Republican candidate Jason Kasiar looks to prioritize education with election win
With education reform proving to be a main topic in Illinois for the November elections, Republican House candidate Jason Kasiar from District 118 spoke with Southwest Illinois News about why the issue is of particular importance to his community.
As school board president of Eldorado, Kasiar said he has seen his school system struggle to meet its needs due to high taxes.
"We are a high poverty level area, so we really depend on the state aid that comes through," Kasiar told the Southwest Illinois News. "The sad thing is we know that we have to subtract 11 percent to 12 percent (from our budget) and so we base our budget upon that."
Kasiar said those taxes are making it difficult to educate students and hold on to teachers.
"I'm proud to say that we have not had to let any teachers go as our funding has decreased and decreased and decreased, and we've been able to stay afloat," Kasiar said. "I don't know how much longer that's going to last, but there again, we are costing people jobs. Our numbers of students and schools are declining because people are moving out of Illinois. So therefore, the state aid that we are having to depend on for our school system is being affected, and obviously, people are moving out. There's less real estate tax money coming in for our school systems and then we don't get what we are promised from the state so it hits us twice as hard."
Kasiar, a successful businessman who owns Beck's Drugs, had the recent honor of being selected as Eldorado Elementary School's "celebrity reader." The celebrity readers are chosen from those in the community who donate their time by giving back.
"I read a story about Stephen Curry, the NBA basketball player, and his story and his faith and how he (succeeded) from being an underdog," Kasiar said. "So my moral to the story was, dream big because you can do it. You can do anything you set your mind to. Just you think about it. Don't let anybody ever tell you that you can't do something, because if you believe you can, then you can."
With Kasiar being a repeat pick for celebrity reader, a parent of two teens and school board president, education is of particular importance to him. Kasiar insisted that he's ready to turn his passion into action if he wins the November's election.
"I'm going to look at the state budget, and I'm going to find places where we are absolutely just wasting money," Kasiar said. "Get rid of it. We've got pet projects we are funding for legislators, because they want to stay in power. They want to make sure they get their votes because they are taking care of their district and really just manipulating the district is what they are doing. Cut some of those programs that are absolutely unnecessary, and I want to know exactly, word for word, what the law says about how we are going to fund our schools."