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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.
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Grayslake H.S. D127
Family: Married to April Witkowski, two children son, Jude aged 12 and daughter Faith aged 14.
Occupation: Vice President of Finance, Controller of Sales and Loan Fulfillment line of business, PNC Bank N.A., Downers Grove.
Education: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with degrees in Finance and Accounting, Central Michigan University, 1987.
Civic involvement: Candidate did not respond.
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
My first priority is promoting school excellence. Currently District 127 schools do not rank even in the top 100 among Illinois schools, in combined PSAE scores in math and reading. We have good schools with much to be proud of, but we can do better.
Key Issue 2
I am concerned for the taxpayers of District 127. According to Forbes, Lake County ranks 17 in highest property taxes in the entire nation--that's a ranking among a luxury location like Westchester County, New York! We must ask ourselves: do these high tax rates equate with top results in academics? The answer is absolutely not!
Key Issue 3
Candidate did not respond.
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?
We have good schools, but as I said before we can do better to put students first, to improve our statewide academic rankings, and to be sure we are using all of our resouces efficiently in these hard times.
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?
Our state is bankrupt. Funding from the state will only worsen soon. Our district must confront the reality of administrative costs that are siphoning resources from the classroom, and burdening the taxpayer. There may be a time soon that compensation packages must brought into allignment with levels in the private sector. Our economy's decline will necessitate that sacrifices must be made all around. No one is or should be immune to the needed sacrifices that are coming. These are difficult decisions that require committed leadership these next four years, not kicking the can down the road. I will not support raising taxes, especially now. Too many people I know are losing their jobs and their homes. A heavier tax burden will not bring in additional revenue in an environment where unprecedented numbers of people are literally walking away from their mortgages altogether.
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.
Teacher and union support are definitely valuable. I am putting students and taxpayers first. I will gladly accept support from anyone who sees these constituencies as their top priorities as well.
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?
We must reduce the costs of running our district. There is no more time, no more wiggle room. We should ask for concessions and look to eliminate duplicate positions between the high schools. We will have to do more with less. We are a fiscally strong district right now, and we need to keep it that way.
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?
Substantially increasing a superintendent's pay in the final years for the sole purpose of a hugh pension payoff is unconscionable. It's great work if you can get it! A superintendent is valuable and should be compensated well.