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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: Glen Ellyn
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Glen Ellyn Elementary D89
Family: Married to Don Gaspar; 2 children: Kim, age 19; and Ben, age 17
Occupation: Owner/Director of a yoga teacher training school and studio
Education: BFA, magna cum laude, visual communications, Northern Illinois University, 1985
MA, design management, Northern Illinois University, 1990
Civic involvement: Served two terms (8 years) as CCSD89 board member: 2 years as Board Secretary, 2 years as Vice President and 4 years (currently) as Board President.
Long time volunteer in our schools prior to board membership.
Girl Scout Leader
Cub Scout Leader
Elected offices held: CCSD89 Board Member, two terms
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: no
Key Issue 1
Ensuring financial stability for the future of the District.
Key Issue 2
Making District 89 a world class school system. Our goal is to provide an educational experience which will prepare students to compete on a global level.
Key Issue 3
Differentiating instruction to support the individual needs of students.
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 think our District is doing an excellent job preparing students for high school. We also place a great emphasis on critical thinking and life skills. We are exposing students to different job opportunities and professional paths. Even at the elementary and middle school level, children can be inspired by people who are successful at their jobs.
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?
Due to a long history of fiscal prudence, District 89 is in better financial shape than many school districts in our state. Yet, like all school districts in the state of Illinois, we are impacted by our state's budget woes, by the low interest rate return on our investments and the low CPI for the past several years. This is likely to continue into the near future. We have cut over a million dollars in expenses over the past 2 years without impacting classroom instruction. In the next several years, we may be required to cut significant support staff, extracurricular activities and some educational programs in order to balance our budget. We will ask our community if they will support a tax rate increase in order to maintain our existing programs or if they would prefer us to cut programs in order to keep the tax rate as is.
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.
Our teaching staff is highly respected. Many of our teachers live in our community. Teachers have insight into the inner workings of our educational system and they want to work in a stable and well-run school district. When members of the board meet with teachers, we make sure they have a clear understanding that our role as board members is to represent the students and taxpayers of our District. Support from the teachers' union is usually seen as valuable and I have received their support in the past and would welcome their support again.
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?
In the future, changes will need to be made to our employee contracts so that total salary and benefit expenses do not increase at a rate greater than District revenues. Current contracts were created when the economy was very different than it is now. New contracts need to be based upon the realities of our new economy. We have a great relationship with our teachers union and we will work together with them to come up with a solution that is fair, sustainable and continues to attract great teachers to our school 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?
No, I do not support end-of-career increases in pay to inflate pension benefits. Currently, we are formalizing a statement to our administrators that communicates clearly that the board will not offer retirement pay ""bumps"" nor guarantee any other retirement enhancements.