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updated: 2/23/2011 4:09 PM

Stephen J. Pickering: Candidate Profile

Fox River Grove Elementary D3

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  • Stephen J. Pickering, running for Fox River Grove Elementary D3

    Stephen J. Pickering, running for Fox River Grove Elementary D3




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



City: Fox River Grove

Website: http://none

Office sought: Fox River Grove Elementary D3

Age: 46

Family: Married, 2 children, 2 dogs.

Occupation: Healthcare data analyst, actor.

Education: B.F.A. in Drama Performance, Illinois Wesleyan University,


Civic involvement: Volunteer coach for District 3 (Middle School play director),

Cub Scout Pack 357 (Cubmaster), Fox River Grove Recreation

Council (volunteer coach for baseball, basketball, soccer;

volunteer for other programs), help with Young Authors Program

at Fox River Grove Memorial Library.

Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: I have received traffic citations in the past, but I've

attended traffic safety school, and I feel I'm on the right

path after attending. I have not received a ticket, nor been

pulled over, for some years now.

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

My top priority is to maintain the fiscal discipline in

District 3. We're in good financial shape, even in these

difficult times, due to the hard work of our Board,

administrators, staff, and community, who have all pulled

together to maximize what our district offers to the community

without having to resort to spending deficits.

Key Issue 2

Number two is to do as much as I can to enhance communication about the district and the decisions made throughout the community. The district sends many communications throughout the year -- e-mail, newsletters, etc. Meetings are public and well-publicized. Yet, there remains many times misunderstanding in the community about issues with which the district addresses, and sometimes, members of the community are not aware that concerns or questions they have are already under consideration by the district. I would like to help the district find new ways of communicating to the community; particularly, those who do not have a child in district schools. They need to know what the district does for them, and how the district affects their lives and their community.

Key Issue 3

Number three is to keep our schools academically strong and

work with the community to provide the well-rounded education

and opportunities we offer to our students, especially in

these difficult economic times.

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?

1. District 3 works with the administration and staff of Cary-Grove High School to ensure that our curriculum equips students with the skills and knowledge they need to have successful high school careers. I support these efforts, as they give our students a framework for success and help the students transition to the high school environment. I saw this firsthand this year as my eldest child started her freshman year at Cary-Grove High School, and I can see the benefits she received as a student in District 3, and how her elementary and middle school careers have put her on a good path to hit the ground running at Cary-Grove.

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?

2. We are fortunate that our district, unlike so many, has a balanced budget in these difficult times. I applaud the work of the administration and the board in maintaining fiscal discipline; we have avoided many of the crises which have affected other school districts. I also support the volunteer coaching program in District 3. This creative program offers our community a chance to support our schools in ways other than tax increases by asking members of the community to help in coaching and leading many extra-curricular activities which might otherwise have to be cut, as so many other districts have done.

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.

3. I am not a teacher, but I do recognize the valuable insights teachers have into education issues. We are lucky to have, in my opinion, some excellent teachers in our district. One must be careful, however, not to give too much influence to any one group or voice. I welcome the support and insight of points of view from all who are vested in the success of our district in the spirit of working toward the best solutions for our 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?

4. We are in a fortunate position to have a balanced budget; however, this does not mean we are without financial pressures. Many of our extra-curricular programs are able to be run because of the volunteerism of our teachers, staff, and community members. We also must understand that our community is not in a position to be able to afford tax increases. The community has benefitted from our employee groups and District 3 working together with mutual respect to do what can be done given the fiscal realities we face. I expect this will continue.

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?

5. Such increases should be a reflection of an administrator's hard work and value to the district, and should be within the means of the district, and should not be based solely on the effect they would have on a person's pension. Pay increases done solely for the purposes of boosting a person's pension are not fair to the district or to the taxpayers. Well-earned increases, within the fiscal means of the district, however, are to be distinguished from those made purely for boosting pension benefits.