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updated: 2/23/2011 4:12 PM

Sam Black: Candidate Profile

Glen Ellyn Elementary D41

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  • Sam Black, running for Glen Ellyn Elementary D41

      Sam Black, running for Glen Ellyn Elementary D41

 

 

 

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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

 

Bio

City: Glen Ellyn

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Glen Ellyn Elementary D41

Age: 46

Family: Married to Beth for 17 years. Three children - Maddie 9, Ava 7, Katie 4.

Occupation: Stay at home dad for the past 9 years. Former Cook and DuPage County Assistant State's Attorney.

Education: B.A Political Science, University of Illinois, 1988

J.D., Northern Illinois University, 1992

Civic involvement: St. Petronille Religious Education Board, 2008-2010

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

Elimination of portable classrooms in all District 41 schools.

District 41 has 32 modular classrooms currently in use. Each school in District 41 has been forced to use these portable classrooms to satisfy student needs.

The first portable was installed as early as 2001. By 2005 there was a total of 26 portable classrooms housing 550 students. The entire student population of Forest Glen Elementary as of November 30, 2010 was 549, with that school having the smallest enrollment in District 41.

A Master Facility Plan submitted to the District 41 Board in March of 2009 recommended that portable classrooms should be eliminated.

The current District 41 Board is moving forward with a capital improvement plan aimed at alleviating the need for portable classrooms. I would support that effort with the goal being to eliminate the need for portable classrooms and to reduce the class size target levels throughout the District.

Key Issue 2

Re-establishing and strengthening trust between the voters and the District 41 School Board and staff.

In speaking with members of our community, this topic has repeatedly surfaced, particularly in regard to the 2001 Referendum and its aftermath.

I feel strongly that this issue can be resolved positively with effective communication between the District 41 Board and staff and the community as a whole. We need to have one voice if we are to accomplish what I feel should be long term goals -- financial stability and adequate physical teaching space for our children.

Key Issue 3

Maintaining good fiscal and economic health in the district going forward.

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?

Having not had any personal experience in this area as my oldest daughters attend Abraham Lincoln Elementary, I reached out to other friends in District 41 with older children. The concensus of opinion was that, as a whole, the education experience received at Hadley Junior High was positive and sufficiently prepared them for the next level.

Curriculums and programs will always need to be monitored and modified accordingly. The Standards Based Reporting system currently in use by District 41 is a good example. I believe the system has its strong aspects and also has some areas in need of improvement.

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?

Having attended many recent District 41 board meeetings, I have heard reports given by the district's financial planners and auditors. District 41 appears to be on solid fiscal ground for the short (five year) term and on a going forward basis wit proper management and overview.

I would like to see and be a part of a team that would maintain that approach, even with the physical teaching space issues that continue to be a problem for the district.

Real estate taxes in District 41 are on the higher end of the spectrum in Illinois, so any tax increases or referendum questions should be approached with due diligence and caution. Compounding these issues are the current state of our national and state economies, and the effect of those economies on District 41.

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 believe that experience as a teacher or support from a union are necessary qualifications to be an effective member of the school board. Having said that, both my parents are retired educators (my father a teacher and principal, my mother a teacher) and I would not hesitate to draw from that wealth of experience from both the teaching and the administration aspects of school district operations.

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 D41 Board represents all the taxpayers in the school district and has a fiscal obligation to them. Contract talks with all employee groups should be approached with the utmost seriousness. All issues in current and future contracts should be open to discussion.

We all want qualified, effective educators teaching our children.

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?

Fundamentally, I would not support a substantial increase in an administrator's pay to boost pension benefits. This approach would result in an additional long-term burden on District 41 taxpayers. All administrators' pension benefits are and should be contemplated when their annual compensation packages are established and should not be arbitrarily increased upon retirement.

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