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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.
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Office sought: Aptakisic-Tripp Elementary D102
Family: Married to Marla for 27 years. I have two children--Brittany--age 25 and Bradley--age 21. I have lived in Deerfield since 1987. My daughter attended all District 102 schools and my son attended the SEDOL program. Both graduated from Stevenson High School.
Occupation: Attorney. I am the proprietor of my own law office--the Law Office of Scott J. Linn, which I have operated since 1984.
Education: A.B. in Political Science from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) campus--1974; and I have a J. D. from Saint Louis University School of Law--1977.
Civic involvement: Member, Aptakisic-Tripp Dist. 102 21st Century Technology Committee.
Member, Aptakisic-Tripp Dist. 102 Future Planning Committee.
Assistant Coach, Buffalo Grove Girls Softball--1997-1999.
Former Vice-President and Education Committee Chairman--Association of Condominium, Townhouse and Homeowners Association (ACTHA).
Former Board Member, Temple Jeremiah Brotherhood.
Former member, Lake County Bar Association
Elected offices held: Vernon Township Democratic Precinct Committeeman--1988-Present.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: NO
Key Issue 1
(1) Maintaining and improving the educational standards and programs of District 102 and making sure that students graduating from District 102 schools are as best prepared as possible to be successful at Stevenson HS, any other high school they might attend and college; (2) Making sure District standardized test scores continue to exceed the scores of a majority of Illinois school districts, while also remaining competitive with other Illinois school districts having a comparable socio-economic profile;(3) Continuing the District's attraction and retention of top-flight teachers and administrators;(4) Maintaining and enhancing the District's forward thinking curriculum, such as the Social Emotional Learning program and the anticipated establishment of the ""Moon Shot"" initiative which will include the ""connected learning community"" and other new concepts.
Key Issue 2
Maintaining and enhancing the District's stated goal of ""supporting learning powered by technology"". As part of the District's 21st Century Technology Planning Committee, I have seen first hand how the District has already incorporated the positive use of technology into its curriculum. I want to see an ever increasing emphasis on the use of technology by District students. Using technology effectively has become a major part of a student's educational development. Students will not be able to compete occupationlly in the world of tomorrow, unless they can master technology. Further, I support the District's steps to fully enforce all established Internet safety guidelines, including the protection of students from cyber bullying.
Key Issue 3
Making sure the District remains financially stable. This means continuing the District's present conservative financial practices which have led to a AAA bond rating and the avoidance of any major financial crisis. I don't want the District to be forced into seeking tax increases or bond issue referendums unless absolutely necessary. Further, I want to ensure that teacher and administrator salaries and benefits are at levels that continues the District's ability to attract top flight people in these categories. However, I absolutely do not want salaries and benefits to become excessive as has occured in many Illinois school districts. This has led to financial problems for many of these districts.
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?
I feel quite satisfied that District 102 has been and will continue taking numerous steps to properly prepare students for the next step in their educational lives. My involvement in the District's 21st Century Technology Planning Committee and Future Planning Committee have given me excellent insights into the specific learning programs and concepts the District is embracing for the future. In particular, the District's implementation of the Social Emotional Learning curriculum and its plans to establish a ""connected learning community"" are exciting and encouraging steps towards helping students reach their full learning potentials. Further, the District's goals of supporting learning powered by technology and placing increased emphasis on student writing skills, highlights the District's already forward thinking direction. I am in complete agreement with these plans and goals and see no reason to change their use and implementation. I do want to ensure that District curriculums place increased emphasis on the in-depth study of U.S. history, foreign nation history and the history of the various disparate global cultures. If I believe it necessary, I will seek changes in these areas of study.
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?
The key issues to be confronted will focus on the proper allocation of funds to salaries, employee benefits, student services, educational materials and equipment purchases. Changing enrollment numbers and a potential increase in local property foreclosures, may force budgetary changes. Up to now, the District has remained on a very solid financial footing. Consequently, I see no present need to ask for expenditure cuts nor the elimination of programs or personnel. However, If that should become necessary to maintain a strong financial position, then everything must be put on the table for consideration. This includes specific program cuts, increases in the District's tax levy, the floating of bond issues and requests for increased State aid. Seeking an increase in taxes should only be done as a last resort. District residents are already being overburdened by the myriad of federal, state and local property taxes. Tax increases can often lead to an erosion of community support for education in general.
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.
Experience as a teacher can clearly be valuable in providing insights and perspectives regarding the responsibilities of a school board member. It can be detrimental if such experience prevents the board member from objectively considering the interests of all those impacted by school board decisions, including students, teachers, parents and school district residents. Union support for a school board candidate does not automatically suggest that that candidate has the insights and perspectives necessary to be an effective school board member. Nor does it automatically suggest that a school board candidate has a built in pro-teacher bias that will lead to subjective decsion making on board issues or votes. A school board member either has the ability to consider issues in an objective light or he/she does not. I do not have actual experience as a teacher. Further, I have not solicited the support of any special interest groups, including teachers unions. If any such groups wish to support me based solely on my issue stands, then I might welcome their support. However, they must know that my positions and votes on any given issue, might run counter to their own positions.
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?
The Board should enter any employee negotiations with an objective, non-adversarial posture. Board members must balance teacher salary and benefit demands against the need to maintain learning standards, student programs and district financial stability. Overall costs, including employee salaries and benefits, must be tailored to maximize the retention of top-flight personnel, including teachers and administrators. I will not hesitate to support salary and benefit increases to retain such top-flight personnel. However, if the District's financial situation becomes so dire that employee concessions regarding salaries and benefits must be required, then the Board would have no choice but to ask for such concessions and I will support such requests.
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?
No. I am absolutely opposed to the long-time practice used in many Illinois school districts of substantially increasing a teacher's or administrator's (including a superintendant's) pay during the final years of their contract, so that that person will realize a large hike in their pension and accompanying benefits. As has previously been documented by the Daily Herald and numerous other media outlets, this bad practice has greatly increased the already excessive pension burden the State of Illinois has been saddled with. Several Illinois school districts have approved pension and benefit payouts to present and/or former superintendants, which I believe are totally unreasonable. If elected I will fight to keep District pension and benefit approvals as reasonable. Employee salaries and benefits must be annually reviewed in light of the District's needs. I certainly want to see pensions and pension benefits funded in a manner which properly rerwards teachers, administrators and other personnel for their efforts. However, increasing annual salaries and benefits simply for purposes of inflating future pensions is just plain wrong and unjustifiable.