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updated: 3/1/2011 11:45 PM

Brian Walker, 4 years: Candidate Profile

Diamond Lake Elementary D76, 4-year term

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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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BioKey IssuesQ&A



City: Vernon Hills

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Diamond Lake Elementary D76, 4-year term

Age: 38

Family: Married with two children

Occupation: Project Manager

Education: Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Illinois State University, 1995

Civic involvement: Coaching volunteer for park district t-ball, softball, and basketball teams.

Elected offices held: None.

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

My decision to pursue becoming a Diamond Lake School District Board member was to help ensure the children in the district receive a quality education that will prepare them for a diverse and technology driven world.

Key Issue 2

Candidate did not respond.

Key Issue 3

Candidate did not respond.

Questions & Answers

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?

Based on the school district reports and high school placement reports presented at Board meetings for the students attending Stevenson and Mundelein High Schools, the district is more than adequately preparing students for high school. My concern from talking with other parents in the district is that the district's financial difficulties are starting to impact students. Some extra curricular programs have been eliminated in the past year, and many more are being considered for elimination in the upcoming school year. The district needs to communicate these changes more broadly and openly to the parents and taxpayers. The district needs to move to more electronic communication methods (email, school and distric websites) to help parents and community members stay connected.

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 school district is not currently operating with a balanced budget and needs to review all expenditures. Based on financial information presented during recent board meetings, the district will use all fund balance reserves by the end of the 2013 - 2014 school year. I don't believe that tax increases are the answer. The district administration and school board first need to review all administrative expenditures and vendor contracts with a focus on eliminating or reducing unnecessary expdenditures. We need to determine if there are any role redundancies or if there are functions being performed inefficiently that could be completed at a lower cost. I would like to avoid cutting classroom programs, music programs, art programs, extracurricular activities, and intramurals activities if at all possible.

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 do not personally have teacher experience and have not worked in a union. If I am elected to serve as a School Board member, I will continue to be open to all points of view and feedback (teachers, unions, parents, administrators, students, and community members) to help make educated decisions.

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 District 76, employee contracts were recently entered into. As these contracts come up for negotiation, the financial condition of the district should be evaluated as well as the needs of the students and district. The overall economic and employment market conditions would be a factor. I believe in managing to a balanced budget.

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 would not support such an action. Your pay should be based on your day to day responsibilities, performance, and market conditions. Future pension considerations should not be part of a pay evaluation.