Voters in the Orion school district will choose four school board members from five candidates on Tuesday, April 2. Incumbent Karl Kane missed an Orion PTA candidate forum because he was out of town on a work trip. Given a list of questions asked at the forum, he provided answers.

1) Short bio

My name is Karl Kane and I am 49 years old.  I have served on the Orion school board for six years.  Prior to that I was on the Orion village board.  My educational background is that I am a Geneseo High School graduate, I have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois, and a master’s in business administration from St. Ambrose.  I have lived in Orion since 1996 and have three children.  My oldest graduated from Orion and is studying to be an elementary school teacher at Illinois State.  My other two children are still attending Orion.  One graduates this year and the other will be a freshman at Orion High School in the fall.

2) What is your motivation for serving as a school board member?

I strongly believe that children are our future.  Orion is a small community and needs persons to volunteer for these types of positions.  My motivation is to improve the school district in order to better serve the students and the community.

3) What are the primary responsibilities of a school board member?

The main responsibility is to provide guidance and direction to the superintendent and the administration.  The goal is to provide the best education possible within the financial means of the district.

4) What are the top three strengths and weaknesses of the Orion school district?

Strengths

The Orion students

The Community as a whole

The Administration and Staff

Weaknesses

Finances are always a concern

School Safety

Size of Enrollment for the future

5) What steps should the district take to improve safety in the schools?

This is a very broad topic.  We are already doing many things to improve safety from the “people” side of things.  The staff is always looking for any issues or concerns within our student body.  More needs to be done from the “Facilities” side of things.  There are many options for this.  None of them are low cost.  This should be a priority for the next board.

6) What can the board do to keep aides?

Aides have a very positive impact on our students.  The best way to keep aides is to ensure the working environment is positive and that they are paid competitively.  The board and administration need to continue to work to attract and retain aides.

7) What value does vocational education have?

A vocational education has the same value as a non-vocational education.  Not every student needs to go on to college to be successful in life.  In fact, many students go to college who would be better off going to a vocational school.  Many vocational careers have a higher overall pay than those requiring a college education.  The bottom line is that everyone is always learning in life.  Learning new skills each and every day.  Whether those skills are learned from books or from the field does not make one more important than the other.

8) Closing statement

I am running for an additional term on the school board as a way to serve the community.  I believe Orion is doing many great things.  There are always improvements that can and should be made.  I believe those improvements need to be done in a financially stable fashion.