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: Vernon Hills
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Diamond Lake Elementary D76, 4-year term
Age: Candidate did not respond.
Family: I am married with two children, one son who recently graduated from West Oak Middle school and is currently a freshman at Stevenson High School and my other son is a junior at Stevenson.
Occupation: I currently work part-time as a tax consultant and financial planner on a pro-bono basis.
Education: I have a degree in accounting from the University of Illinois, am a CPA, and hold a master's degree in tax law from DePaul University.
Civic involvement: I volunteer at my church and at Stevenson High School. I am currently on a parent advisory committee at West Oak Middle School in Diamond Lake District 76. I also call ""Bingo"" at Hawthorne Lakes Retirement Home in Vernon Hills.
Elected offices held: I currently serve as vice president of the Grosse Pointe Carriages Condo Association, and served as secretary from 2007-2010.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Increase operational efficiency - Our school district budget has been increasing over the past few years and yet tax revenues and state funding are at risk. As a result, significant budget cuts are necessary in order to balance the budget next year and in future years. It is critical, now more than ever, to seek out opportunities to reduce costs and generate revenues. I am currently on a parent advisory committee to identify these opportunities.
Key Issue 2
Narrow achievement gap - According to the most recent Illinois District Report Card, some Hispanic students are not meeting standards in reading, math and science. With Hispanic students making up over half of the total student population, this is a sigificant opportunity. A committee needs to be established to fully explore the situation and generate ideas to close this gap.
Key Issue 3
Strengthen caliber of administration and teaching staff - We need to better understand how to attract and retain the best talent.
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?
Having two sons that now attend Stevenson High School, I feel they were adequately prepared. However, I do believe there are opportunties to strenghen the curriculum, assign more relevant/quality homework and teach students better time management and study skills.
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?
For the next fiscal school year, the school is anticipating $300,000-$500,000 in budget cuts. Budget cuts will also be necessary in future years. As a member of the parent advisory committee, we are looking at staff reductions and program eliminations that will have little or no impact on the quality of education for our kids. I cannot speak as to the specific cuts, as we are just beginning this process. I do believe that tax increases will not be necessary.
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 the administration and teachers would be able to support anyone whose primary focus is in the best interests of the kids.
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?
I believe employees should be fairly compensated in relation to internal employees and external market forces. I would examine local, statewide and national benchmarks to develop a compensation package to attract and retain the best talent.
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?
I do not support such action. Artificially inflating a salary for purposes of boosting pension benefits for any employee is fiscally irresponsible.