Student achievement, school revenue hot issues in UTHS District School Board race

Originally Posted Online: April 06, 2013, 11:44 pm
Last Updated: April 07, 2013, 12:40 am
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By Anthony Watt, awatt@qconline.com

Student achievement and school revenue topped the list of issues for candidates vying for seats on the United Township High School District School Board in Tuesday's elections.

There are four open seats on the board and five candidates pursuing them. The candidates are Wendy Wassell-Verschoore, Susan Koska, Donald J. Sproul, Dan Jecks and Harry Arvanis. They were asked to answer a few questions about themselves and why they are running. All but Ms. Koska responded. She was out of town at the time The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus made the query, and could not fill out the survey in time.

Each of the candidates framed their responses in slightly different ways, but all said providing a quality education to the students despite declining state and federal aid is the critical issue facing the district.

All of the candidates have experience with school boards. Ms. Koska, Mr. Sproul and Mr. Arvanis are all veterans of the UT board. Ms. Wassell-Verschoore is a recent appointment to the board, fulfilling the term of another member who had to leave. Mr. Jecks is a longtime member of the Silvis School District's board.

NAME: Wendy Wassell-Verschoore
AGE: 43
ADDRESS: East Moline
OCCUPATION: Certified public accountant
FAMILY: Husband, Kevin, and sons, Keith and Alex
EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in business, Western Ill. University
PRIOR OFFICE: East Moline Park Board
WHY RUNNING: I have always been a strong proponent of public education.  I believe my background in governmental accounting will provide additional insight to the board.
KEY ISSUE: Continuing to offer students the opportunity to receive a well-rounded education that enhances their individual strengths and allows them to get extra help in areas of weakness during an era of new federal and state mandates combined with continued budget cuts from the state and federal government.

NAME: Donald J. Sproul.
FAMILY: Wife, Nancy; daughter Betsy, and son, Peter
EDUCATION: Graduated Western Illinois University.
OFFICE SOUGHT: United Township High School Board
PRIOR OFFICE: Current UT board member and past president, member of East Moline Planning and Zoning Commission; current chairman Black Hawk Division of the Illinois Association of School Boards; member East Moline/Silvis Junior Chamber of Commerce
WHY RUNNING: My purpose for running for this position is because I have a lifelong interest in education. I am aware of what a good education is for young people. Serving on the UT board gives me an opportunity to give back to the community.
KEY ISSUE: I find key issues are "No Child Left Behind and Test Scores" which are mandated by the federal and state governments. However, neither the state or the federal government provides adequate funding for these mandates.
COMMENTS: I am honored to have served United Township in the past and I look forward to serving in the future.

NAME: Dan Jecks
AGE: 36
OCCUPATION: H&R Block tax preparer
FAMILY: Married; four children, ages 7 to 12
EDUCATION: Graduated from UTHS, bachelor's degree from Eastern Illinois University, doctorate in education from Western Illinois University
PRIOR OFFICE: Three terms on Silvis School Board
WHY RUNNING: I joined the Silvis School Board when my kids were not quite yet going to school. I wanted to be part of the school and know what's going on before they got there. Now they are getting ready to go to UT, so I want to do the same.
KEY ISSUE: I think probably the most important issue is making sure we can continue to provide programs and services for all types of students. UT also should be trying to attract families who are new to the Quad-Cities.
COMMENTS: I also am on the Silvis Little League Board and the Junior Panthers Basketball Board. I think I'll bring the ability to represent a large number of parents who have children who'll be going up to UT.

NAME: Harry Arvanis
AGE: Not listed
ADDRESS: East Moline
OCCUPATION: Retired teacher
FAMILY: Wife, Linda; and children, Traci, Tina, Jodi, Todd, Scott and Brian
EDUCATION: Doctorate in educational leadership
PRIOR OFFICE(S): Served two previous terms on the school board and 29 years on the park board
WHY RUNNING: It has been my lifelong goal to to make the education of our children as good as we can.
KEY ISSUE: Acquiring the funds necessary to provide the educational experience our children need.
Providing teachers with the training necessary to meet new legislative requirements.


Local events heading

  Today is Monday, Sept. 22, the 265th day of 2014. There are 100 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The board of education has granted Thursday as a holiday for the children, with the expectation that parents who desire to have their children attend the Scott County Fair will do so on that day and save irregularity the rest of the week.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The guard fence around the new cement walk at the Harper House has been removed. The blocks are diamond shape, alternating in black and white.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Rev. R.B. Williams, former pastor of the First Methodist Church, Rock Island, was named superintendent of the Rock Island District.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Abnormally high temperatures and lack of rainfall in Illinois during the past week have speeded maturing of corn and soybean crops.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Installation of a new television system in St. Anthony's Hospital, which includes a closed circuit channel as well as the three regular Quad-Cities channels, has been completed and now is in operation.
1989 -- 25 years ago: When the new Moline High School was built in 1958, along with it were plans to construct a football field in the bowl near 34th Street on the campus. Wednesday afternoon, more than 30 years later, the Moline Board of Education Athletic Board sent the ball rolling toward the possible construction of that field by asking superintendent Richard Hennigan to take to the board of education a proposal to hire a consultant.

(More History)