In the general
election Tuesday, Nov. 3, Tim McGinty and Monte Moffett will compete for a
nonpartisan At-Large seat on the Duneland School Board.
Tribune invited both to participate in a candidate questionnaire. The
Tribune set word limits and reserved the right to edit for length.
1) Age, place of
Liberty Township, Retired educator
Porter, Retired assistant superintendent for the Duneland Community Schools
2) Why are you
seeking election to the Duneland School Board? (75 words)
McGinty: I have
spent nearly my entire adult life serving Duneland and our community’s
youth. I have done this through teaching, mentoring, coaching, community
service and as a school administrator. Being a member of the Duneland School
Board would give me a new avenue by which I can continue to serve our
community. I know that my lifelong commitment to Duneland and its kids make
me the best candidate for this position.
all the current and future challenges taking place, I would like to be in a
leadership position to use my education and 17-years’ experience to assist
the school corporation and ultimately our students. I believe that the State
of Indiana will reduce school funding due to the current economic situation
similar to the several million dollar reduction during the “Great Recession.
My experience and knowledge with school finance will be of great benefit.
3) What specific
skill sets would you bring to the position? (100 words)
McGinty: I have
the ability to not only hear what people have to say but to truly listen to
their voices and concerns. I have a strong work ethic and will seek out all
available information before making decisions. My ability to lead others
through the development and implementation of curriculum is a strength. I
believe that leadership and teamwork is about working with others and for
others. The endorsement by I-PACE is an endorsement of my skills to lead and
encourage others in a trustworthy and respectful way.
Moffett: In my
41 years as an educator I have been a teacher and head basketball coach,
athletic director, assistant principal, HS principal and assistant
superintendent. In my 17 years as Assistant Superintendent, I was
responsible for all aspects of the corporation other than development of the
budget. Some of my major responsibilities and experiences were: curriculum,
instruction, assessment, accreditation, employee hiring, discipline and
discharge, educational law and policy, contracts, human resources, employee
benefits, negotiations, and operations. My 17 years in a major leadership
position gives me knowledge and experience as a decision-maker for the
entire Duneland School Community.
4) What priorities
would you pursue if elected? (75 words)
McGinty: As a
school board member, I will help form policy that supports the needs of our
community, our teachers, and primarily our students. My number one priority
is always to provide our students with a quality education. I will listen to
all stakeholders and make well informed decisions. It is also imperative
that we form policy that will help to guide the Duneland Schools through
challenging economic times.
always put students first in the decisions I make. To listen to parents,
students, teachers, staff, and concerned citizens and use their input to
guide my decisions. To be fiscally responsible, always look for value in
school expenditures, and be tax neutral. To meet the academic needs of all
students. To be innovative and intentional in our curriculum so all students
receive the education they need for their post-graduation plan.
yourself from your opponent and indicate why in particular you believe
yourself to be the better candidate. (100 words)
is the community where I grew up and attended school. I spent 24 years
serving the youth in Duneland. On recommendation of the Duneland Teachers
Association, I was endorsed by I-PACE. I could not be prouder to have the
support of the Duneland Teachers Association because they are at the heart
of what we do so well in Duneland. I am a trusted community member and
tested leader. My commonsense decision making and collaborative mindset,
strong work ethic, and positive community relationships that I have
developed throughout my life will be strengths that I will bring to the
my opponent I’m a longtime educator, teacher, and administrator who loves
kids, but what differentiates us is my education and experience. As
assistant superintendent I was in charge of curriculum, instruction, HR, and
operations, but what really separates me is the knowledge and experience I
gained as a leader. As we continue with the pandemic, we don’t know what
challenges we will face such as an anticipated budget shortfall. I was in a
leadership position responsible for navigating the challenging issues that
faced DSC. I believe leadership experience makes a difference.
6) How do you think
the Duneland School Corporation has performed in its handling of the
COVID-19 pandemic? Explain. (75 words)
think that administration has handled the situation well. A survey of all
stakeholders communicated to the administration the concerns and desires of
the community. Almost daily communication with the Porter County Health
Department has given them expert advice on how to react to situations. The
administration devised a plan to best accommodate all the concerns and needs
of stakeholders and continues to communicate and be transparent on matters
relating to COVID-19.
first responsibility is to offer a DSC quality education in a healthy and
safe manner. Experts say to open schools safely you must follow three key
things: mandatory masks, social distancing, the ability to test and contact
trace. I’m a supporter of the hybrid plan because it allows for social
distancing. This along with mandatory masks and the contact tracing and
quarantining has allowed students and staff to attend school safely.
7) If elected, how
would you use your position to ensure the safety of Duneland Schools
students and employees in the midst of the pandemic? (75 words)
McGinty: I will
work closely with the administration to ensure that our students and staff
are safe. I will support all reasonable measures that the administration,
staff, support staff, and health department pursue to keep our kids and
teachers as safe as possible, including emotionally, mentally, physically,
and socially. We must continue to be diligent and intentional with safety
input and listen to all key stakeholders groups. Combining their input with
advice from national, state, and local experts should guide our decisions.
