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updated: 2/23/2011 4:12 PM

Mark Nicholas Senak: Candidate Profile

Glen Ellyn Elementary D41

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  • Mark Nicholas Senak, running for Glen Ellyn Elementary D41

    Mark Nicholas Senak, running for Glen Ellyn Elementary D41




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: Glen Ellyn

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Glen Ellyn Elementary D41

Age: 49

Family: Married. My wife's name is Laura. We have three children: Alex (16 yrs.), Nicholas (14 yrs.) and Will (11 yrs.)

Occupation: Attorney

Education: Indiana University - B.A.,English and Psychology

DePaul College of Law - J.D.

Civic involvement: Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce, DuPage County Bar Association, St. Petronille Parish Council, Knights of Columbus

Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Improving the learning experience for the children in the classroom, while being fiscally responsible to the taxpayers of District 41 is my goal.

Key Issue 2

Providing teachers with the resources and leadership to improve how instruction is delivered in the classroom is also a priority.

Key Issue 3

Ensuring long-term development and improvement of our school system as a component of sustained economic development in the DuPage County area.

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?

I think our school district does a good job of preparing students to take the next step in their lives. But, we cannot continue to improve by simply doing what brought us past success. We must continue to examine the current structure of the school district, refine how we utilize our resources, and seek to improve the processes by which teachers instruct and principals' lead.

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 issues that will have the greatest impact on the budget will be the basic labor agreement and capital spending. Before we consider any tax increase, we must be prepared to demonstrate to our constituents that they are getting value out of the tax dollars they are already devoting to education and that we are doing everything we can to control costs.

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.

The issues confronted by a School Board are so diverse that while teaching experience is useful, it is not indispensible for service on School Board. I was an associate instructor in college and in law school, and have been a substitute teacher in the primary grades, so I have some sense of the skill set teachers need to be effective. To the extent a union would choose to support my candidacy, I would hope that the members would do so based on a recognition that we have a common goal: student education. Not because they believe I would compromise my values and objectives to gain their support.

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 would expect both sides to place the students' interests ahead of their own self-interest; particularly during these tough economic times. Education is part of the broader economy and it is no secret the broader economy has not been strong. I think everyone understands that relationship and the current economic conditions. So, I think until we see a longer period of sustained economic growth, everyone is going to be called upon to prioritize how to spend the limited resources we have available.

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?

Compensation systems are designed to attract the best candidates for the job and to retain and motivate them once they are hired. Since, increasing pay simply to boost pension benefits would not serve this purpose, it would not be a good use of our tax dollars. So, it's not something I would support.