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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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Office sought: Emmons Elementary D33
Family: Married with two sons
Occupation: Training and development professional
Education: MBA, Northwestern University, 2005
BA, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, 1990
Civic involvement: Antioch Youth Little League - coach volunteer
The Chicagoland Youth Football League -coach volunteer
Elected offices held: Current Member, Emmons District 33, Board of Education
-Fiscal Accountability Committee
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
My objective as a candidate:
Make Emmons - District 33 an exemplary school district within Lake County and Illinois.
Key Issue 2
Fiscal accountability and transparency
Key Issue 3
Academic accountability and results
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'm very satisfied currently, but there's always room for improvement. Our immediate goal is to prepare our students to transition smoothly and succeed in high school. District 33's test scores rank highly within Lake County and we work closely with ACHS to make sure that our curricula are preparing our kids for success at the high school level. In fact, we recently received data from ACHS showing the first semester freshman grades of our most recent Emmons graduates and their grades were excellent!
We can learn a lot from other successful disticts and so I would like to see us research what other top notch districts are doing to stay linked to their local high schools' curricula and prepare their students to perform well at the high school level. An openness to new ideas, communication and measurement are keys to preparing our kids for their next level of education.
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?
Fiscally, we are very sound, but fiscal accountability is and will continue to be a huge priority for District 33.
Like every other district, the economy is one of our biggest challenges because the vast majority of our revenue to fund teacher salaries and academic programs comes from property taxes. Given the current economic conditions, we will have to make our dollars go as far as possible.
Regarding tax increases, strong schools are essential to a thriving community, but I would not support a tax increase to prop up our schools, unless it was an absolute emergency situation. Raising taxes is an easy way that many leaders use to avoid having to make tough decisions. Before we ask for tax increases on any level, we as a BOE must first prove that we have cut to the bone in every budget category 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.
Support of any kind is appreciated. However, support from any group only shows bias if I allow that support to influcence my voting. I am an independent and objective decision-maker and regardless of who supports me, my decisions will be in the best interest of our kids and district.
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 posture should be open, honest and collaborative. In any negotiations, there are concessions made on both sides and it's in the best interest of our district to pursue a win-win negotiated outcome whenever possible.
I expect costs to continue to rise and concessions to be made by both parties. We want to attract and retain the very best employees in District 33 and to do that, compensation and benefits must be competitive, so I expect that compensation will increase. However, the reality is that in addition to tax revenue, the CPI plays an important role in determining compensation increases. The funds available to support staff and programs are finite, so we must decide how to best allocate the available funds to make our district the strongest.
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 wouldn't support it because it's unethical.