WASHINGTON — Seven candidates including all four incumbents are vying for seats on the District 50 School Board in the April 4 election.
Incumbents George Garcia, David Price, Samantha Robbins and James Washburn Sr. are being challenged by Greg Corkron, Shelly Hancock and Rebecca Rossman.
Price has been on the board for nearly 20 years. Washburn has served since 1993, including stints as president, vice president and secretary. Robbins has been a board member for six years.
There are two schools in K-8 District 50: John L. Hensey Elementary School and Beverly Manor Middle School.
Price, 62, is employed by Peoria Public Schools and is an Illinois High School Association registered basketball official.
Robbins, 40, and her husband Josh own a small excavating company in Sunnyland.
Washburn, 65, is a retired construction worker.
Corkron, 36, is a disabled veteran and Farmers Insurance agent and owner in Washington.
Rossman, 39, is CEO of Neighborhood House in Peoria and an eight-year member of the U.S. Army Reserve.
Corkron said he's concerned about two issues: a lack of parental involvement in the district because parents feel isolated from the board, and by what he considers bullying by some teachers.
"I plan to work side-by-side with other board members and administrators to get the (bullying) issues taken care of," he said. "Students shouldn't have anxiety about going to school because of teachers harassing them."
Rossman said funding issues have caused cuts in staff and programming in the district, and she can help.
"I'd like to utilize my knowledge and experience with (not-for-profits) — Neighborhood House has had a 34 percent increase in revenue in three years since I've been there and there was a 50 percent increase in revenue at the Knox County Child Advocacy Center in five years under my leadership there — to assist the board in diversifying funding and strategic planning," she said.
As always, Price said, the major issue facing the district is keeping it on a strong financial footing.
"We must strive to give our students the best foundation possible as they enter high school and beyond with the resources we have available," he said.
School safety is a big issue for Robbins.
"Our board and superintendent (Chad Allaman) are continuing to seek new ways to ensure the safety of everyone," she said.
Washburn said he doesn't see any major issues in the district.
"We just need to keep on top of everything to assure we don't have issues," he said.
Corkron said he's running for the board because it's time for a change.
"It's time for the board to be more open to listening to district parents' concerns and take action on those concerns," he said. "I have children at both district schools. I have a vested interest in making sure the board is doing the right things."
Rossman said she wants to create a vision for the district that balances the best interests of students, teachers and the community.
"My vision is giving teachers the time and supplies they need to teach, meeting the diverse needs of students to set them on equally diverse paths, and improving the financial health of the district," she said.
Washburn said there are several items he'd like to see through to completion including adding air conditioning to all classrooms and working with Allaman and other board members to keep the district in good financial shape, "especially with the news from Springfield not looking too good."
Price said he's running again to maintain continuity on the board.
Robbins said she believes in serving the community, and being on the board is one way to do so.
Garcia and Hancock did not respond to requests for information.
Steve Stein can be reached at 686-3114 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.