Dan Hunt, District 728 School Board
Family: I am an 18 year resident of Rogers where I live with my wife Shannon and my daughter Madison who is in the 8th grade at Rogers Middle School.
Occupation: Hunt Painting Inc.
Previous civic and community involvement: I am an active member of Mary Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Rogers. I have participated in numerous political events parades etc.. in the Rogers area over the years. I’ve helped organize and assist in two fundraisers for families in our community. I have chaired the largest fundraiser of the year for Mary Queen of Peace Catholic School. I am also a member of the Knights of Columbus.
1. What prompted you to run for the Elk River Area School Board?
I am a fiscally disciplined small business owner who has to balance his checkbook each month. We should expect the same from our school board. I am concerned with the administration’s proposal to the voters on Nov. 6th to renew the expiring levy and propose a second one which will result in higher taxes. Yet, if passed still results in a $1.9 million budget deficit.
2. What makes you qualified to be a member of the School Board?
Two terms on the Mary Queen of Peace Catholic School Advisory Board. My firm belief that we as a society are failing our children. We must demand higher standards from our teachers and we must demand true fiscal accountability from our administration.
3. What facets of the newly formulated strategic plan are you most fascinated with that you see the greatest potential for growth in the district.
I am fascinated by the fact that a $1.9 million budget deficit in the 2013-2014 school year would be considered strategic. I do however think we should continue to explore the public/private partnerships needed to fund proposals such as Rogers/Zimmerman auditoriums.
4. What are the biggest threats the Elk River Area School District faces?
1. Flat or declining enrollment, it seems the district has a business as usual attitude while ignoring the reality that the kind of rapid growth we have experienced in the past 15 years is sadly now in the past.
2. The erosion of the public trust.
5. Do you support the operating levy renewal? Why or why not? Do you support the second operating levy question?
Levies have expiration dates for a reason; unfortunately the district has become reliant on the funding and cannot survive without it. We were told at the time of passage that this would never need to be renewed.
A poll tested wish list that any parent would be crazy not to support just doesn’t fit with the present fiscal realities of the district.
6. If the levies fail, massive cuts will needed to balance the budget. What elements of the strategic plan will still be doable in your mind? What will your approach to cuts be?
If the levies fail the district risks the loss of the public trust. I am confident that with the election of a new and fiscally conservative board we can turn this district around and put the district on a fiscally conservative path.
7. Momentum is building to look at ways of adding auditoriums in Zimmerman and Rogers. What are your thoughts on what the role of the School Board will be to support this endeavor?
With a budget deficit of $ 1.9 million in the 2013-2014 school year this clearly isn’t the time to look at building expansions at either campus. Momentum may be building on the school board for this project but having spent time out in the public door knocking recently I found very little momentum for these proposals primarily because of the tax implications.
8. Equity has been an issue in the Elk River Area School District for a number of years. What work still must be done to remedy this?
Work closer with your local/state representatives.
9. Local manufacturers and those across the state and country often have a difficult time filling positions because applicants lack the necessary skills to perform the work. What can be done at a local level to help fix this?
One suggestion may be to offer more life skills classes in the schools another would be more job specific classes in shop such as welding and electricians.
10. So much has been learned about the brain and the importance of the first few years of a child’s life. Does the school district do enough reach the families of young children, so the children who show up at kindergarten at age 5 are prepared?
It is not the school districts responsibility to participate in raising our children prior to kindergarten.
11. What separates your candidacy for School Board from your opponents?
I am conservative.