Full Name: Charles Schneider
What office are you seeking? Plano CUSD88 School Board
What is your political party? Board elections are nonpartisan; Republican
What is your current age? 54
Occupation and Employer: Superintendent, Tonica CCSD
What offices, if any, have you previously held? None
Education: B.S. Education - University of Illinois, M.S. Ed. Administration (Principal) & Ed.S. Ed. Administration (Superintendent) - Northern Illinois University
Community involvement: Past cub scout assistant, volunteer at Plano Schools in the Music Department, community volunteer keeping up our subdivision entry
Marital status/Immediate family: Wife, Stephanie; two children both attend Plano Schools
Why are you running for office?
I will be retiring soon after 33 years of service in public schools and wish to continue that service in the capacity as a board member if selected by the community.
What makes you qualified for the office you’re seeking?
School administrator for the past 20 years with a very strong background in community collaboration, school finance, school policies/law/State Board of Education regulations, academic standards, facilities management, extra-curriculars, transportation and many other interactions associated with school leadership.
Have you sought and/or received any training to run for your local school board? If so, from whom?
Illinois Association of School Boards candidate training.
Would you propose any changes to the curriculum? If so, what?
Board members generally do not propose curriculum but approve changes brought by the administration with input from the various school personnel or stakeholders. Many changes involve State Board of Education requirements of which the leadership and staff facilitate the implementation. I believe our District has a solid curriculum and instruction process that is continually being reviewed and enhanced to meet student needs.
Are LGBTQ students treated fairly in your district?
I have not heard of any concerns related to this topic. I have seen a very inclusive environment while attending various events at the schools.
What is your assessment of how Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is handled in your school district?
Similarly with the LGBTQ question, I have not heard of any concerns related to DEI. The schools, from my understanding, facilitate this very well at all levels.
Do you believe the district needs to make any changes to improve DEI in your district?
If changes are needed they would come out of concern from students, parents or staff or suggestions on how to enhance DEI as well. We can always improve to ensure everyone feels supported and valued.
Are teachers in your district paid adequately now and in retirement?
The salaries and benefits for staff are competitive with surrounding districts. Retirement is not really under district control other than any retirement enhancements that may exist in the contract for when an employee enters that system such as TRS or IMRF.
Would you support changes to teacher pay scales? If so, how?
Changes are subject to collective bargaining (negotiations) of which pay scales are just one part. We should be open to this topic as part of “negotiating in good faith”.
What is your assessment of the district superintendent’s compensation?
The compensation package is commensurate with other area Districts.
Would you make any changes to how the district superintendent is compensated?
Administrator contracts are also negotiated and compensation is just one part of an entire contractual package. Any changes would need to be negotiated in consideration of the entire contractual package.
Do you support the current superintendent? Please explain.
I currently support the superintendent, but everyone always have opportunities for improvement.
Should schools in your district adopt and teach sex education according to the National Sex Education Standards? Please explain.
No. Schools and communities should determine what is appropriate to include in the curriculum at the various grade levels.
What is your assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic was handled locally?
This became a very emotional topic in many communities. Not everyone agreed with all the decisions and schools were placed in the middle of the topic. Overall I think the pandemic was handled as best it could have been given the many factors that had to be considered. The biggest disservice, in my opinion, was when the Governor pulled the local control away from schools at the last moment after providing them with local control over mitigations.
What did you learn from the pandemic?
How quickly schools were able to turn the switch from what we knew as schooling to something completely different. In person instruction is the best format but we also learned that for some students remote learning engaged them more and they were more successful. We also learned that there are gaps created in student learning of which Plano is doing a great job at addressing.
Are voters that support your district taxed at an appropriate level?
Property taxes involve several factors and overall I believe the District has been thoughtful in their levy requests. The district has very strong fund balances. Having a deep background in school finance I will look at the financials of the district to determine if there are ways to better utilize funding sources. The district should continue to secure a grant that helped to abate $1.9 million in property taxes.
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?
Yes but as a process of determining better uses of funds through supporting a multi-year financial plan that would maintain programs and services. After reviewing the budget the district is in very good shape financially.
Will you accept the voters’ decision in your race on Election Day?
What is your position on open, transparent government?
We can always find ways to ensure better transparency.
Do you support the Freedom of Information Act and citizens’ ability to freely access government records?