Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 18, 2018

Elliott: School board must listen to ‘we the people’

By Nicole Major, Ledger staff writer | Aug 30, 2017

This year, 15 contenders are in the running for seats on the Fairfield Community School District’s board of directors.

The Ledger will showcase each one of those candidates with mini-profiles, which will run from now until just before the election on Sept. 12.

Candidates were given the opportunity to respond to five questions. Today’s showcase features James Lee Elliot,  competing for one of the three four-year terms up for election.


1. Please briefly explain what prompted you to run for a seat on the FCSD board of directors?

The citizens of any given public school system in America elect a school board to represent their needs and interests, not to rubber stamp the needs, interests and agenda of out-of-control administrative bureaucracy. The majority vote of the current school board has a record of not listening to their constituents. Too often, they assume that they have a blank check with unlimited authority, and power and freedom with no accountability to do what they think is best for students, parents, grandparents, guardians, teachers, associates and support staff.


2. What do you think the current board is doing right? Are there any areas that you think the board could improve upon?

The majority vote of the current board has been predictable and consistent if you think rubber stamping the agendas of out-of-control administrative bureaucracy is the right thing to do. If you do, there are candidates on the Sept. 12 ballot that will continue business as usual for you.

Areas needing improvement:

No. 1: Going directly to the people and listening to their needs, interests and concerns for their children, home, families, communities and their pocketbooks that supply the funds to operate public education.

No. 2: Assist parents, grandparents and guardians that are afraid to assist their prekindergarten through third-grade children with math, phonics and even reading, because they might not understand the correct way to become globally competitive in a world of Common Core political correctness. (Eliminate common core).

No. 3: Assist some administration to find new jobs.


3. If elected to the school board, what assets would you bring to the table? Please talk about both your professional and personal experiences.

My employment brought me to Fairfield approximately 35 years ago, during which time I had the opportunity to serve on the board of directors on the Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce and chair the merchants and services committee.

I have many years of managing million dollar businesses, overseeing all store operations, store remodels, new store openings, budgeting, buying, merchandising and payroll. I have also hired, trained and evaluated hundreds of co-workers. My wife and our seven children all graduated from Fairifield High School, and I see many further generations attending and graduating from FCSD.

During my public school years, my father was the superintendent of school, and before retirement, was the assistant director of school reorganization from the state of Illinois. I attended Northeast Missouri State Teachers College in Kirksvill, Missouri. I studied agriculture and economics, but left to pursue agriculture and management interests.


4. What is your stance on the latest hot button issues, such as grade alike, Libertyville Elemtary School closing, etc.?

These hot button issues and the etc. should never have become hot button issues in the first place! Elected and nonelected FCSD leadership has alienated a lot of people within this district.

My stance on these issues in the order listed in this question would have been, no, no, and no! The grade alike decision by the majority vote of school board members ignored the majority of surveys from parents and teachers that stated not to force grade alike upon this district. Grade alike was an administrative agenda sold to “we the people” that, in order to improve education, teachers were in need of more collaboration. This is the problem, there is too much administrative collaboration. This district is in need of coagulation to stop the bleeding.

The Libertyville Elementary School closing decision by the majority vote of school board members ignored 500 constituents asking for a redress of their grievances to not close their community’s grade school. The etc. decisions by the majority vote of school board members ignored 1,000 constituents asking for a redress of their grievances. Now, we are witnessing the results of what happens when the majority vote of any school board ignores their constituents.

There are at least four candidates on the Sept. 12 ballot that can change this trend of ignoring constituents. Only in America can you have 22 candidates vying for president of the United States or 15 candidates on the ballot for school board.

You have a choice of business as usual or a choice for change to represent your interests. We have to preserve this freedom for our future generations of Americans.


5. What unique thing or things about you helps to distinguish you from your peers?

I believe in a purpose driven life — and there is a purpose for every life of a child. This election is not about me, but it is about our children, grandchildren and any future generations that want to call FCSD their home.

Thirteen years ago, I was given a unique opportunity to observe from a unique perspective how 21st Century public education affects students, parents, grandparents, guardians, teachers, associates and support staff. For 13 years, I strove to exceed the expectations of providing a good, clean, safe learning environment at Washington Elementary School as their custodian.

My, what a public education that I have received from that unique experience that none of my peers can claim. I have learned that within a school district, there is no one more important than the next, including administration, the superintendent or the school board members, because it takes each and every one working together to make the whole system go.

I have learned that you don’t have to have matching DNA to truly love a child, and that often children may forget what teachers, parents or grandparents taught them, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

I have attended 14 of the last 16 regularly scheduled school board meetings, many of the special meetings and the public hearings of the 2017-18 FCSD budget. I have addressed the school board and asked questions at these meetings when allowed. None of my peers can claim that unique advantage.

Now then, I have used a lot of I’s in this dialogue, but this is not about me. It’s about you — and I will continue to humbly serve you “the people” if you should choose me on Sept. 12.



Comments (1)
Posted by: Laura Miller | Aug 31, 2017 17:28

Good luck,James!

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