Jack Roeser Blog

Thoughts, views, and observations forged during a long, active life, 83 years, by Jack Roeser- inventor, engineer, manufacturer, soldier, racing sailor, pilot, entrepreneur, classical liberal (conservative) activist, father and husband, and proud American.

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Jack Roeser is Chairman and founder of Otto Engineering Inc. a manufacturer of electronic control and communication switches for aerospace, medical and industrial uses. Otto’s success is marked by the high precision and quality of its products. Jack has received over 50 patents in Electrical, Mechanical, Machinery and Marine products. In 1994, he ran for Governor in the Republican primary, receiving 26% of the primary vote. For over 25 years, Jack has been an advocate of education reform through the application of free market principles and of school choice. Jack's sport is sailing; he has won the Chicago - Mackinac race among many others.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

An Education Ground-Breaker

A historic occasion took place last month in Pingree Grove, here in our local District 300. There was a ground breaking ceremony for the new charter school that will open up at the start of the next school year. This is historic because it’s the first charter school of any size that has been started as part of a newly developed community. The Cambridge Lakes Development Company did something creative and innovative, something that did not require higher property taxes to support student growth. They are building a charter school right in the middle of the new community they developed. This project will be a tremendous benefit to the entire district. It’s really good business when you can find a way to profit your corporation, increase customer satisfaction with your product, and help the taxpayers.

This is an icebreaking move away from the difficult, union-controlled operating system in the public K-12 school system. The present system has a tremendous capital investment. Many people are supportive of public schools because that is what they grew up with, but they don’t fully understand how inadequate they have become in educating students as compared to other countries. In fact I have often described the present K-12 system as being the most dysfunctional organization in the State of Illinois. While the charter school system is not totally ideal, it certainly is a big step forward in improving the present sad condition of public education.

The charter school solution has both financial and academic benefits. Financially it means that the operators of the charter school system in this case will get about $7,000 dollars per pupil for each school year. Since D300 gets about $10,000 a year from various tax sources- federal, state, and local- per child, they profit by about $3,000 for every child attending the charter school. Academically, charter schools are proven to provide a better level of education to its students while operating on much less.

The Cambridge Lakes Charter School is scheduled to open in the Fall of 2007 and will eventually serve up to 1,000 students. We hope its success will be the ground-breaker for many more such innovative solutions for providing a higher quality of education to a growing population of students WITHOUT raising taxes, either locally or statewide.


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