2014 readers choice results
Article updated: 2/22/2013 6:38 PM

F. Thomas Voltaggio: Candidate Profile

Glenbard Township High School District 87 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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Bio

City: Glen Ellyn

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Glenbard Township High School District 87 School Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 61

Family: Married with four children

Occupation: Director-PositivEnergy Practice, LLC

Education: B.S.Electrical Engineering-University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 1974 B.A. History-University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 1974 Juris Doctorate-Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago Kent College of Law, 1980

Civic involvement: Glen Ellyn Civic Betterment Nominating Committee, 1997 Glen Ellyn Strategic Plan Steering Committee, 2000 St. Thomas United Methodist Church Leadership Team, Present Glen Ellyn Jaycees Citizen of the Year, 1990 University of Illinois Electrical and Computer Engineering Alumni Association Board of Directors, 1996-2002

Elected offices held: Glenbard High School District 87 Board of Education, 1991-2003 and 2005-present.

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

The continued growth of student performance, including full implementation of the recommendations of the Minority Student Achievement Committee

Key Issue 2

Maintaining the district's strong financial performance in the face of deteriorating state support and the assumption of state pension obligations

Key Issue 3

The adoption and implementation of the district's long range facilities plan

Questions & Answers

Do you support the current district policy allowing physical education waivers for some seniors? Why? Would you support such a policy for juniors, as has been proposed by one board member?

I support the current PE waiver policy which allows seniors to waive PE on a selective basis. My support for this recent change is predicated upon the process that was undertaken, which included a thorough examination of the topic by our administration, discussion at the Board of Education and Board Policy Committee, and input from parents. My support for an extension of the current policy would be contingent upon a recommendation from our administration following a similarly rigorous process.

What are your views on where commencement exercises should take place?

Glenbard has historically held graduation ceremonies on its four campuses. In recent years, two of the four schools, East and North, have moved their ceremonies to a facility at the College of DuPage. The COD facility is currently undergoing renovation, and is unavailable for 2013. The Administration undertook an extensive evaluation of alternative off-campus facilities that might host the ceremonies for this year. In the final analysis, the alternate locations were found to be limited in availability, presented significant travel distances, and were expensive. The recommendation for 2013 was to return to campus based ceremonies for all of the schools, while holding open the option for a return to the College of DuPage in the future. I support this approach.

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?

The "Common Core" Standards are a major educational initiative designed to establish uniform assessment of student performance in Mathematics, English Language Arts, and literacy in History/ Social Sciences, Science, and Technical subjects. To date, forty-five states, including Illinois, have signed on to this initiative. Assessment in these core areas is not a major shift in emphasis for Glenbard, as the District has traditionally embraced a preparation regimen that emphasizes the elements of the Common Core Standards. I generally support the creation of uniform assessment procedures like the Common Core Standards, with the proviso that they do not become the exclusive roadmap for development of our curriculum. Our curriculum must afford adequate preparation to address the Common Core Standards, while maintaining a more expansive vision that encompasses the wide variety of curricular options that Glenbard has traditionally maintained for its students. The Board of Education plays an important role in the development of new curriculum. As elected representatives, it is the Board's responsibility to engage the community and staff to craft the strategic vision and performance expectations of the academic program. The execution of this vision is delegated to the Superintendent and his staff, with direct accountability to the Board of Education.

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?

The initial question contains two discussion points, and will be considered accordingly. The transition from elementary to high school is an ongoing area of focus for the District's administrative team. There has been a significant effort to articulate the program and curriculum with all six feeder elementary districts, with the ultimate goal of fostering a seamless transition to high school. This effort includes collaboration with elementary school staff members to identify students requiring remedial support, with the goal of improving success rates in the critical freshman transition year. The second part of the question addresses the performance of Glenbard graduates moving on to college or the work world. The co-curricular and curricular offerings in the Glenbard High Schools challenge students with a comprehensive, high quality, rigorous program. As a consequence, our students perform at a high level in colleges and universities across the country. This tradition of success must not, however, breed complacency. The increasingly competitive world of higher education demands constant attention to the depth and breadth of the curriculum, in an effort to equip our student with the tools required for success at the next level. The Board, Administration, and faculty devote significant time and energy to the assessment and modification of our program to achieve this goal. I do not envision wholesale change at this juncture moving forward. I believe that there is room for growth, and that the path to improved performance will come through incremental change, as we continue to evaluate strategies that improve upon the process we currently employ.

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?

The Board of Education is committed to the operation of our schools in a fiscally prudent manner. Our budget is balanced, our cash reserves are strong, and our long term debt is low. The position that we currently enjoy is the result of years focused on the management of the financial resources provided by our taxpayers. In spite of our current position, there is a compelling mandate for caution at this point in time. The State of Illinois is experiencing major financial turmoil, and this reality threatens the financial integrity of every school district in this state. The reduction in state support for general and categorical expenditures, late payments, and most significantly, the proposed shift of funding responsibility for the pensions of retired state employees, will present serious challenges to District 87 moving forward. We have no need at this time to initiate either budget cuts or revenue enhancement measures. We are stable and looking forward with optimism. The cost shifting from the state is a very real threat, however, and will, if passed, require a complete examination of our current priorities. District 87 has encountered financial challenges at times over the years, and has typically responded with a process that draws solutions from the intellectual resources of all of its stakeholders. If circumstances require that corrective action be taken, I would expect that we would follow such a course of action once again. I am hopeful that the Legislature does not impose this burden on local government.

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