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OSWEGO ELECTION FORUM: Matt Bauman Epitome of Courage, Communication, Collaboration

Mar 27, 2017 01:13PM ● Published by Steven Jack

The late, great President John F. Kennedy once said, “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”  I absolutely could not agree more, and I know that current SD308 Board President and Candidate for Reelection, Matt Bauman, strongly concurs as well.  

Matt’s impartial and transparent desire for what is best for the families, children and residents of this community combined with his ability to excel in the three “C’s” of leadership – courage, communication and collaboration – warrant his reelection not only to the SD308 Board but also as the President of the aforementioned Board. 

It’s been my pleasure to get to know Matt and his wonderful family over the past four plus years, and I have coached his little ones in multiple sports too.  Through my exposure to Matt both personally and while observing his actions on the SD308 Board, it is very apparent that Matt is a strong man of faith, an individual with the best outcome for all in mind rather than any personal agendas and a solid leader.  

School District 308 is currently facing a challenging financial situation.  Per the Oswego Ledger-Sentinel, bankruptcy looms in five years if major changes are not implemented despite the reality that our wonderful teachers make less than more than half of neighboring districts, our excellent administrators have been on a pay freeze for some time now and our spirited citizens pay the third highest amount of property taxes as a percentage of home value in the country per a Zillow report.  

We will need courage and leadership to guide us through these decisions in a manner that does not undermine the opportunities for our students and families and does not stunt the development of this amazing area we call home.  As he has done many times in the past on the Board under challenging circumstances, Matt will approach these issues with a calm, steady and levelheaded approach that takes all factors into account and creates the best possible outcome.  I have witnessed Matt, as a Board Member, have the courage to stand up for the students in tough times, and I know he will continue to do so. 

Additionally, Matt is an effective and honest communicator who demands the same scrupulousness from those that work with him on the Board and those that lead our students in SD308.  The tests we are facing are multi-faceted, complicated problems, but Matt will make sure to reach out to all affected parties and listen to all perspectives before finding the best solution.  Matt makes a point of speaking with the subject matter experts, teachers and administrators, about school problems, and I have frequently seen him ask parents directly for their opinions about the direction of our district and its schools.  He is not paying lip service, but rather gathering valuable information to formulate the finest solution. 

Finally, Matt’s mastery of the third “C” of leadership – collaboration – will be indispensable as we move forward as a district and city.  As SD308 Board Member, Jared Ploger, recently stated, there are two pieces to our current financial situation – a macro piece and a micro piece.  The macro piece, among other items, necessitates lobbying the state of Illinois and working with our elected officials at the state level to educate them on the dire needs and get the overdue funding flowing.  

The micro piece, among other items, requires working with Gail Johnson and the Village of Oswego staff, especially the Economic Development individuals, to devise plans and have the high level executive conversations with leaders of businesses and corporations to draw more of that industrial and corporate base to our community for an improved and more diversified tax basis that at least shares the heavy burden shouldered by individual property taxpayers in the community.  

This dual pronged approach, if successfully enacted, will simultaneously improve the lives of students, families, teachers and administrators while alleviating the strain on tax paying residents.  Matt has already demonstrated the ability to realize that the challenges facing the school district go beyond the classroom, and he has made a point to discuss and meet with elected officials and village leadership to collaboratively solve the problems.  I have no doubt he will continue these efforts going forward – as a community, we are all in this together!

Matt Bauman’s consistent display of character and excellence in the three “C’s” of leadership – courage, communication and collaboration – make him an outstanding candidate for the SD308 Board and its President position.  Come election time, please get out, vote and add the fourth “C” to the list – Check the box next to Bauman!  Good luck to all the candidates and please remember to vote on April 4th.      

Chris “Coach Chris” Jackson


Elections, Today, Opinion

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