The next key component is communicating our decisions to the key
stakeholders and community in general. As a Board Member, I will use my
relationships and position to influence state and national office holders to
ensure that schools have all the necessary resources to keep our employees
and students safe.
8) In 2019,
Duneland voters overwhelmingly voted to allow the Duneland Schools to
continue collecting from Duneland property owners a supplemental property
tax rate of up to 22 cents per $100 of assessed valuation via referendum.
Explain why you do or don’t support the referendum, and where you believe
referendum funds are best used. (100 words)
supported the referendum because we need to be able to hire and retain
highly-qualified staff as well as continue to offer a wide range of programs
for our students. The referendum provides for smaller class sizes and
support personnel for struggling students. Funds should always be allocated
to people and programming that most directly affects our students. In the
end, the referendum benefits the students in our community, and that is what
the state cut funding during the Great Recession, I was one of the people
responsible for digging us out of the shortfall. The state cut DSC funding
by about $5.5 million. This money has never been replaced in the budget. As
a result we proposed the first referendum in order to maintain people and
programs. The referendum continues to be important to maintain programs and
the personnel to support them. The area that we have fallen short on is
communicating to the public where the money was used. Improving transparency
and communication will be a priority.
9) The Duneland
School Corporation was closed to out-of-district transfer students in a 2019
decision that attracted lots pf public input, both for and against. Do you
believe Duneland should remain closed to transfer students? Explain why or
why not. (100 words)
McGinty: Yes, I
believe Duneland should remain a closed system. There are positives to
opening the school district, but I believe our first obligation should be to
the students who live here and support our community.
Moffett: NO. At
my core, as a public school advocate I want all children --despite where
they live, their economic conditions, or their home lives-- to receive a
high quality education in a physically and emotionally safe and caring
environment. Duneland Schools cannot provide this to every student, but
there are some that we can help, and I know from experience that we have
made a difference in these children’s lives. Not to the detriment of any
Duneland student, I believe, we as a community can offer these opportunities
and make a difference in some students’ lives.
10) COVID-19 is a
crisis the likes of which our nation hasn’t seen in over a century--since
the 1918 influenza epidemic. What experiences or qualities make you fit to
lead in a time of crisis? (125 words)
leaders do not change who they are or how they make decisions because of a
crisis. I believe that my military experience and years as a school
principal help me in this area. Decisions should be made based on research,
trust, listening to stakeholders, working as a group, and being transparent.
I believe that I have the support of teachers because they have seen my
leadership skills firsthand. One of my strengths is bringing people with
divergent views together to accomplish a common goal.
2011 I was responsible for writing DSC’s first pandemic plan. At that time
we were not 1 to 1 in technology, but it did demonstrate a need to move in
that direction. It was clear in the guidance by the CDC that our major
responsibility was student and staff safety. One of my degrees is in Health
Education, so I do have background in the science required. Though we have
not had a pandemic in the past, I do have experience in making environmental
and safety decisions that affect the entire district. (water and air
quality, Legionnaires Disease, flu and communicable diseases, inclement
weather, tornados, school lockdowns, mercury contamination, 9-11). I am
currently taking a course at Johns Hopkins University in contact tracing.
11) Many in the
community talk about Duneland Schools exemplifying the ‘Duneland
Difference.’ Explain what the ‘Duneland Difference’ means to you and how you
would work to advance and uphold it as a member of the school board. (125
‘Duneland Difference’ is not one thing but more of an assortment of things
that we do that create a climate of shared success. Duneland has great
families, great kids, and a supportive community. Duneland has some of the
best teachers around, and hiring and retaining quality staff is important.
We also need to ensure that teachers have the professional development
opportunities to improve their skills, which will further enhance student
achievement. Duneland has always had a ‘Kids First’ attitude, and that must
continue by offering quality programming and extracurriculars. Cordial
collaboration between the union and administration is important. As a board,
we must continue to hire central office personnel who understand what our
‘Duneland Difference’ is and will provide the leadership to maintain it.
Moffett: To me
the “Duneland Difference” is people! All great schools have three common
characteristics: first, quality parents who are engaged, respectful,
patient, encouraging and supportive. Second, prepared students who are
motivated, disciplined, respectful, responsible, engaged, hardworking and
caring. Third, high quality teachers, administrators and staff who are
strong communicators, listen well, engaging, patient, knowledgeable,
dedicated, hardworking, empathetic, caring and life-long learners. The
“Duneland Difference” is that we have all three. It is imperative that DSC
continue to hire high quality teachers, administrators, and staff who
display these characteristics. As a School Board member, I will look to
maintain opportunities for parents to be engaged with our schools and
provide opportunities for students to meet their academic needs in a
supportive educational environment conducive for learning.