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updated: 2/23/2011 4:09 PM

Donald Litchfield: Candidate Profile

Bloomingdale Elementary D13

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  • Donald Litchfield, running for Bloomingdale Elementary D13

      Donald Litchfield, running for Bloomingdale Elementary D13

 

 

 

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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: Bloomingdale

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Bloomingdale Elementary D13

Age: 64

Family: Married, two children

Occupation: Retired teacher and principal

Education: Bachelor of Science in Education, Southern Illinois University, 1973

Master of Science in Educational Leadership, Southern Illinois University, 1975

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, Vanderbilt University, 1986

Civic involvement: Bloomfield Hills Homeowners Association Board

Bloomingdale School District 13 School Board

Elected offices held: Bloomfield Hills Homeowners Association Board for seven terms

Bloomingdale School District 13 School Board for five terms

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

To continue to provide excellent opportunities for the students in Bloomingdale while seeking to continually improve the effectivenesss of instruction.

Key Issue 2

To always remember that the funds that support the school district come mostly from the residents of our community and that they deserve our most appropriate cost effective strategies. We must be ever mindful of costs.

Key Issue 3

To assure the curriculum provides for improved self-esteem and the building of students' self confidence. Activities need to provide students with problem solving strategies that teach better ways to make the important decisions in life.

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 the district is doing a good job preparing students for the next stages of their lives. Bloomingdale has worked hard to improve the educational experiences for its students. The district has hard working professional teachers and has provided a strong inservice program to assist teachers in differentiating instruction to meet the needs of all students. The recent state testing showed 92% of the students meet or exceed the states objectives. State test results have increased 14% in the last eight years. We offer algebra for those students who are ready for the challenge. These results are enhanced by our efforts to provide self -esteem building activities and teach strategies designed to help students make good decisions in their lives.

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?

Bloomingdale, like the other school districts in the state, faces difficult budget decisions now and will for the next four or five years. The state of Illinois has not fully funded their programs and costs for textbooks, materials, utilities, and personal continue to go up each year. The district has monitoring procedures in place that have earned them the RED APPLE award for the past five years for having the highest financial rating. The district recently negotiated a three year teacher contract with the smallest increases in the last twenty years. The negotiations also focused on managing the escalating medical insurance costs. The district needs to continue its ongoing evaluation of programs to determine their merit and effectiveness. If the time comes that cuts are needed I would look at reducing expenditures for extracurricular activities. Currently, we offer a rich variety of activities for both elementary and middle school students. Cuts in the number of offerings or an increase in the participation costs could reduce district costs in this area. The state of Illinois has already moved to shore up its financial position with a recent tax increase. I would be against the increase of the county tax to support education. The current board has already gone on record not favoring an increase in the DuPage County rate.

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.

My experience as both a teacher and as a principal as well as my background in educational administration and educational leadership have proven an asset as a board member. As an experienced educator I can understand the potential difficulties in new curriculum adoptions and new initiaves. I understand the need for a strong teacher inservice program to drive teacher effectiveness and increase test scores. My experience as a principal allowed me to better understand the needs of families to know how their children are doing in school and what assignments they have. The computer program at the middle school allows families to check this from their home computer. In addition my training in negotiations has proven helpful while serving on the team for four teacher contracts.

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?

District 13 is in the first year of a new three year contract. This new contract contains the lowest salary increases in the last twenty years. The board understands the current financial crisis facing our country. The contract also addresses the escalating costs of medical benefits. The next contract negotiations occur during the upcoming board member term and if the financial crisis continues and medical benefit costs increase then the district should seek concessions to stem costs incurred by the district

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?

The current superintendent has one more year before retirement and therefore decisions made regarding his retirement were made over four years ago when economic conditions were significantly different. When we hire a new superintendent, our board will address the issue. I would not support substantial increases in his or her pay to help boost pension benefits upon retirement. Substantial increases in pay increase our educational fund spending and will not be recouped when we hire a new superintendent because the salary for the new superintendent does not substantially drop when you hire a new person.

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