Lori Weiss Berdenis, 4 years: Candidate Profile
Round Lake Area Unit D116, 4 year seat
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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.
City: Round Lake Beach
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Round Lake Area Unit D116, 4-year term
Family: Married for 17 years with 1 daughter who is 13 years old and in 8th grade and a son who is 11 years old and is in 6th grade and both are at RLMS. Also have a beagle named Boone who will be 8 in June.
Occupation: Attorney, Sole Practitioner with my office in Waukegan, IL.
Education: JD Degree from Northern Illinois University - College of Law, 1992; Eastern Illinois University, BA, 1989
Civic involvement: Member of RLASD 116 Boar of Education since March, 2010 - Present; Member, RLMS PTSA/PTO, 8/08 - Present (Secretary 8/09-Present); Processor, Keep Your Home - Grayslake, IL 3/6/10; Secretary, American Eagles Booster Club, RLB, IL - 3/05-3/10; Team Mom, Round Lake Spartans Football - Fall 2008; Member and Cookie Organizer, Girl Scouts, Lake Villa - 8/02-6/08; Member, Indian Hill Elementary School PTO - 8/05-5-08; President of Parent Group, Lindenhurst Early Childhood Center (LECC) from 8/00-5/05; Attorney, Volunteer Lawyers Program, Waukegan, IL - 7/95-4/01, 1/11-Present
Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: Candidate did not respond.
Key Issue 1
REMAIN FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE TO MAINTAIN THE FINANCIAL HEALTH OF DISTRICT #116: While District #116 relies heavily on state funding, it is important to be cognizant of the fact that the State of Illinois has been, and most likely will continue to be, late on paying the District what it owes in a timely fashion. It is imperative that financial decisions for the District are made based on the gathering of all factual information from many and various different sources and that funds are available to sustain its costs. When any and all financial decisions are considered and eventually decided, they must ultimately be based on the fact that it is in the best interests of the students of District #116.
Key Issue 2
IMPROVE THE CURRICULUM TO INCREASE STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT IN DISTRICT #116: One of the ways to do this is to align the curriculum between and among all of the schools in the entire District from Pre-Kindergarten up through the high school. It is important to track the progress of the individual student so that it would be easier to intervene much earlier for those students who are having academic or behavioral issues that will and should be addressed as early as possible. Also, it is important that our District strives beyond "meets standards" and to achieve even beyond "exceeds standards" because once the students realize what they are capable of, there will be no stopping our students from seeing how far they can reach.
Key Issue 3
INCREASE PARENTAL AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT WITH DISTRICT #116: Parental involvement is crucial in the success of the students and schools of our District. The community is an untapped resource that should be encouraged to interact with our schools and our students in order to offer the students every possible opportunity that is available to ensure that each and every student succeeds in reaching above and beyond his or her potential. Due to the input and cooperation of numerous parents, teachers, administrators, Board of Education members, members of the business community and other members of the District #116 community, the District was able to come up with a Strategic Plan that is intended to guide the District for the next 5 years. Seeing all of these people come together for a common cause shows how much the various members of the community care about the District and its far reaching impact on the community.
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?
No one should be satisfied with how things stand today as the students of our District should always be encouraged to strive beyond what they think they are capable of and to work beyond their potential. This should be done by providing the students the best learning environment possible and offering the students varied and different opportunities and experiences so that they can be as successful as possible whether they choose to go to college or seek full-time employment.
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?
One of the biggest budget issues that this District will have to confront is the failure of the State of Illinois to provide the funds that are owed to the District in a timely fashion. In order to address this issue, the Board must be fiscally responsible and make sound decisions based on obtaining sufficient information from all sources.
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.
It is imperative that the Board and the union work together to create the best learning and teaching environment to encourage and help each and every student to succeed.
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?
When dealing with contracts of various employee groups, it is impossible to determine what posture the Board should take without taking into consideration other things that impact those decisions such as cost, the economy, performance, benefits or programs available, to name only a few. The Board wants the various employee groups to have the best possible benefits and pay available while keeping within the Strategic Plan and maintaining fiscal responsibility in order to ensure and maintain the financial health of the District.
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?
Whether or not I would support an increase in pay to help boost pension benefits would depend on his or her performance which would be based on various factors such as student achievement, health of the district and administrator accountability.
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