopt and teach sex education according to the National Sex Education Standards? Please explain.

First, I would listen to the opinions of the teachers, administrators, parents, and community members before making any decisions. I believe it is important to be thoroughly informed of what the curriculum entails before adopting any curriculum. I am not currently informed on all the details of the curriculum, but I believe any controversial topics should be excluded from the curriculum, and should be the responsibility of parents to provide to their children- and that parents should have the right to opt their children out if that is their choice. The role of a school is not to replace the responsibility and guidance of a parents. One of the most important aspects of a successful curriculum is effective communications with parents- so that everyone is working together and on the same page.

What is your assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic was handled locally?

I am appreciative that by and large our district mostly remained open for in person learning. That being said, there were many aspects of the COVID policies, here in our district and across the entire educational system, which were incredibly detrimental to students. I believe many policies that were implemented and enforced did not have the best interests of students in mind, and did not provide any additional safety to students or staff. I believe that there were a lot of decisions made which were driven by irrational fear rather than common sense. I am hopeful that we can put COVID behind us and learn from our mistakes, and I am understanding that it was a difficult situation for all involved in making those decisions.

What did you learn from the pandemic?

I think it is important to look at situations like the pandemic rationally and from all angles, rather than being driven by fear and particular agendas. It seems that given the opportunity many people will make decisions out of an abundance of caution, rather than considering the risk benefit analysis. That being said, it is easy to sit on the sidelines and criticize- so hopefully we can learn from the mistakes that were made and move forward.

Are voters that support your district taxed at an appropriate level?

I believe the property taxes in our district are extremely high, and disproportionately harm rural America. Illinois in general has one of the highest property tax burdens in the nation, and Grundy County, as well as our school district, also have a property tax burden that is extremely high. I believe many of those decisions are outside of the control of a local school board member; however, I hope to be as fiscally conservative as possible while striving to improve our educational effectiveness.

Would you support any plans to raise taxes in the district? If so, what should the additional revenue be spent on?

First, I would listen to, and analyze to the best of my ability, any proposals that are presented. I would listen to the opinions of community members, staff, and administration before making any decisions. Currently, I would not be inclined to support any tax raises in our district. Before raising any additional revenue, I would want to see a full accounting of where our current revenue is spent, and exhaust any and all other possible means of achieving our goals.

Would you support lowering taxes in the district? If so, what programs or services in the district would you cut?

I would support lowering taxes in our district if at all possible. I would need to see, and analyze, a full accounting of our current spending before making any of these decisions.

Will you accept the voters’ decision in your race on Election Day?

I am running for school board to be involved in my community, and help our district in any way that I can- not for pollical gain. If the voters choose not to elect me then I will happily continue to find other ways to contribute to our community. The premise of this question seems divisive, which is not something I am interested in.

What is your position on open, transparent government?

I believe fully that an open and transparent government is necessary and important to the success of our communities.

Do you support the Freedom of Information Act and citizens’ ability to freely access government records?

Yes, I support the Freedom of Information Act and I believe citizens and taxpayers have a right to know where, why, and how their money is being spent.