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updated: 2/22/2013 6:38 PM

Doug Denson: Candidate Profile

Lake Park High School District 108 School Board (4-year Terms)

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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: Itasca

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Lake Park High School District 108 School Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 57

Family: Single Parent, I have 3 daughters, two in college and one currently at Lake Park High School.

Occupation: Software Development, Controls Engineering, Engineering Consulting (Manufacturing)

Education: Electrical Engineering

Civic involvement: Candidate did not respond.

Elected offices held: BOE Medinah District 11 - 10+ yrs

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: n/a

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

I feel I have experience and expertise to bring to the table. Most importantly I feel the need to represent the constituency (my friends and community members) as ethically and honestly as I can! There are current board members leaving and I feel I should continue to be involved in my community.

Key Issue 2

Candidate did not respond.

Key Issue 3

Candidate did not respond.

Questions & Answers

What do you think about the shift to the common core standards? How big a role do you think the board of education should play in setting the curriculum for students and what ideas do you have for changes to the current curriculum?

Common Core, I like as a good approach to ensure standards are to fundamental curriculum and not just testing approaches and percentages for standards, based on abstract or unclear testing approaches in the past. Since 2010 IL has legislated that new Common Core standards would be established. Although, Common Core testing is the process...its the attention to fundamentals that is important..English/Language Arts and Mathematics. This is a reasonable approach, however much is still to be done. Understanding the results of the standards and building on them is key.

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 somewhat satisfied with the district currently preparing our students...I believe that challenges in the future regarding curriculum development and standards will have to be resolved with sound fundamentals in education, administrative processes and with creative ideas for the curriculum development for those future challenges.

What budget issues will your district have to confront and what measures do you support to address them? If you believe cuts are necessary, what programs and expenses should be reduced or eliminated? On the income side, do you support any tax increases?

All Districts in our county and state face the challenging and daunting tasks associated with financial stability and security. Many have taken the opportunity to use current interest rates to improve bond standing, and other opportunities. However, I believe "taxes" should only be a last resort. Districts should be more focused on the Fund balance requirements, essentials and make "sound" financial decisions based on Safety/Education focused priorities.

As contract talks come up with various school employee groups, do you believe the district should ask for concessions from its employees, expect employee costs to stay about the same as they are now or provide increases in pay or benefits?

As with any District a process is established for the CBA resolution. I believe that District 108 will address this issue before the election. Therefore I will probably not be engaged in the process. I have been involved in this process many times before (as are board members in every district) and believe that many factors are involved. Current financial status of the district, current state of the economy, comparing benefits and salaries with other "like" districts, etc. There is also the issue of performance (where are our test scores, how is our student population developing, etc.). Although, these are not the only factors...I think a "yes" or "no" simple answer is therefore and uninformed one. All Districts are different with different cultures (in school and the communities)as long as the CBA process is approached by both parties honestly and fairly, the process should produce the best results for the District and the employees.

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?

This has been the accepted practice in the past. I have faced and discussed this issue many times before with fellow board members as it had to be resolved. I personally have not been a fan...my reasoning is that many other employees in other endeavors..(union or not) usually don't receive such an increase (specifically for increasing retirement income). Just remember boards are made up of people elected from our communities and are sent there to represent us (the constituency) with the responsibility to do their best to represent those voices and opinions! Keeping in mind, that practices like this one have to be dealt with district by district and usually can only be changed through legislation. Simple answer...don't like it....but not as easy as one thinks to change...has to be a collective board (based on district/board culture) process and decision. Culture (bad or good) is sometimes very hard to change. The Education system (teachers, administrators, boards) have to face this clearly. Again, culture change has to be collective.

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