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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.
City: Lake Villa
Website: http://facebook: Joseph Pineau for School Board
Office sought: Millburn Elementary D24, 4-year term
Family: Married with three children attending Millburn School
Occupation: Division Controller for Snap-on, Inc.
Education: BSBA in Accounting, Suffolk University - Boston, MA
MBA with Finance Concentration, Bryant University - Smithfield, RI
Civic involvement: Former Chairperson for Habitat for Humanity House Build
Former Financial Secretary for Millburn Church
Vision Committee Member - Millburn Church
Fundraising Committee Member - Millburn Church
Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Increased Fiscal Accountability
Key Issue 2
Enhanced Strategic Planning Process
Key Issue 3
Maintaining Millburn's educational excellence for current and future students
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 am very satisfied with the way the District 24 schools are preparing our children for the future. The facts become clear when you look at the recent ISAT scores and see that 76.4% of the children are testing at or above state standards. These scores put the Millburn District 24 into the top 5% of all schools in Illinois. Millburn schools have also been awarded the Bright A+ Award from SchoolSearch in each of the last two years. These are great examples of how the school administrators and educators continue to put our children first at Millburn. It is hard to think of changes to a program that is working so well overall, however, if there are portions of the program that aren't working well it will be the job of the Administration together with the Board's support to make any necessary changes.
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 will continue to confront the economic issues of lower than expected tax levy revenue from state and local government sources. There is no prospects for revenue growth on the near horizon, property development that was proposed for the area in years past has dried up completely with the drop in demand. In addition, the area is severely affected by the continued rise in property foreclosures. Lake County has the 2nd highest foreclosure rate in Illinois, almost 1 in every 288 properties is in foreclosure. The only way an issue like this can be addressed is to continue to search out ways to reduce the cost structure of the district. This has already been started by the current Superintendent with 2010 fiscal performance where we saw revenue exceed expenses by over $603,183. In 2009, under the previous Superintendent the district showed a deficit of $1.5 million. In 1 year that's an improvement of more than $2 million. We need to continue this 1st step and search out each an every opportunity to reduce operating costs while balancing the excellence in education that our children are continuing to receive. Once we have explored any and all options for optimizing the cost structure for District 24 if we continue to be in a net borrowing position we will need to explore revenue generating activities including the potential for increased tax revenue.
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.
Having an experienced teaching staff is one of several important elements to the stability and health of any educational program. Years of experience give teachers the opportunity to deal with the many different situations they are presented with daily and time gives the chance to learn what solution works best for each unique situation. In my professional career I have had the experience to work both with unions and without and what is critical to remember and enforce is that it works best when both parties understand a common goal and the need to work in close partnership with each other.
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?
As with any contractual obligation the posture is mainly dictated by the marketplace and current situation of both parties. If economic indicators show that wages and fringe benefits are higher than the current marketplace can support then it is incumbent on the Board to look to maximize the funds they are provided from tax dollars and search out the lower cost alternatives that may be available. In situations when wages and fringe benefits are below what the current marketplace demands the Board must do what it can to help the district remain competitive in order to maintain the high caliber of educators and administration that Millburn has consistently displayed.
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?
I would not support the increase in a superintendent or administrator's salary for the sole purpose of increasing their pension benefits. This doesn't make fiscal sense for the district nor is it an appropriate business practice. Initially the cost is borne by the district but eventually this increased expense is passed on to the taxpayers statewide. This method of padding pensions is legal in Illinois but is actually outlawed in other states.