Laura Wassinger: Candidate Profile
Fenton H.S. D100
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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Fenton H.S. D100
Family: Married to John since 1987, 21 year old son, Max, and twin daughters, Claire and Faye, Fenton High School seniors.
Occupation: Banquet office support staff.
Education: BGS degree in Gerontology, Roosevelt University, 1986
Civic involvement: Johnson School PTA (president, chair person of fine arts and assemblies, & Parent Leadership Committee). Blackhawk Middle School Band Booster co- president and FHS Band Booster parent volunteer. Bensenville Sting Swim Team board member and volunteer. America 2000 Education Project, Strategic Action Planning Committee for School District #2.
Elected offices held: None.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.
Key Issue 1
The need for effective curriculum planning between the feeder schools(Wood Dale District #7, Bensenville District #2,some private schools)and Fenton High School has been a topic of discussion since I served as PTA president at Johnson School. Former District #2 superintendent, Dr. Cesar Calderelli, discussed this problem during Parent Leadership committee meetings many, many years ago. At a recent Fenton High School board meeting I learned there is still a need for better articulation between the districts. Articulation must be an integral part of curriculum planning which can only result in better student achievement.
Key Issue 2
Our student test scores are among the lowest in DuPage County. There are other school districts with a similar student body make-up that out perform Fenton students. I want to know what they're doing and see if Fenton can benefit from that knowledge.
Key Issue 3
There are some important policies the Fenton District 100 School Board needs to adopt. Term limits are an essential part of successful governance. I firmly believe that two successive terms at a time should be the longest a person can serve on the board . I also believe no person should serve on two boards simultaneously if the boards share constituents. Although it is not illegal, I believe it does not serve the public interest of checks and balances in government. Also I believe the board must be fairly balanced with representation from both the Wood Dale and Bensenville communities.
How satisfied are you that your district is preparing students for the next stage in their lives, whether it be from elementary into high school or high school into college or full-time employment? What changes, if any, do you think need to be made?
There should be a more in depth more focus on career counciling for students of every ability level at Fenton High School. Whether students plan to attend college or a trade school I believe it is urgent that they have more hands on guidance. Both of my daughters worked intensively with the College Counselor at Fenton. I know how important her services were during that complicated process yet only one person is employed in that position, and for only half of the school year. This is an area in which Fenton must improve. Curriculm must be linked from kindergarten through senior year in high school for learning to be optimum; when it's not gaps occur and performance is compromised. This is one of the issues I care most about.
What budget issues will the district have to confront? What measures do you support to address them? If cuts are needed, be specific about programs and expenses that should be reduced or eliminated. Do you support any tax increases for local schools?
I do not support any tax increases for local schools at this time. I do support a full audit of expenses and income for District 100. Pending the results of that audit an evaluation should be performed and necessary cuts should be made internally.
Is experience as a teacher or support from a union valuable because it suggests educational insights or detrimental because it creates pro-teacher bias? Please clarify whether you have such experience or would accept union support.
I was a substitute teacher for District #2 in Bensenville for about 3 years which allowed me to work closely with many teachers. I also developed an understanding of the relationships that exist between the teaching staff and the administration, and the administration and the Board of Education. These relationships are always complex and sometimes challenging. Of course I would want to foster the best of relationships with the FHS staff, but my first responsibility as a potential board member must be to provide the best education possible for each student with the best value for the taxpayer's dollar. I will represent the interests of the voters and advocate for all students. I will not seek union support, neither will I reject it.
As contract talks come up with various employee groups, what posture should the board take? Do you believe the district should ask for concessions, expect employee costs to stay about the same as they are now or provide increases in pay or benefits?
With the limited knowledge I have of the budget at this time I believe the board does not need to ask for concessions from the staff. In this economy, I think the best the district can do is to keep employee costs about the same.
If your district had a superintendent or other administrator nearing retirement, would you support a substantial increase in his or her pay to help boost pension benefits? Why or why not?
Absolutely not. The pension system is already underfunded and in trouble. With so many people in this and every other community out of work and underpaid it would be immoral to do so.
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