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, three children
Occupation: Financial Services
Education: Bachelor of Business Administration in Real Estate, National University
Master of Business Administration in Finance, National University
Civic involvement: Illinois Mortgage Banker's Association, Board Member, 2008 President
Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
The greatest issue we face is a budget deficit that will continue to grow unless action is taken. The deficit is not a result of mismanagement, but rather from a decline in funding, from increasing costs and from government mandates for which the district must provide funding. The questions are where we can further cut costs without materially affecting the quality of education and how we can increase revenue.
Key Issue 2
Maintaining the high quality of education in the district would be a priority on the same footing as resolving the budget deficit. Last year's ISAT scores were 10% higher than the state average. Our students exceeded state averages in all grades and in all test areas. I would like to see us continue with that success. There are also, government mandated, Adequate Yearly Progress targets which the district has to meet. In 2010, roughly 90% of students met or exceeded that target, which is exemplary. The problem is this target increases yearly until 2014 when it requires 100 percent of students meet or exceed. That is a lofty goal for any district anywhere given there are variables out of the control of administrators like a student's learning ability and the level of parental involvement. Unless that target changes, we will need to look for creative ways improve our children such that the target can be met.
Key Issue 3
Preparing our children to compete in the global marketplace is an issue on which we need to maintain vigilance and focus. In math, America is behind many Asian and European countries among others. Our children are going to have to compete against people from these other countries for jobs, both here in America and abroad. District 89 Administrators are taking steps to give our students everything they need to compete. As a board, we need to make sure we are providing the right guidance and focus for administrators.
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 am very satisfied with how the district has prepared students for the transition to the next stage of their lives. This year, I have a child who transitioned to middle school and one who transitioned to high school (I also have one in elementary.) The transitions for both were smooth. They are excelling academically and are doing well socially. I have heard the same from other parents that I have talked with. Administrators in District 89 work closely with those from District 87 (Glenbard South) to make sure curricula are aligned. I would ask that more communication be made so parents know all the things the district does to ensure their child has a smooth transition and does well in the next phase of their lives. If feasible, I would also provide counseling earlier in middle school to help students plan their high school careers, much like high schools do for kids planning to go to college.
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?
As I said previously, funding declines, rising expenses and unfunded mandates are the most serious budget issues we face. There isn't a lot we can do to stop declines in funding. Tax revenue is determined by formula. State funding is currently one year in arrears, meaning they are a year behind in payments. Those missed payments come directly from operating fund reserves. The district has identified some alternative sources of funds and continues to look for additional sources. I would continue in that effort. The cost of goods and services continue to increase, especially energy costs. The district has made great strides in reducing costs by joining cooperatives, where possible, to negotiate lower prices and by utilizing energy efficient technology. There are currently initiatives under way to identify areas where costs can be cut further. We must be careful, however, to ensure that cuts do not have a negative effect on the quality of education. When I last counted, there are in excess of 90 mandates enacted by the state to meet or perform certain objectives. These mandates require time, some from teachers and administrators and some from in the classroom, and cost to satisfy. Unfortunately, the state doesn't provide any funding to go along with these mandates. Consequently, the costs come directly from the operating fund reserve. We should ask legislators to include funding along with mandates. Otherwise, they will be forcing financial hardship on many school districts.
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 believe teacher experience is certainly valuable. They are the boots on the ground and have firsthand knowledge of how best to improve the educational experience. As a board member, I do not have that experience. I would look to all quarters, including my own research, for information necessary to provide oversight and governance.
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 do what is necessary to ensure continuity and quality in the education of our children. They also have to ensure the district is operating in a safe and sound manner. If circumstances dictate the Board should do whatever is necessary to ensure our children receive the highest quality education possible.
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?
In the absence of any mitigating circumstances, like an administrator foregoing pay increases in previous years in order to help balance the budget, I would not support a substantial increase for an administrator solely for the purpose of increasing their pension.