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updated: 2/23/2011 4:13 PM

Becky Kotsinis: Candidate Profile

Gurnee Elementary D56

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  • Becky Kotsinis, running for Gurnee Elementary D56

    Becky Kotsinis, running for Gurnee Elementary D56




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: Gurnee


Office sought: Gurnee Elementary D56

Age: 34

Family: Married, two children ages nine and five

Occupation: Substitute Teacher

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Journalism,

Indiana University Bloomington, 1998

Civic involvement: Candidate did not respond.

Elected offices held: (Board of Education, District 56, 2007-present)

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

To ensure that our school building project, which was approved by our voters through a referendum last fall, completes on time and on budget with the best possible facilities for our students.

Key Issue 2

To preserve District 56's existing arts, music and gifted programs, and expand those programs where possible.

Key Issue 3

To ensure equal opportunities for all of our students to learn at the rate and manner in which they are able.

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?

Our district is very strong in the arts and has built an award-winning theater and music department. I'm also very satisfied with the gifted education options offered for high performing math students in our district. I would like to see our district expand its gifted reading program to encompass more students at all of our schools. I would also like to see a stronger science and technology program offered to complement the math education opportunities our students already enjoy.

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 district has done an excellent job working with its union to avoid staff reductions without increasing the tax burden on our citizens. We have accomplished this by sharing resources with other governmental agencies where appropriate, by conducting energy audits to avoid unnecessary facilities spending and by consistently budgeting within our means.

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 have worked as a substitute teacher in other school districts around Lake County since 2001. But as such, I am not represented by any teacher's union. I believe that a teacher's perspective is valuable as a board member because it allows a board member to relate to the challenges of the classroom experience. However, as a board member, my first responsibility is to the students of our district not to its staff.

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?

Our district must work to be fair to all of its employees, but we must live within our means. The role of a teacher or staff member in a school is a difficult one, and one which should be rewarded appropriately, but we must never forget our responsibility to taxpayers to live within our means.

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?

Emphatically No. It is not appropriate for any school district to push the burden onto the entire state to compensate our administrators at a higher rate than what we would otherwise pay. Our administrators are well compensated within their existing contracts and should not need to have their pay padded through their retirement as part of their compensation package.